**Think I'll Build A Mandocaster**

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Jack Wells, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. JBennett

    JBennett Tele-Afflicted

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    WOOO. This is looking REAL good.
     
  2. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's my neck shaping set-up......

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    ...and here are my neck shaping tools........ rasp, spokeshave, scraper and orbital sander.

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    Here's the neck. I think I'll leave it "chunky" if you can call a mandolin neck chunky.

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    If you don't have a parrot vise I highly recommend them. This one currently is around $43 from Grizzly. I made my own tilting jaws from oak and leather.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  3. Motor

    Motor Tele-Holic

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    Looks great Jack!!
     
  4. cpeters01

    cpeters01 Tele-Meister

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    So Jack...how much time do you have to spend on the guitar building after you are finished building all the jigs and gadgets you have? It's fascinating looking at the pics you post because there is always some weird little creation that you have made...I'm impressed but I hate making jigs and templates. Seems you get as much or more pleasure from that than building the actual guitars. It's great the world has all types of people. Keep inspiring us.
     
  5. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Started the pickguard using three ply B/W/B. Cut it out with the scroll saw then attached the template and routed it. By the way, a variable speed scroll saw is great for rough cutting pickguards.

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    Thought I'd see how things are fitting together. At this point, I'm beginning to see some shortcomings in the plans.

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    The plans call for routing the control cavity 3/4 in. deep. I should have known better. Deep enough for the pots but not deep enough for the jack.

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    Using full size pots doesn't allow the pickguard to slide all the way up to the neck. The volume pot hits the end of the control cavity.

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    Another short coming .......... there is nothing in the plans that show the hole pattern for the neck screws. Also, no plan for the neck plate.

    I found some good pictures of a real Mandocaster and made this pattern from the neck heel picture. I scaled it to actual size and printed it out and marked the hole centers. The idea was to flip the pattern over and mark the locations in the neck pocket. (Yeah I know I spelled bass wrong). As you can see, my neck pocket isn't as long as on a real one.

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  6. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    You do such beautiful tidy work, Jack. Great stuff.
     
  7. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Thanks kwerk.

    I laid the pickguard on the master template and marked the edge of the pickguard and the nearest screw hole. I used to spindle sander to enlarge the cavity. Then I mounted the master on the 3/4 in. template and routed it to the new shape.

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    Mounted the 3/4 template to the body and routed the control cavity to a 1 1/4 in. depth.

    That's a better fit.

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    Now to figure a way to locate the neck mounting holes. I can't lengthen to neck pocket per a real Mandocaster at this point.

    I laid out this hole pattern on some 1/4 in. MDF then traced the outline of the neck template over it.

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    I cut it out and sanded it until it was a snug fit inside the neck pocket.

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    Marked the hole centers with a sharp awl then drilled the template with a 1/8 in. bit. I then put the template in the pocket and drilled just deep enough to mark the holes in the pocket.

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    Put a larger bit in the drill press (less chance of bit drift) and finished drilling the holes.

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  8. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Not a lot new here. Made a new paint stick for the Mandocaster from 1/2 in. PVC pipe.

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    The pickups arrived today. All the way from Shenzhen GongDong China. Took just over a week. $7.49 with free shipping.

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    Pickup doesn't fit the cavity as it is currently routed so I'll as soon as I remedy that I can start the finishing on the body.

    Found this template I had used for something in the past. It was just a little wider than the existing pickup rout so I routed one end of the template then shifted the template and routed the other end. Used a big round file to enlarge the mounting lug areas.

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    Routed the 3/4 in. working template.

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    Routed the body.

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    Now plenty of room for the pickup.

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    Cut and filed the pickup hole in the pickguard template.

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    The plans call for having the pickup mounted on the pickguard. The mounting lugs don't allow for much height adjustment. The easiest solution would probably be to file the lugs down some.

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    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  9. telemaster1953

    telemaster1953 Tele-Holic

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    any updates on the mando jack?
     
  10. ltdave32

    ltdave32 Tele-Meister

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    Bump.. :D

    I too, have been following this thread closely. I'm starting a mandocaster build of my own, and hope to have some pics and a thread started soon..
     
  11. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    In my typical fashion, I've started a couple of new projects and put this on a back burner. I need to get an order off to StewMac for some mandolin fret wire.

    I'll try to get some update work done on the mandocaster.
     
  12. studysession

    studysession Tele-Meister

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    Looks nice
     
  13. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Correction to Post #68 ....... the paint stick was actually made from 3/4 in. PVC.

    With bridge and a couple of tuners mounted I use the old string method to align the neck then clamp it in place.

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    Using the brad point bit I used to drill the neck mounting holes in the body, I mark the hole pattern in the neck then drill the neck.

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    Here's a tip I learned from Terry Downs. I made this self centering punch from a pop rivet ..............

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    ....and use it to mark a few pickguard hole locations.

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    Think I'm about ready to start painting.

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  14. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Jack, that is the schnitz!

    Have you found your RIGID/Snow Plow Orange yet?
     
  15. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Going with Duplicolor Metalspecks Burnt Copper on this one. I think you told me once that Poplar doesn't need grain filler. I guess that's probably still true.
     
  16. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    As far as I know, neck plates for these are not readily available so I'll be making my own. My metal working capabilities are limited mostly to aluminum. After determining to size I want the plate to be I cut a small piece on the radial saw. I clamp it to the body and mark a couple of holes using a drill bit going through the holes in the body. I drill and countersink these two holes then run screws through them and clamp the plate in place.

    On the left there, is the only Craftsman electrical tool I would ever recommend.

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    I then use a hand drill to mark the remaining two holes then finish them up on the drill press.

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    This fuzzy picture sort of shows the result.

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    After a little file work, I check the fit. A little more file work then I'll polish the plate. May need to countersink a little deeper.

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  17. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    That is the epitome of a brilliant tool. Great lateral thinking to whoever came up with that idea.

    Your build is looking great, Jack.

    Have you ever come across a suitable bridge to build an 8 string electric? I guess one could do a similar thing to what you've done but use a 12 string bridge as the donor?

    EDIT: I see you did use a 12 string bridge. I guess that's a yes then, providing you have the right saddles?
     
  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    This depends Phil, do you want/need/plan to use 8 seperate strings or 4 pairs?
     
  19. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    4 pairs.
     
  20. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This little Korean made electric mandolin that Fender sold a few years ago uses threaded saddles with both strings of a pair fed through the same string through hole. The bridge does exist. Just a matter of finding a source.

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    I suppose you could cut a Strat hardtail bridge plate similar to what I did and put threaded saddles on it.

    Unlike a 12-string guitar, with an 8-string mandolin both strings of a pair should intonate at the same point.
     
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