Mandolin build #4: Working on the Sound board

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Blog entry by BJODay posted 10-20-2015 02:11 AM 1428 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Prep work, carving profile Part 4 of Mandolin build series Part 5: Carefully carving the sound board »

The plans index the starting measurements from the inside of the sound board. Therefore I have to make the inside surface as flat as possible. I got out a Stanley #3 that I bought and cleaned up a while back.

I used a steel ruler as a straight edge.

I’m not very experienced with planing. This is new stuff for me. The good thing is it is not a finished surface. I know that planing works better in the proper direction. I don’t know how to tell which direction is best. I tried one direction and found some minor tear out. It worked better when I worked the opposite way. I’m not sure how to pick a direction without trying it first.

Had to use some shims to keep the sound board from rocking or tipping. Pleasurable work. The spruce was much easier than the maple. I got it to within a half millimeter. Hope that’s close enough. Put it flat side down on the table saw and it didn’t rock at all.

I traced the outside shape of the sound board. I cut this on the band saw. It is a few mm’s larger and will be trimmed later to match the sides.

Next I traced some thickness lines. I drill down along these lines leaving the desired thickness between the bottom of the drilled hole and the inside surface. Then it’s time to start carving.

Started carving out some of the waste. Using a 3/4” flat chisel. Took a bunch of wood off. I’m not sure how I’ll blend in where the neck joins the body. I better go and reread Graham McDonald’s book.

I feel like I’m rushing things so I’m going to put it away, drink a beer and watch a football game. I might buy a gouge tomorrow. The flat chisel is splitting off wood in big chunks. I need more control, (and patience). I may use this project as an excuse to but a random orbital sander.

That’s about all for this week. I still have to go to work to pay the rent, (and buy toys). I’ll post more as the project progresses.


2 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3297 posts in 3382 days

#1 posted 10-20-2015 09:37 PM

BJ, you’re making good progress.

-- Art

View English's profile


691 posts in 2602 days

#2 posted 02-21-2016 02:25 AM

Great progress, thanks for sharing the fun.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

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