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.
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:
- Pick and order the tuners
- Pick and order the tail piece
- Design the headstock
- Design the tone hole
- Pick color scheme