"Campfire" Mandolin

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Project by Randy Price posted 10-25-2008 05:11 PM 8555 views 4 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this mandolin from a Campfire Mandolin kit from Stewart McDonald It is modeled after the Army Navy style mandolin. Although it was a kit, it was still challenging. It is still “in the white” as I have not decided what finish to use. It sounds great for a flat top mandolin.


18 comments so far

View lew's profile


12512 posts in 3996 days

#1 posted 10-25-2008 05:16 PM

Now can you play “Wreck of the Old ‘97”?

Looks Great!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4318 days

#2 posted 10-25-2008 06:35 PM

very cool…may it bring you years of beautiful music…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 3769 days

#3 posted 10-25-2008 06:40 PM

It looks like it will have a good depth when its finished, looks great, have fun at the camp fire.

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4115 days

#4 posted 10-25-2008 06:50 PM

Looks pretty darned good to me!

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 4014 days

#5 posted 10-25-2008 09:32 PM

looks great. Does anyone know, if you wood burn the outside of a guitar or string instrument. will it change the way the instrument isounds?

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4459 days

#6 posted 10-25-2008 09:51 PM

Very pretty!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3826 days

#7 posted 10-25-2008 11:20 PM

I think this is great I would have been sorely tempted to keep the original to make more than one kit from it .Did you at least make templates from the original to make others.I am sure you could sell these kits on ebay patents permitting of course.well done again good luck Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 3949 days

#8 posted 10-26-2008 01:22 AM

Very very cool. Post some more pics once you get it finished. I’ve been giving serous thought to doing one of the Siminoff H5 Mandola kits
I’ve got a decent mando but have rather large hands and those itsy bitsy frets are tough for a guitar player to get used to. Figured the mandola might be a bit easier for me to play.

-- Use the fence Luke

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3831 days

#9 posted 10-26-2008 08:46 AM

Great workmanship.
If I’m not wrong, this musical instrument was originated from Middle East ? I did not make any research on it, just guessing.

thanks for the post.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4540 days

#10 posted 10-26-2008 03:44 PM

Very nice, I’ll be looking forward to it’s completion.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

800 posts in 4073 days

#11 posted 10-28-2008 10:23 PM

It is really beautiful. It would be fun to hear it. I don’t know how, but could you post a little video?


-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View techyman2's profile


43 posts in 3830 days

#12 posted 10-29-2008 01:41 AM

I use specially formulated oil (linseed) varnish on the violins I make. This can be a bit chippy and sensitive to heat for quite some time after application. Also each application takes quite a bit of time to dry unless you have a drying cabinet wit ultra violet light. The instruments need quite a bit of cherishing and looking after. I would use something more robust and quicker such as a cellulose lacquer finish if the instrument is going to be used regularly and taken to the camp fire sing along. I have heard of luthiers using danish oil or some such rubbing oils. What kind of glue did you use to join it together?

-- Dave D

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 3941 days

#13 posted 10-29-2008 01:48 AM

Dave D—Complete agreement on using a lacquer finish on a mandolin. Safest way to fly, and will give lots of longevity.

Romans—Actually, I find all string instruments quite sensitive to materials and finish. Having said that, it stands to reason that woodburning would not have a positive effect on the instrument, unless you intend to play on the Grand Ole Opry. Folks there have been using inlaid instruments, and instruments with painted racing stripes for years.

Randy—Stewmac uses top-notch stuff in their kits. Good choice, and great execution. DO NOT start any campfires with that mando!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View Randy Price's profile

Randy Price

242 posts in 3741 days

#14 posted 10-29-2008 03:24 AM

Thanks for your comments and advice on finishing the mandolin. One reason I have not applied the finish is that I am still a bit unsure as to what to use. I bought a water based brushing varnish from StewMac but I’m not sure I want to use a brush on finish, plus I would like to get an amber vintage look to the wood before applying the final finish. StewMac has some liquid color stains, one being vintage amber. I am thinking about getting the stain and trying it on some sample wood (I saved the cut offs from building the mandolin). Does anyone have experience with this type stain and/or varnish?

Thanks for your help,



View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4223 days

#15 posted 10-29-2008 03:30 AM

really sweet deal Randy !! ... you also have a nicely done website

welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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