A new mandolin (part 1)

March 5, 2018 | in: DIY, Instruments

My father retired a couple of years ago, and he always wanted to create wooden instruments (that in general are used in Irish music).
I was amazed by the work he was doing. All handmade with hardly any machines. Obviously, this takes a lot of time.

Some time ago, I asked him if he could build me a mandolin, and he agreed to make me one.

First steps

So the first question he asked: What kind of mandolin would you like?

I was kinda confused. As, with many instruments, there are tons of variations. I chose a Fado-like tear-shaped model, with a flat back, 2 times 4 strings. I will forfeit the fado tuner style, because they are hard to use and perhaps easier to just choose a simple mechanism. So a Fado-shaped, 8 string, 7cm depth mandolin it became. The finish will be oil instead of lacquering. I want the mandolin to sound a little darker.

The design sketch will follow.

Choosing the tone wood

In Utrecht, Netherlands, near the station, is a windmill that has some woodworking shop there, called “Spruce Guitars“. The luthier repairs in general old high-end guitars. He also sells tone wood to small clients like me.

When we visited, we saw a lot of beautiful tone woods. Spruce, Koa, old rosewood, cherry etc. I chose Rosewood for sides and backs, sitka spruce for the top, mahogany for neck and ebony for the fret-board. All A++ grade. Pretty standard perhaps. Advice of the luthier is not to use hard woods for the top layer, because it needs to vibrate. Added some fret-wire, bone for the nut..so it feels like we bought some proper material.

From here on…

With some changed to the initial idea, I have to redesign a thing or three.

Coming up to do:

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