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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:24 am 
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Thanks Dan. My biggest problem is to remember to take photos as I go. Hopefully I won't miss any important steps :?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:22 pm 
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I layout my inlays using a method I believe John Hall shows in one of his YouTube videos. I've tried different ways but find this to be the easiest and fastest. I start by putting them in the position I want; in this case I tried the S in several positions and took a photo with the camera to see if I liked the result. It's funny, but for me, looking at it on the camera helps me get a different and more critical perspective. After I find the right position then I hold the piece down with a dental tool while I scribe around it with a 0.3mm pencil. I like to use a fairly small router bit because it's easier for me to cut next to the lines. In this case I'm using a 1/32" router bit with my Blue's Creek inlay tool.
Attachment:
IMG_1900.JPG


My first cut is just inside the pencil line as you see here. It's pretty easy to see if you have a light shining on it at the correct angle. Of course an Optivisor helps too duh
Attachment:
IMG_1902.JPG


I use a drafting eraser to clean off the original line and then test fit the shell. I put pencil marks on the areas where the cuts need to be opened up some. That's what you see here.
Attachment:
IMG_1904.JPG


Dry fit is good.
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IMG_1905.JPG


I like to use the StewMac black CA on ebony so I've just filled the channel with it.
Attachment:
IMG_1906.JPG


And push the inlay in. Then I spray some GluBoost accelerator on it to speed up the process. I specifically use GluBoost because it doesn't make the CA bubble like some accelerators.
Attachment:
IMG_1907.JPG


Thanks to the accelerator it's ready to level in a few minutes. The tape on the end of the file protects the headplate and allows me to keep the file flat while I'm leveling the inlay. I follow the file with a scraper and/or P220 on a block.
Attachment:
IMG_1909.JPG


Finally, it's all done. About 30 minutes start to finish.
Attachment:
IMG_1912.JPG


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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: eigenwood (Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:07 am)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:12 am 
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Thanks Steve, this is very helpful. Is your inlay tool a professional-level dremel? I got a dremel a long time ago with a flexible head attachment that I've never used, but I might have to figure it out to do this. Also, what would be the regular waiting time without the gluboost?

Edit:
Okay, scratch that. I looked up the inlay tool on John's site...not as expensive as I thought. Do you think there's an advantage to an air-powered tool over an electric-type dremel?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:28 am 
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eigenwood wrote:
Thanks Steve, this is very helpful. Is your inlay tool a professional-level dremel? I got a dremel a long time ago with a flexible head attachment that I've never used, but I might have to figure it out to do this. Also, what would be the regular waiting time without the gluboost?

Edit:
Okay, scratch that. I looked up the inlay tool on John's site...not as expensive as I thought. Do you think there's an advantage to an air-powered tool over an electric-type dremel?


Hi Zach, The air-powered tool is very precise and cuts very well. It is also a lot lighter than a Dremel tool and I find it much easier to do accurate work with it. I'm sure others can probably do as well or better with their Dremels idunno I run mine with a little Ingersoll Rand 90 PSI/4 CFM portable compressor.

Without the GluBoost I usually give it 10 minutes or longer since a lot of the glue that needs to cure is pretty well sealed from exposure to the air. Basically I just go do something else for a while then come back to it. The GluBoost just lets me keep moving without interruption. And no, I don't have any connection with the GluBoost people, I just like it a lot.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:17 am 
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Hi Steve, good job! I haven't been around the forums much lately, but I'm glad you found my old mandola thread helpful. I don't get to build nearly as many mandolins as guitars, but its a different challenge and a welcome change whenever I do. They are fun to build, right? [clap]

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These users thanked the author Arnt Rian for the post: Dmaxwell (Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:44 am)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:26 am 
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Hi Arnt and thank you! Your thread was not only an inspiration but has also been very helpful. I have tried to do this thread in the same spirit so that others may benefit too. Mandolins are, indeed, fun to build and an interesting change of pace from guitar building [:Y:]

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 4:42 am 
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I got a hands on this past Sunday at our local luthier monthly get together at the Knoxville Woodcraft, very impressed, the hand cut dovetail for the neck is a work of art. Nice tap too.


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 3:29 pm 
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Clinchriver wrote:
I got a hands on this past Sunday at our local luthier monthly get together at the Knoxville Woodcraft, very impressed, the hand cut dovetail for the neck is a work of art. Nice tap too.


Thank you my friend, you are very kind. I think a fair amount of this dovetail was luck. ;)

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 9:08 pm 
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I finished shaping the headstock, drilled the tuner holes and fine-tuned the back-strap.
Attachment:
IMG_1943.JPG


After I double checked the neck alignment I heated some hide glue in my high tech glue pot :lol:
Attachment:
IMG_1945.JPG


And glued the neck to the body.
Attachment:
IMG_1947.JPG


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 4:41 pm 
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Put my label on the back so it would be visible under the F hole. I use a 1/2 water,1/2 Titebond mixture to glue it on then I brush a coat of the water/glue mixture over the top of the label. Besides labels, I've done this with charts and tables on wood for the shop; my drill size table is about 20 years old and still looks great.
Attachment:
IMG_1948.JPG


The next photo shows a couple of things. I put 1 brad each in the neck and tail block then gently clamp the back in place dry, using some leather for protection I tap over the brad to mark the back ( in this case), and finally I drill a small hole at the mark. This indexes the back so it won't slide during glue-up. After getting it indexed I can trace the outline and then sand to the mark so I don't have so much work to do later. The same technique will work for fretboards but I usually put a 1/16" pin in a fret slot at each end for those. That way I can pull the pin and there is no metal left that would be in the way for future repairs.
Attachment:
IMG_1951.JPG


Finally, glued the back on, lots of clamps, as usual. I really like these quick clamps for this kind of thing. I found 2-pack deal online several years ago and by the time the deal was up I had about 24 of them :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 10:37 pm 
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Keep the updates coming, Steve. I'm loving the heck out of this!

