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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:29 pm 
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Location: Southeast US
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Got a little progress today - got three slices out of the 4/4 ebony I book matched and glued last night. Plenty for several sets of head and back plates.
Attachment:
EbonySlicesX3.JPG


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:03 pm 
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The truss rod is in after a little work with router and chisels. I decided to install it before adding the headplate so I glued the rod in with a few dabs of silicon adhesive and filled in the channel under the nut.
Attachment:
Neck3.JPG


Masked off the adjustment cavity and rod end, added 1/8" locating pins and glued on the headplate.
Attachment:
HeadplateGlueUp.JPG


Finally got the graduations on the top where I wanted them. A little sanding to clean it up and it will be time to cut the F holes.
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TopInsideGraduated.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:17 pm 
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Didn't have much time today. Headplate is on and truss rod access opened up.
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Neck4.JPG


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:26 pm 
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I finished carving the top so time to add the F holes and tone bars. After laying out the F-hole patterns front and back I used gauze and hide glue to reinforce the area where the F-holes will be cut as recommended by Siminoff. Once the glue dried then I drilled some starter holes.

Attachment:
IMG_1822.JPG


Next I used my inlay saw to cut the basic shape. Pretty much like cutting shell, let the blade do the work. Obviously time to change the blade direction in this shot duh

Attachment:
IMG_1825.JPG


Files and sticks with sandpaper finished the F-holes. The gauze/hide glue over the back of the holes does a real good job reinforcing the area; I had no worries about splitting out or breaking off anything. A good first effort, I think.

Attachment:
IMG_1826.JPG

Attachment:
IMG_1827.JPG


Next step was to fit the tone bars. That was time consuming, about an hour and a half to get them done right. The problem is that there are multiple surface directions, i.e. the angle between the bottom and side of the tone bar varies from 90 degrees to maybe 70 degrees then back to 90 degrees as it rides up over the recurves. I probably scribed each bar about 4 times and then used chalk to find the remaining high spots. Finally I glued the bars on with hot hide glue, unclamped after about 20 min to clean the squeeze out and then back in the clamps overnight. Overnight only because I won't be back in the shop till tomorrow night.

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IMG_1828.JPG


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:40 am 
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Very pretty, I've got some catching up to do. Working overtime and trying to keep up with the yard is taking up my spare time.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:06 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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That looks pretty good Steve. If your thicknesses are right, you can thin those braces down pretty well.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:08 am 
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Hey Greg, you better get movin :lol: It's hard to find extra time for the shop this time of year. I was able to take a couple of days off so was able to use some of that.

Hans, the braces are 1/4" wide, about 1/2" tall in the middle, and uncarved at this point. I was looking at about .255" in the middle area finally tapering to 0 at the very ends. EDIT: Minarovic's plans call for 0.255" on the treble side and 0.225" on the bass side

Out of the clamps but could use some cleanup before I start carving.

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ToneBars On.JPG


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:24 pm 
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Finished carving the tone bars to height. Later I tapered the ends to the plate and rounded them over.
Attachment:
IMG_1842.JPG


Put on the back strap and had enough room left on the end of the neck so changed from tapered neck joint to dovetail. Made some templates for the dovetail joint. What looks like staining is super glue I put on the 1/8" hardwood ply to reinforce the edge of the template. Need to do the inlay on the headstock then I can cut out that out to the correct shape too.

Attachment:
Neck8.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_1845.JPG


Leveled the linings with the rims. The other day I was sharpening my finger planes and went ahead and sharpened this one too. It was a present from my wife, she buys me the mini tools from Lee Valley cause she knows I just like them. Anyway this one turns out to work very well - nice surprise.

Attachment:
MiniBlockPlane.jpg


Finally a family shot of the parts that I've made so far. I plan to use rosewood binding so I need to slice some to match for the taller 15th fret piece.

