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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:07 pm 
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I don't normally document my work like this but thought it might be fun for my first mandolin project. It will be an A5 type. I will be using the plans from StewMac and from Siminoff; not sure what I'll take from each yet idunno I've done a bunch of reading that was assigned to me by fellow OLF'rs and a great thread by Arnt Rian to refer to (thanks guys !!). Arnt's thread on his Mandola Build is in the Mandolin section: http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10128&t=44634

Here are the components: some nicely quartered Sitka from Bob C. for the top and roasted curly maple back/sides and neck from American Specialty Hardwoods. I haven't built with roasted wood before but I sure like the looks of it. Ebony fret board is from LMI. I don't have the tuners yet.
Attachment:
Mandolin Parts.JPG


I tried jointing the maple back with a plane set to take shallow shavings but still got chip out so I put some 220 stik-it on the saw table and sanded the edges. We'll see how it comes out tomorrow.
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Jointing Figured Maple.JPG


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Last edited by SteveSmith on Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:50 pm 
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Steve, I'm glad you're doing this. I'll be watching with great interest. I think mandolins are a lot of fun to build, although I'll admit I can barely play one. I'm one who has difficulty joining figured woods, too. I've always resorted to sticking sand paper on the edge of my carpenter's level to sand the edge. Your idea of sanding right on the table saw's top is so obvious and simple. I hope it works. Let us know! Most of the builders out here seem to favor a planed joint if you can get one, but you already knew that. I think if you clean your sanding residue very carefully off the edges, you'll be okay. Best of luck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:50 pm 
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Hey Patrick, The plates are glued and clamped. I ran a sharp scraper that I know has a flat edge over the edges to get a clean surface. I could easily see the difference between the lightly scraped surface and sanded surface so it should help. I prefer to join planed surfaces but I know that many use a sanded surface with no trouble.

I had a bowl-back mandolin I played a bit about 40 years ago so needless to say I can't do a lick. I have a friend who does play who will hopefully like this one otherwise I'll have to learn to play something on it ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:14 pm 
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Looks like a fun project, this is on my list for 2015 :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:47 am 
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Clinchriver wrote:
Looks like a fun project, this is on my list for 2015 :mrgreen:


Well it's 2015 so time to get started - that way we can compare notes (but no fair using pre-carved plates beehive).

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:01 pm 
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Plates are joined. Sandpaper/scraper method seemed to work just fine.
Attachment:
Joined Top and Back Plates.JPG


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:36 am 
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I'm anxious to move forward with this but I'm doing the finish on two guitars. I can't do woodwork and finish at the same time in my small shop. Should be back on this in a week. In the meantime here's a shot of the roasted curly maple with Naptha on it. Image

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:35 pm 
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Cool, Steve!
The maple looks tasty.
I look forward to seeing your progress and methods.
Dan

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:35 pm 
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I finally got started on this project. All the parts are in, joined and thicknessed the top/back, and cut the neck/tail blocks (I'll take a group shot later).

Things were humming right along until I started bending the sides. That curve on the neck block is tight and roasted figured maple doesn't bend very easy. I started off with sides at 0.085" and soaked in Super Soft the night before. I set the bending iron to my usual high heat - turned out to be a bad choice, got lots of scorching. Dialed the heat down and got the lower bout bent no problem, no scorching. Working the tight bend at the neck and SNAP; one side down, one to go. gaah I thinned the other side to 0.070" and used this one up working on the tight bend, I think I can make it work. I'm bending dry mostly with just a spritz of water before hitting the bending iron. So I've got some nice kindling for the wood stove; another set of sides is on the way.

Any of you with experience bending figured maple feel free to chime in here. Right now I've got the iron just under scorching temperature, bending dry with a spritz of water and sides at 0.070" (sprayed with Super Soft the night before). Also, I have a spring steel piece that is a good backup for the easier bends but won't make the really tight curve at the neck so I was using gloved fingers and a piece of wood to back it up.

EDIT: I've got some 0.008" spring steel on the way so that should do for backing up the bend.

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Last edited by SteveSmith on Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:37 pm 
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My one and only good bend so far. Image.

And, the traditional "Here's the parts" photo - EDIT: I already did one of these. Oh well, I was in the shop and posted from my phone-been a long day.
Image

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:19 am 
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Nice!

Now the work begins. I actually have a back I started carving last year and have been making some dust lately, its kinda like work......


