Mandolin

Under construction! This will be the progress of building a mandolin.

I started by developing a 3D surface for the top, then generate a CNC program to cut it.

Then the same thing for the main body.

Here, I have done a test cut of the top using MDF.

Next was a test cut for the main body in Douglas Fir

I'm thinking of switching over to an acoustic version, to start.

Test cut of the acoustic top.

And here's the back with the integrated braces. I need to modify the cut around the neck pocket.

I'm trying something different on this guy. Doing an angled headstock is a pain, and I had this mahogany lying around, with a little maple, so I did the neck this way:

We'll see how it works out.

Neck mostly done, but the dimensions are off. I need to do it over, but this gives you the idea of how it goes together.

Turns out the neck didn't fit right. I didn't get the zero point set correctly so the fretboard didn't fit right. So, I decided to redo it with an altered design. The new design has extended length on both sides of the bend.

Then, these slices are lined up using a 1/4" dowel to keep things straight.

Add some glue, and clamp all together. The extra length, as well as the dowels, will be cut off when I machine the neck.

Here's the final cut of the top sitting on the final body. It looks dull here, but wait until I put on the finish!

Here's the back side with a little sealer on it. See the crazy grain!

Clamping the top to the body.

First coat of sanding sealer applied. The grain is crazy!

Back to the new neck. Here, I'm sanding the back of the headstock and the back of heel area. That way it's smooth and I won't round-over the edges sanding them after the cut.

Then I use a jointer to flatten the front of the headstock and neck area.

Check the headstock thickness against the tuners.

Also, while I have the jointer out, flatten the bottom of the fretboard blank. I'm using Padauk for the fretboard.

Everything is flush!

Now I'm ready to machine. I use a riser block, trued with the CNC, and mount the neck with two screws through the headstock area.

Once the tuner holes are drilled, I screwed it down through them and removed the other two screws.

Then I turned it around and screwed it down through the heel area to cut the truss-rod channel and neck outline. I used a wedge to support the neck and make sure the Z axis was aligned front to back.

I mace an MDF fretboard, just to show how it all looks together.

I got the waterborne lacquer applied, dried, wet sanded, and buffed.

Here's a mock-up with the completed neck.

I love the shine and grain!

Glamour shots:

And, of course, it needed a case. Not pretty, but it keeps it safe!

My happy nephew, Andrew, after about five minutes of practice.

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