nosmo's Acoustic Adventure

nosmo

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A long time ago, in a forum not so far away, some dummy started a thread about making mandolins. If you’re the type of person that likes self-punishment, you can go back and read through it. I didn’t want to drag it back from the dead (so please don’t post in it), but it does have some of the steps that got me to where I’ll start this thread.

http://www.tdpri.com/threads/wood-a-mandolin-be-ok.376016/

The reason the old thread died was, I could not decide how to attach the necks. The reason for this new thread is, I can’t take any more snide remarks from Roger.

Well, that and I really want a mandolin.

We’ll start slow. Just one of the mandos first. Maybe the other one later. Maybe a classical. Maybe a steel string. Maybe this thread will fizzle out too. You never know.



Let’s start with this pile of……………parts. If you didn’t go back to review the original thread, I don’t blame you. To save you some time I’ll just tell you I started a Mesquite F type and a Cherry A type. This is the Cherry A type. The parts have been stabilizing for about 4 years, so I shouldn’t have too much trouble with the wood moving


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Looks like a 6 year old tried to put a kit together, but I think we can work with that.


Here’s the neck. The reason the whole thing went South. I think I have a plan using the connectors in the little bag.


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The top was ready for attachment to the rim after some shaping of the tone bars so I busted out some clamps.


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That went pretty well so I started working on the neck heel. I decided to go with the straight mortise & tenon joint as opposed to the dovetail. Thing is, you gots to cut the body profile into the heel at an angle. Hence the jig.


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The mortise was easier since the bottom of the rim is flat.


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Obviously, the top had been made flush with the sides before this.


Now I need to cut the taper of the heel to make it a little easier to see the joint.


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I cut one side from this end of the jig, then, flip the jig around and cut the other side from the other end. Used a block with 2-sided tape on one side & sandpaper on the other to raise the neck. Held the neck in place on the jig with my vise-like fingers.


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Goes together something like this.


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I think the angle is about 6 degrees. The beauty of the straight tenon is the neck can slide up or down to achieve the correct FB to bridge relationship.

Checking the scale length here. I want the bridge to line up with the points of the F holes.


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I guess that would have been better with the bridge in the picture. Hmmmm……..at least you can see the F holes.


Now for the mechanical attachment stuff. Drill a hole in the bottom of the tenon…


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…for the cross dowel. (Thanks jamorudd & Marty).


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Of course it will go deeper in the heel. Just use this little wrench to tighten it.


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At this point, I had not decided if I wanted to attach the neck before or after the back was attached to the rim. So I moved on to other things.


Other things on a mandolin! Don’t panic, I haven’t set this project aside again yet. As a matter of fact, I have a bunch of pictures, ‘cause I like pictures, of more progress. I’ll be posting them shortly.
 

MM73

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Like the coelacanth, what was thought lost is now found.

I had heard mention of these mandolins, but figured it was just urban legend.

I'm not sure what to say, but feel somewhat privileged to be present at their rediscovery.

Good luck with whatever it is you are doing with them.
 

nosmo

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Those look like the Siminoff plans, I'm just finishing up an f style from his plans. Yours is looking real good, I look forward to seeing more pics! These things are a ton of work...

Yesir. Those are the Siminoff plans. Great book. Your's looks great. And yes, they are a ton of work.

...Good luck with whatever it is you are doing with them.

I had thought about burning them. We'll see.
 

nosmo

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For some reason, the top gets cut off at the 15th fret position. Don’t know why, but that’s what my Siminoff book says.


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Normally there is a riser block & a fretboard extender that go there. And a little piece of binding separating them. I say normally because that is the traditional method. We all know I’m not normal soooooooo……….. I decided to skip the binding and make them out of one piece. Like so.


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Next, I drilled the tuner holes. Wanted to do that while the neck was still “short” so to speak. I guess I didn’t get any pics of the HS cap getting laminated. Use your imagination.


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Glued the riser/extender to the neck on a flat surface.


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Looks like I shaped the heel a little bit first. That would have been smart.


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Once the FB mating surface was sanded flat, I glued on the fretboard. I need it in place to shape the neck & extender. Used little pins through the FB at the 1st & 14th (or so) fret slots.


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Then I started shaping the neck.


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Yes that is the same jig I used to cut the heel earlier. It was just sitting there in front of me when I was trying to figure out how to hold the neck. There’s a lesson for ya. Never put anything away. Works for me - YMMV.


So here are a couple parts that are roughed out enough to look like a mandolin.