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Glad to hear you've started as well. I might get some time to do some work tomorrow if the power comes back on.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:16 pm 
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I've been doing a lot of tests trying to bend the roasted maple sides. After many tests including wet, dry and steamed I have come to the conclusion that the roasting process changes the structure of the maple and makes it much more difficult to bend.

I cut a set of test sides from un-roasted curly maple and they bent with no problem. EDIT: We have decided to go with natural curly maple so I have ordered a set of high-figure natural maple from American Specialty Hardwoods - nice people to deal with and decent price on a set that includes back, sides and neck.

Image

Image

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Last edited by SteveSmith on Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:38 am 
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Finally, some progress to report on this project. After all the tests trying to bend the roasted maple we made a decision to go with natural maple. So I got some on order and it came in last week.

Here is the new back with some Naptha - and yes, that line in the center is a pencil mark
Attachment:
Natural Bottom with Naptha.JPG


The new sides have better curl than the test sides I did in the previous post. Here they are with tail and neck blocks ready for linings.
Attachment:
ribs and blocks.JPG


And gluing the linings.
Attachment:
Glueing Lining.JPG


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:02 pm 
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She's looking really great Steve! Good going! [:Y:]


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:09 pm 
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Thanks for posting! This is an instrument on my list, it will be informative and fun to follow the project.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Thanks guys. I'm looking forward to carving the plates next.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:50 pm 
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That is looking very nice so far, Steve!
When I worked in cabinet shops I got a lot of experience with the feel of maple, Most of the stuff we got in was red maple, and lots of times there were some flamed parts that I would buy. You could use your fingernail to tell the hardness, and I always looked for very soft flamed maple for ribs. Of course the stock was quite quartered too, but softness was the key. I've always made my mandolin ribs quite thick, more like .105-.110" and used to bathe them in hot water for 20-30 min before bending on an electric iron set to "scorch", and using SS slats. It took a feel for when the wood was about to start bending and a feel for when it was about to crack, but in the tight areas, I used to re-wet a lot. Selecting out the softest rib material was a definite help though.
I've also always used an inside mold like violin makers do. Building that way makes joining the points very easy with no struggling to get the two ends jamb'd into the corner.
Keep up the fine work and go slowly on the graduating...no need to worry about micro CNC style grads, just make sure everythnig blends nicely.
Drop me a line if you have any questions.

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These users thanked the author Haans for the post: SteveSmith (Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:00 am)
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:41 am 
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Hi Hans, thanks for the encouragement. You are right, of course, I could have easily bent the sides somewhat thicker but I suppose I was still a bit gun shy from the experience with the torrefied maple. Fortunately I have no points to worry about on this one; next time I will for sure go thicker. I appreciate the reminder to not get too hung up on graduating the boards - being an engineer, I have a tendency to get a bit anal about those kind of things :?

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Last edited by SteveSmith on Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Nice progress, Steve!
Thanks for posting,
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:37 pm 
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Got some time in the shop and started profiling the top and back. I decided to use a router so the first step was to copy the plans - I'm using a combination of the Siminoff for the basic body outline and Minarovic for the plate graduations.

Here I copied Minarovic's plate profile lines and glued them on the plates with watered down Titebond.
Attachment:
PatternOnBackAndTop.JPG


I used my calipers and made a little height gauge for the router bit. I also used some scrap acrylic to make a larger base plate for the router.
Attachment:
RouterHeightGage.JPG


I used the cutoff from each plate to act as a same-height support for the router base plate and just started routing out the profile starting at the outside. Made a heck of a mess, reminded me of when I used to thickness plates with a Wagner safety planer.
Attachment:
RoutingTopProfile.JPG


And here they are, ready to smooth out.
Attachment:
TopAndBackProfilesDone.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:55 pm 
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Decided to tackle the figured back first. I tried my favorite chisel and a sharp finger plane but still got chip out. I ended up using an ROS with 80 grit and a medium rasp to knock down the edges and do most of the blending. I used a scraper for the final shaping. I still need to do a bit more work but the back is almost done. Image

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:30 pm 
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Very nice


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:25 pm 
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Thanks for posting your progress Steve. Enjoy following along, and it looks beautiful
.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:37 pm 
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Thanks guys. Early spring chores are eating up my time but I'm hoping to get into the shop tomorrow.

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