Two Mandolins

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Blog series by Texcaster updated 01-31-2015 05:18 PM 10 parts 17521 reads 55 comments total

Part 1: Two Mandos

10-31-2014 02:10 PM by Texcaster | 2 comments »

Jorge has been working with me two mornings a week learning a bit about woodworking and lutherie. We’re building two mandos. All the photos will be of his instrument. I only started taking pics today. Two sides are bent and in the only mold. This will be an on going blog, a mando takes about two weeks full time. Jorge came up with this variation of the chalk fitting method. Chalk is rubbed on to the arch pattern. The chalk is left on the high spots Scraping ...

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Part 2: # 2

11-04-2014 01:57 PM by Texcaster | 6 comments »

The back is planed, spokeshaved and carved. Smoothing is done with curved scrapers. The back is rough sanded to shape cross grain from different directions. The sanding blocks are thong sole rubber and cork backed with 3mm MDF or ply. The recurve is taken down to an even 5mm. Final recurve thickness will be 3mm. The drill press is set to 5.5mm ( the thickest area in the center) and 3.5 in the recurve. Ready to carve the inside.

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Part 3: Mando and Archtop

11-26-2014 06:21 PM by Texcaster | 3 comments »

An update. Sawdust bed. Jorge loves his blue chalk. In this case it is mainly to get into the brad points, they become very hard to see. The outside is given a piss coat of shellac to show the cross grain sanding. Sanded to 180 and sealed for now. Power plane to rough shape, top and bottom. The rebate is cut at 6mm and is a guide. 5mm is final thickness, recurve is 3mm. Instead of a mando, I’ve decided to finish building an ar...

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Part 4: Mando And Archtop # 4

12-17-2014 07:06 PM by Texcaster | 4 comments »

Update. The top is well advanced now. I didn’t take pics fitting the tone bars, the process is mocked up using the back. Both sides of the bar are scribed. Because it is a compound curve the scribe lines are different on either side. Chalk fitting. Sanded to 180 and sealed. Oversize and offset tone bars as per Gibson’s innovator Lloyd Loar. Ball point taped to a block, the block is flipped for a finer scribe. The bars are oversize in case we need to scr...

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Part 5: # 5 Opening The ff's

01-01-2015 04:08 PM by Texcaster | 6 comments »

I’ll start out by telling you I now own Jorge’s mando. With glue on the top and the rim, I dropped the top. It landed glue side down and had a long crack. So it is starting it’s life with a repair. I had to tap tune the cleats, the middle was a persistent dead spot till I got it right. Jorge is quite happy to make another top and back. I’m using the white pattern, the brown one is plan B if I need it. The calligraphy looking ones are more viloln like with a...

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Part 6: Binding The Body

01-02-2015 01:55 PM by Texcaster | 7 comments »

I’m really pushing this one now, it’s going to be my new knock around mando. The timber is student grade for Jorge to get his feet wet but I think it will sound pretty good. Mandolins, archtop guitars and fiddles all have parallel sides, making them easy to overhead route. Spacers are taped to the top edges to route the bottom. Climb cut all the problem areas or little bits of the edge will fly away. The body is bound with no frills 2mm black cabinetmakers edge tape, I did...

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Part 7: Dovetailing

01-03-2015 10:36 PM by Texcaster | 8 comments »

The body is dovetailed before the back goes on. I use a parallel dovetail like Bob Benedetto’s in his archtop guitar book. The advantage is, timber can be removed from the bottom of the neck heel to easily get the right neck height relative to the right bridge height. Most of the waste is bandsawn away, then the body is routed with a bearing on the shaft. Use the same bit for neck and body because the dovetail angle can vary bit to bit. The neck dovetail is cut on the router table,...

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Part 8: The Neck

01-04-2015 11:43 PM by Texcaster | 5 comments »

The neck blank is cut in a wedge slightly wider than the fingerboard. This allows for large “ears” with no chance of exposing the glue line when cutting the headstock pattern. A face veneer and a backstrap are added. In this case the same species as the fb, Blue Gum. The face veneer adds a bit of strength but the real strength comes with the backstrap. All Mahogany My old Ulmia veneer plane is now the roughie and my $7 Hong Kong plane is set fine. ( I have two) ...

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Part 9: Home Stretch

01-09-2015 11:19 AM by Texcaster | 5 comments »

I didn’t get any photos of the fretting. The fingerboard is stuck to the fret scale template with double sided tape. The notches in the template index on a pin in the mitre box. Too easy, this scale is mando/ banjo. My others are guitar 25 in / 25 1/2 in and bass 34in /35 in. My saw back bottoms out on the top of the mitre box when the cut is at the right depth. The fb edges are bevelled before being shaped with a 12 in radius sanding block. The fret wire is pre bent, then ...

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Part 10: Finishing The Archtop I Started In The 1st Mandolin Blog

01-31-2015 05:18 PM by Texcaster | 9 comments »

Some progress shots of my newest archtop. Most archtops are 17in at the lower bout, this one is 13in. This guitar was started before Christmas. Work stopped to build a mando and started again Jan. 9. I’m pretty happy with the time, 8 hours a day just like the old days. For carving and binding details see the mandolin build. Top …..Western Red Cedar Back … PNG Rosewood Sides.. Victorian Blackwood Neck…. Plantation Mahogany Fingerboard, Bindings and ...

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