I'm planning to build my first mandolin and have done extensive research here and elsewhere. I have the Siminoff "Ultimate" book on order, have a decent shop at home and access to a NICE wood working shop near work at a friends house, and have been an engineer for 20+ years. I think, with you guys help, I should be able to do a reasonable job and have a good time doing it! I anticipate this taking 6 to 12 months due to time required to build jigs, acquire tools, etc. So I'm in no hurry to 'do it wrong'!
I have an 'allowance' of $250 per month so, while I can't spend $3,000 all at once, over a year I can afford most anything I need in tooling and materials. 8 or 10 hours a week shouldn't be a problem for a time committment.
I would appreciate your comments on my plans as well as recommendations for a source for the first piece I want to start on; the top. And I'll apologize upfront for being an Engineer whose motto is: "If it ain't broke, tear it apart and figure out why!" We DO like to 'improve' on things!
Specs under consideration for comments:
Top: bookmatched Spruce (Sitka, other?)
Back: bookmatched Mahogany or Rosewood (warmer than topwood)
Neck: bookmatched hard rock Maple with Ebony 'center stripe'
Fingerboard: one piece with neck ala Telecaster maple neck
Peghead veneer: bookmatched to match back
Truss rod: yes, either 'skunk striped', gun bored, or pre-routed prior to assembling sections for neck
Modifications to F5 style:
- one piece side/back
- compound radius fingerboard, probably 7 1/4 to 12
- oversize frets
- internal lightweight 'bridge' under actual bridge connecting top to back to transfer energy to back
- top and back tuned 'mounted' using a 'rim' on each piece glued to a tuning jig then cut away after tuning
- artificially aged during tuning process (see Acoustic Aging)
- strings mounted through-body ala Telecaster to minimize energy loss (yeah, this will require custom sets)
Thanks for your comments and all the information you've already posted here!