Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mandolin Project Post 2

The following set of pics will show a bit more in the neck and head forming . In the last post , I had the " Ears gluing up on the headstock , as you can see below the finished blank looks more like a mandolin neck . I used my layout pattern and did my cutting in my band saw.

You can see in the following 2 pictures the basic shape prior to cutting the tang to fit it into the body and shaping the back of the neck .

In the next picture I have cut the body tang and have shaped the unit a bit . During the time I was working on the unit at I received the tuners I had ordered fro Stewart MacDonald and came to the realization that my head stock was to short ( mistake 1 in a long list)So after shaping the neck you can see I added a " Crown " at the top of the headstock made from Hard Maple and glued in .

The next procedure is to make the slot for the Tension Rod in the neck . The point of this is to help keep the neck from warping when the strings are tuned , it has an arrow shape with a nut at the headstock end that can be tightened or loosened to adjust the neck as needed.

I f you look on my work bench just above the neck you will see the Tension rod laying there . I fitted it by hand and the grove isn't really that well done ( mistake 2 ) Next time I will design my neck blocks so that the grove is already accounted for when gluing up the neck blank .

After the tension rod is set , the top part of the neck is then refilled with a Hard Maple strip and re glued into place . This creates a hollow square hole that allows for slight bending to set the tension. The center of the tension rod is wrapped with electricians tape to keep it from ever rattling during playing of the instrument. Sort of a sound deaden'er.

That gives you a basic and short idea of the work involved in making a mandolin neck .

I have another picture I will share now . I will make it a contest to see who can tell me what the following contraption is put together to accomplish . Please Leave your Guesses in comments.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mandolin Project Post 1

Hello everyone , I have taken on a new project and have actually finished it at this point. I decided to finish the Mandolin prior to Blogging about it in case I made a mess of the unit. I am happy to say its done and looks and sounds beautiful . ( I will have a short post at the end so you can hear it . ) BTW it wont be ME playing it , I'm a woodworker NOT a MUSICIAN !! LOL

I started out with a Mahogany board and split it and glued the spit pieces back together to make a " Book Match " Face for the unit , so You end up with a Mirror image ( or close) for the face.
You can see that board in the following pic !

The back of the mandolin is from one solid piece of Hard Maple planed down and cut to a blank . I found the nicest pattern that i could find in the board and went with that as you can see in the following pic

I made a pattern for the back and face based on a combination of a couple different Mandolins found on the Internet and came up with the following design , I pasted the drawings on Masonite and used that for my design as you can see in this pic

The next picture is the design for the neck and I used the same method to get the neck size and shape as I wanted prior to cutting the shape on my band saw .
I started out with the body block that is in the inside at the neck joint and used the pattern to get my design started and cut out again on the band saw. This part is also made from Hard Maple that was cut from the same board I used on the back . You can see the "tang"in the above picture that will fit into the body block pictured below to make a solid joint at the body.

The tail Block I cut from solid maple as well and it is approx 3/8" thick so that there is adequate strength when the strings are mounted and the pressure is applied . The LAST thing I wanted was for the unit to pull apart because i had made something to thin. I had several people tell me that to much solid wood would hurt the sound , so it was a labor of FAITH in what I did here . And i am Happy it paid off !

The next sets of pictures show the neck. I Have already glued the Hard Maple Boards from the same blank together , and as you can see I have included red Mahogany strips in between to accent the Top . These strips are from the same board I am making the Top From. I turned the grain in opposite directions on the Hard Maple so that the " Natural " tendency of the board to warp would be working against itself to help maintain a straight neck.

I have glued the " Ears" in Place after making the rough cut on my band saw so that i have the basic shape , albeit quite over sized at this point . A LOT of sanding and measuring to be done as you will see in future post.

Thus begins my first and hopefully not last into the world of Luthier. I will say that In doing this I did talk to A LOT of people and READ A LOT prior to starting this project . I hope that you find my little project as fascinating as I have . I will continue with the following post in a few days .