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I put them together to check the alignment with some fishing line.


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I like that.


Only 847 more steps to go.
 

fabricator

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Looking great, Nosmo. I remember reading your original thread. I've always wanted to build a mandolin, but I don't play one often enough to justify the time investment. Still, as someone who builds an occasional archtop, I can appreciate the work you've put into this.
 

richa

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I had a mandolin on my aspiration list. Had being the operative word. :)

That's some impressive joinery there.
 

MM73

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Dang, I just browsed thru the previous build thread for this mando...can we call it Volume 1?

I had to quit looking. I started to hyperventilate when I tried to understand what was going on.

This type of mando does not appear to be for the faint of heart...or someone on a deadline!

Is your friend's Dad still waiting on this instrument?
 

nosmo

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Looking great, Nosmo. I remember reading your original thread. I've always wanted to build a mandolin, but I don't play one often enough to justify the time investment. Still, as someone who builds an occasional archtop, I can appreciate the work you've put into this.

I've never played one. Watched some youtube videos though.

I had a mandolin on my aspiration list. Had being the operative word. :)

That's some impressive joinery there.

Thanks

...Is your friend's Dad still waiting on this instrument?

I hope not.

Fishing line. Now I suppose you're distracted and we'll have to wait another year for the next installment. :p

Na, no fishing today. Too many tornados around.

I wonder where you people get all this talent.

Who you calling' you people?

:):)
 

nosmo

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At this point, I still didn’t know if I should attach the neck before or after the back. Either way, I figured I could go ahead and put the binding on the top.


I marked the Spruce to accommodate the binding. This also keeps the tear-out to a minimum.


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Routed the channel in small steps with a Dremel and a StewMac Binding Router Guide. Then cleaned up the spots the Dremel couldn’t reach.


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I took quite a bit of time to make sure the binding channel was clean & square. Used all kinds of tools. Chisels, files, blades.


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Then I started fitting the black/white fiber purfling that will go under the binding.


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Once that was all laid out & held in place with the pins, I glued it in with Titebond. Used some old brown ABS binding to hold it down. The Titebond doesn’t stick to the binding.


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When that dried, I cleaned up the channels again and installed the white binding. I wanted the same black/white thing going on on the top, but rather than cut a small purfling channel, I used some thin, full height ABS.


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I only stuck the ends together so I could miter them


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Now, I want a stripe of purfling to run along the sides and down the points in one continuous line, so everything has to get mitered. Hard to explain. Might be easier to just show the pictures.


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Looks like that will work. I guess we'll find out later. I think I'll wait until the back is on before I put in the points.

As far as the top binding, you start at one point….


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…and work your way around.


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The reason I left the 3 pieces of binding loose, and glued them as I went was because when I tried them together, the thin pieces would break or wrinkle when I tried to bend them. Also, the thin pieces are so thin, the acetone starts to melt them pretty quickly. I figured if I just hit them with the acetone once, I’d have a better chance of keeping the thin white line.


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All bound up and resting comfortably
 

nosmo

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That looks great nosmo. Glad to see you working on this again.

Thanks Reb. Glad to see you watching.

Heck, after all that time, and here suddenly you're almost done! ;)

The stinkin' neck joint messed my mind up so much it took this long to clear it. There really wasn't that much left to do. I am taking my time though. Just the top binding took about 3 days. I have to make sure I have enough time to overthink each step.

Speaking of time...........I see you're making some progress on the DPP.
 

nosmo

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Here are a few shots of the top binding after the first scraping.


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Maybe it’s just the light color of the Spruce, but the thin white stripe doesn’t show up like I thought it would. It’s so thin it kind of melts into the black. Hopefully it will work better on the back where it will be against the Cherry.


It might show up better if I put a burst on the top. Haven’t really thought too much about how to finish it yet. I’m a natural wood kind of guy, but I might try to go from natural to something that will go with the Cherry on the top. It’s kind of scary to think about staining that soft Spruce. I’m afraid it’ll soak it up like a sponge.


I am going to use shellac as the base for whatever I do. It’s a blond that just puts a little amber tint on. Should I shellac it first and then try the burst?


There’s plenty of time for you all to make suggestions. And about that same amount of time for me to ignore them.
 

nosmo

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Yep, and this thread is very encouraging! My neck set oughta be a piece of cake compared to what you've done!

Yeah - set necks are scary. I did one on the carved Walnut guitar and it was a PITA. Just make sure you have the geometry right before you glue it.
 




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