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Mandolin build

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Blog series by BJODay updated 02-20-2016 07:31 PM 6 parts 8109 reads 35 comments total

Part 1: Take a deep breath and jump in.

10-10-2015 12:22 AM by BJODay | 8 comments »

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 a...

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Part 2: Glue up front and back

10-13-2015 02:57 AM by BJODay | 3 comments »

The raw lumber comes with matched set of halves to be glued together to form the front, (sound board), and the back of the mandolin. The sound board is Adirondack spruce. The back is red maple. They were already squared up by the tone-wood supplier. I ran them through the jointer to clean up the edge before gluing. I also ran the opposite side through. This squared up the rough edge so they would lay against the cauls better. I didn’t want it to twist in the clamps. ...

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Part 3: Prep work, carving profile

10-18-2015 08:46 PM by BJODay | 8 comments »

There are different ways to carve the front, (sound board), and the back of the mandolin. Some shape the outside first. Others start with the inner surface. You can use chisels, gouges and finger planes, or side grinders and sanders. I’m going to work the outer surface first. I’m going to try using a sanding wheel on my drill press. Before starting, I need a guide to know when I have the shape close. The plans have profiles printed on them. I cut the profile out, glued it to so...

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Part 4: Working on the Sound board

10-20-2015 02:11 AM by BJODay | 2 comments »

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 trie...

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Part 5: Carefully carving the sound board

10-27-2015 03:50 PM by BJODay | 9 comments »

I started removing the waste with a flat chisel. This was working at first but it is hard to control. I found myself pulling off larger than desired pieces of wood. I purchased a curved gouge. This gave my inexperienced hands a little more control. I removed as much as I dared. Then switched to a sanding disc on my drill press. It removed wood very quickly. I was getting close to my desired curve near the edges. But still had more to remove between the center and the outside edge. So I...

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Part 6: Mistake made

02-20-2016 07:31 PM by BJODay | 5 comments »

There has been a long dry spell. I’ve been busy with the holidays and work. So over the last two weeks I’ve been getting some time to get back to the project. Things were going well. I was sanding down to the depth gauge holes. I had a problem when I checked the curve against the profile guide. So I made a frame and bolted a dial indicator to it so I can accurately measure the thickness. I found that I am too thin in the transition from the highest area to the slope down...

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