Mandolin build #1: Take a deep breath and jump in.

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Blog entry by BJODay posted 10-10-2015 12:22 AM 1069 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Mandolin build series Part 2: Glue up front and back »

I’ve been itching to try new and challenging projects. Over the past two years I’ve made some mortise and tenon joints. Some simple inlay. Intarsia, (not yet finished). I bought a used band saw and have been experimenting with curves.

I have wanted to try building an instrument. A guitar seems too big. A dulcimer might be a better start. But I’m learning to play a mandolin, so that’s what I’m going to attempt. There are kits available. I debated buying a kit and trying that route. Kits can come in various stages of completion. Instead I bought a raw lumber set. It is cut and selected for a mandolin. Here is the wood.

Adirondack spruce top, red maple back sides and neck. The dates are incorrect on the pics, sorry.

I am also going to use metric for this project. Should make it easier. The plans are metric and it will be easier to “give in” than try converting all those measurements. I used metric at work years ago and I actually like it. A bit of an adjustment in the shop though.

I expect this to take me a few months. Lots to learn. A few jigs to make. Lots of skills to improve upon. I’ll keep the tone wood supplier’s address handy in case I have to start over.


8 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 10-10-2015 02:41 AM


This should be educational and entertaining for us. I’d love to make a musical instrument some day. Thanks for sharing.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3132 days

#2 posted 10-10-2015 02:44 AM


I’m sorry about the double post. That’s what happens with this lousy dial-up timing out!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View DavidOveracre's profile


20 posts in 393 days

#3 posted 10-10-2015 03:29 PM

Good job… I know it’s not built yet but just on the fact your trying it! Can’t wait to see the progress.

-- Dave O.

View Texcaster's profile


1103 posts in 1094 days

#4 posted 10-10-2015 05:39 PM

Good onya! You said you would and here you are doing it.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Northwest29's profile


1469 posts in 1910 days

#5 posted 10-10-2015 07:31 PM

What an interesting journey this will be for you and us. I sure the end result will be worth all your time and effort.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View handsawgeek's profile


591 posts in 815 days

#6 posted 10-13-2015 04:14 PM

Hey, BJ. Nice project to tackle. As a mandolin player, I will definitely be following this series. Make it purty!

-- Ed

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2286 days

#7 posted 10-13-2015 04:20 PM

This should be interesting. Be sure to post a complete blog about it as you go along.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View English's profile


512 posts in 897 days

#8 posted 02-21-2016 02:11 AM

Just found your blog, I too have always wanted to make a string instrument. Watching your build will help me decide.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

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