Patrick


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 7:11 am 
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I would have bound the top before gluing on the neck riser block and neck. Just easier that way.
So, bind it, fit the bridge, make a nut and string it up! Then over the next few weeks you can break it in and tune it by sanding a little here and there. When you are satisfied, take it apart and finish it. This is where the Hacklinger gage comes in handy...


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 8:55 am 
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Thanks Patrick!

Haans, I will remember to bind first next time. I was in guitar mode, I suppose, and planned to bind after the box was closed. A little quality time with the chisels will be needed for this one idunno I am looking forward to getting it strung up but have no clue where I might sand to tune it. Do you know of anything I might read/study that could help me with this?

I still need to do the fretboard (but that won't take long) and the fretboard extender. I have several wood choices for the extender - ebony, maple, or mahogany although I'm leaning towards ebony or maple. Any recommendations?

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 9:22 pm 
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Been busy working on a walkway to the shop but did manage to do a bit today. Trimmed the plates flush. I start with a spindle sander to get them within about 1/16" then use a flush trimming bit on the router.
Attachment:
FlushTrim.JPG


A little hand work around the heel and it is ready to cut the binding channels.
Attachment:
BackReadyToBind.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:20 pm 
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Had a request for a front view so here it is
Attachment:
IMG_1967.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:24 pm 
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Not too much left before I can string it up - fretboard, binding, fretboard extender (it will be maple) and an ebony pick guard.

I started out the pick guard by taking some 0.100" ebony and laminating with the grain skewed to prevent cracking.

Attachment:
IMG_1965.JPG


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Last edited by SteveSmith on Wed May 20, 2015 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:08 pm 
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Very nice, finish and strings :mrgreen:



These users thanked the author Clinchriver for the post: SteveSmith (Tue May 12, 2015 6:37 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Clinchriver wrote:
Very nice, finish and strings :mrgreen:


A few more details but getting close ;)

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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 6:06 pm 
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I copied the pick guard pattern so glued it on the ebony blank and cut it out.
Attachment:
IMG_2014.JPG


Since the blank was made from two 0.1" pieces laminated together I needed to take .050" from each side to give me my 0.1" finished thickness. I use this little carrier board for pieces like this and bridges, just plywood with some sticky sandpaper on it.
Attachment:
IMG_2016.JPG


About where I want it. It still needs some work but I'm going to set it aside for now to work on the binding.
Attachment:
IMG_2017.JPG


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 6:13 pm 
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After some experimenting I figured out I could use my normal guitar binding setup to do most of the binding channels on the mandolin. I turned things around on the carriage, stuck in a few spacers and then taped it all in place. Not real downtown but it got the job done.
Attachment:
IMG_2018.JPG


Of course I couldn't get all the way around on either the top or the bottom.
Attachment:
IMG_2019.JPG


I was able to get the top channels done with gramil and chisel.
Attachment:
IMG_2023.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_2021.JPG


Top is done. Back will pretty much be the same process.
Attachment:
IMG_2024.JPG


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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 5:53 pm 
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I finished cutting the channel for the bottom binding and ran into something unexpected. The binding channel around the neck heel is much wider at the bottom (0.125") than the top (0.060") so I can't bind it as I had planned. I decided to just make a rosewood piece that I could carve to blend with the heel and still provide the proper reveal to match the binding. It took me over an hour to cut, shape and fit this one piece but I think it will look good when I'm done.
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IMG_2025.JPG


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Last edited by SteveSmith on Mon May 18, 2015 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 7:24 am 
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Steve, I usually use really thick ivoroid around the heel, and you will blend the heel binding into the contour of heel. By the time you are done, it works out to the binding thickness at the top edge.


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 7:46 am 
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Hans is correct of course, on mandolins some of the bindings have to start out thicker than normal in order to end up the same thickness as the rest because of the funny geometry of the thing. F-style headstocks are especially tricky in this regard, since the "top" edge(s) are not square to the face. To bind the heel with wooden bindings, I have used several layers of thin woods to build up enough thickness, but I'm sure your method will look just fine too. It may crack more easily, but as I understand it, this is how the ebony "crown" on the back button on some violins is normally(?) made.

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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 9:33 am 
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Hans and Arnt, thanks for keeping an eye on this one, I really appreciate the advice! It is good to hear that my binding channel challenges are normal for mandolins. I thought about wrapping the heel with multiple layers but then decided to do it this way. Kind of like a modified guitar heel cap. I can see that choosing to do wood binding has really added to my workload. These little instruments are not as easy to build as it looks; if I was binding a guitar I would have already been finished ;)

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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 6:33 pm 
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Got the heel cap done. Knife, chisel and scraper work - the kind of thing I enjoy if not on a deadline. I'll put some shellac on the maple and then carefully put some CA on the end of the heel cap to help prevent any future chipping.

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