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IMG_1844.JPG


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:45 am 
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Started doing some assembly. Added the little block to the top of the neck block. Since the back of that "little block" sets the alignment of the top plate I decided to pin it.
Attachment:
IMG_1847.JPG


Next I attached the 15th fret piece. I'm using rosewood bindings on this one so I needed a piece about 1/2" tall here. I took a piece of scrap BRW (at least that's what it was marked and it fooled me many years ago when I bought it but turns out the B is for Bolivian - ha) and made a slice to put on there. After that I cut the dovetail slot.
Attachment:
IMG_1859.JPG


Finally glued on the top -

Attachment:
IMG_1861.JPG


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:54 am 
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Top glued to the rims - starting to look like something that belongs to a mandolin.
Attachment:
IMG_1862.JPG

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:59 am 
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Roughing in the neck. Using a newer Nicholson #50 which I would love to replace with something better but it does get the job done. Backstrap has a ways to go - I need to get the inlay done on the front first.
Attachment:
IMG_1866.JPG


Started fitting the dovetail. Need to refine the heel at bit more too.

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IMG_1867.JPG


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:00 pm 
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Carving the neck. I really enjoy the detail work with a sharp chisel on good wood.
Attachment:
IMG_1868.JPG


It's almost time to glue the neck to the body and I didn't want to try to cut the headstock shape out after I did that. I kluged together something with an old jig to hold the neck with the fretboard level.
Attachment:
IMG_1869.JPG


And then I finished fitting the dovetail. As Han's said, it's not all that hard to do.

Attachment:
IMG_1870.JPG


I like photos. Hope I'm not putting in too many. Am I driving you guys crazy?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:18 am 
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I am really enjoying following your build Steve, and love all the photos! I have some plans for a mando build and was planning on attempting one further down the road but may have to move it up the schedule a bit after your inspirational thread!

Keep up the good work!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:23 am 
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Too many photos? Not a chance, Steve! I'm enjoying, and very interested in your process and progress. You would have to fill pages full of text to describe what your pictures explain visually. [:Y:]

Alex

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:25 am 
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Absolutely not Steve. It's about time someone showed everyone exactly why mandolins cost so much more than flat top guitars...


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:10 am 
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I'm finding this thread very inspirational because I am planning on building an A style mando too. I don't play mandolin but would like to learn how to play a few things on it. I also want to eventually build a Benedetto style archtop guitar and thought carving a mandolin would give me a bit of practice carving smaller plates before tackling a large archtop. I initially had problems envisioning the neck joint on the mando but seeing your pictures has helped me figure it all out. Looking like a fine instrument!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:03 am 
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Thank you for the kind comments. Hans, it is true, smaller does not mean easier, there is a lot of work required to make one of these. I am glad to hear that lot's of photos are ok. I'll keep it up ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:13 am 
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I love the number of pictures. Wonderfully documented. The Mandolin is shaping up nicely.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:12 pm 
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Thank you John. This has been a very satisfying project so far and even fun as I get a bit more relaxed. Carving the plates and setting up the neck joint concerned me a fair amount when I started but I've received some great help here so things have gone pretty smooth. Turns out the hardest thing so far was bending the sides and only because I spent so much time trying to bend the torrefied wood (I still have a full set of torrefied wood on the shelf and I think laminated sides might be the ticket). The normal maple sides bent very easily.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:17 pm 
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Wait till you hit over a couple hundred...turns into a job. [xx(]


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:10 am 
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I bet. Well I've got a ways to go before I reach that point[SMILING FACE WITH SMILING EYES]

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:04 pm 
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I decided it was time to do the inlay on the headstock. I looked at some of the pre-cut pieces that I had but didn't see anything I liked. I just want something simple so I decided on a script S. I laid something out on the computer that was an SS but decided I only wanted one of them. I glued the paper pattern onto a piece of Paua abalone with super glue. I've used water based glues before but for this I think the super glue holds everything together better so that you get a cleaner line while you're cutting.
Attachment:
IMG_1879.JPG


I use a standard cutting setup clamped to the bench and an LMI inlay saw. It is important to just take your time and let the saw do the work. And yes, I wear a mask, even for small pieces like this.
Attachment:
IMG_1880.JPG


I planned the cut so that I wouldn't have any of the thin parts unsupported.
Attachment:
IMG_1882.JPG


After the shell was cut out I soaked it in acetone for about 5 minutes then used a jeweler's screwdriver to gently scrape away the pattern. Next, I cleaned up the edges with jeweler's files and here it is ready to inlay into the headplate.
Attachment:
IMG_1884.JPG


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:00 pm 
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Looks great, bring it tomorrow:)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:05 pm 
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Can do!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:14 pm 
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Looking really nice, Steve!
Thanks so much for sharing the build process, I very much enjoy it!
Dan

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