View Full Version : Crazy Construction?

Mar-02-2006, 9:29pm
Hey Folks,
Thought I might share some pics of what I have been doing lately....I realize the construction concept is likely heresy to most, but I wanted to pursue this direction for a number of reasons. Better use of rare/exotic wood combinations is the primary reason. #Shaking up the 'dyed in the wool' traditionalists might be another...but would I do THAT? #
Besides, the folks that might be interested in this model are likely the jazzy sort.
Basically, I used my carved ArchJazz mandolin outline and adapted a novel guitar bracing pattern a friend developed for the top. I felt it embodied the principal of central mass on a perimeter hinge....crucial to carved archtop mando mechanics.
Figured since this was a prototype, I would do a couple in stereo most of the way...finish one ... then make any required adjustments to the second.
Both are out of adirondack red spruce and some killer bird's eye maple. One will be blonde top with rich brown back/sides....the other blackface top and blonde back/sides.
Here's some pics of tops:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums....248.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/mandomaniac/Mando%20pics/Birdseye%20Build/P9250248.jpg)

A close up...nice silking..
http://img.photobucket.com/albums....251.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/mandomaniac/Mando%20pics/Birdseye%20Build/P9250251.jpg)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums....252.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/mandomaniac/Mando%20pics/Birdseye%20Build/P9250252.jpg)

Close up...really dense eyes with curl too
http://img.photobucket.com/albums....254.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/mandomaniac/Mando%20pics/Birdseye%20Build/P9250254.jpg)

Anyone intrigued for more?

BTW: is it better to post links or pics?


Mar-02-2006, 9:37pm
Looking back through, it seems most posts are full pics.
So, at the risk of being run out of town on a rail....
Here's a pic of the backs glued to rims.

Mar-02-2006, 9:38pm
Box complete (give or take some binding,endgraft,etc)

I should mention the box is 'arched' with 15' R on both top and back, as well as tapered.

Mar-02-2006, 9:40pm
Of course, the pic that showed the cool bracing of the top got eaten....but here is one of the top in my handy dandy deflection tuner jig that reveals at least some of the bracing. Had to 'adapt' the jig ...so things look a bit out of whack. It was originally designed for carved top mandos.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/mandomaniac/Mando%20pics/Birdseye%20Build/P1150006.jpg

Mar-02-2006, 9:42pm
Here's the flip side of the jig...
Many thanks to French Guy for ideas on this jig!!

Mar-02-2006, 9:47pm
Getting a little neck..........

Mar-02-2006, 9:54pm
As soon as I can get some gold bridge screws, I will get this baby strung up !!!

Mar-02-2006, 9:58pm
Can't resist showing that catchy logo (TD's)
Inlaying 11 separate pieces is a pain !

Ouch...sorry that was a bit big....how's this?

Mar-02-2006, 10:19pm
What is that crazy jig thing with the dials for?

Steve Cantrell
Mar-02-2006, 10:23pm
You'll have to post some completed pics--and please, a sound clip.

Mar-02-2006, 11:50pm
Mike...that crazy jig is a deflection tuning jig. It has been the subject of past threads. I made it for carved mando tops. Basically it allows you to carve the top and tonebars to a point that the top has flexibility yet strength. I like it a lot. Not magic, but puts you in the ballpark. Then you tap tune from there. Had to do some major 'adapting' with shims and such to test this different style of top construction. But it worked well.

french guy
Mar-03-2006, 7:19am
Hey Mandomaniac , I've very happy you use a deflection jig and remember that we have had a private contact for discuss about this in the past .
I always use this process , and it come to me from John Garrity ( we have no news from him since a long time ) .
John himself have pick this idea from Don Mac Rostie .
Here a picture from my website , where I adjust tonebars for the latest .

Mar-03-2006, 8:01am
mandomaniac, what's the deal with all the bracing? Any reason you moved away from X-brace in a shape like this?

I love the "heretic" side of it, it's stunning.


Mar-03-2006, 10:03am
Very cool design, I love it!

Mar-03-2006, 10:05am
French Guy,
Glad to to see you caught this thread.....I did give you credit in one of the posts above...but I neglected to mention John Garrity. My apologies to him. I, too, love this jig....gives you confidence the top will perform well.

I was fascinated by this "circle bracing" concept. Originally my friend developed it for steel string guitar and had amazing results. He and I put our heads together and made some mods for mandos. The 'offset X' I feel frees up the bass and the 'circle' helps support the forces of a floating bridge, as well as adding central mass. Unfortunately, the pic I had of the carved bracing pattern before glue up didn't survive. I seem to be BOTH camera and computer challenged! If you 'skeletonize' a carved achtop in your mind, this bracing sort of 'fits' within the skeleton (at least in MY mind...hahahaha)
Remember....this is a prototype, so stay tuned! It might just be pretty firewood....but I doubt it.

Skip Kelley
Mar-03-2006, 10:52am
I love the inlay! Awesome design!

Mar-03-2006, 2:25pm
That design rocks!

Pics please, when you're done. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-03-2006, 4:52pm
I'm interested in how you pulled off cutting the dovetail in the neck? Chisels?

Doesn't appear you could have done it with a saw.


Mar-03-2006, 7:32pm
Hey Ron,
It's done with smoke and mirrors #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

I guess it is not exactly trade secret.... I cut (with saw, chisel and file <G>)the female dovetail in the headblock when the rim is just a rim. The bottom is then glued onto the rim. The top I roughly dovetail (shy of the line), then clean it up with file to match the block dovetail faces after glueup. Result is pretty nice.

BTW: The kind compliments are certainly appreciated. I will post some more pics shortly. As to the sound file request...I mentioned earlier I was computer challenged .....any pointers would be most welcome and I would be happy to oblige....or at least try to. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Ken Sager
Mar-03-2006, 8:04pm
Nice! I'd love to see a blonde birdseye one with five strings, x-braced, f-holes, McIntyre pickup & floating 5-pole pickup wired stereo to an endpin jack, black or tortoise binding, oh my.

Keep up the good work!

Mar-03-2006, 8:31pm
Ken, you been peeking at my carved ArchJazz?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif?


Tone and vol hiding under that PG

The 5 string can happen...... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Mar-03-2006, 10:23pm
It's done with smoke and mirrors http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
Ah yes. My two favorite tools. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Actually, I was referring to the neck itself. It would be easy enough on a laid up neck, but that is apparently a one piece, which would mean there are six blind ended cuts to make to get the two sides of the dovetail. Making them wouldn't be so hard. Making them accurately would be a bit more labor intensive, unless I'm missing something, or misinterpreting the picture.......



Mar-03-2006, 10:28pm
Oops. Never mind. I just now saw the splice. Up till just now, I thought the extension and neck were all one piece.


Mar-04-2006, 11:08am
I just now saw the splice. Up till just now, I thought the extension and neck were all one piece.

Thanks Ron! I'll take that as a compliment http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif # As you noted, the fretboard extension is dovetailed to the neck dovetail. I just tried to make it match up reasonably.

Mar-04-2006, 11:59am
OK....Here are some pics of the back ...not much of a photographer and didn't really catch how this bird's eye looks..almost holographic in person.

Mar-04-2006, 12:01pm
A bit closer....


Mar-04-2006, 12:03pm
Closer yet....


Mar-04-2006, 12:06pm
Ahhhh....the eyes are upon you......:p


Mar-04-2006, 12:12pm
Sorry, got carried away....but just LOVE this bird's eye. I have to agree with Ken....blonde might be the bomb.
I'll get the bridge situation squared away and wind this up pretty quick. Still don't have a clue on creating a sound file....another steep learning curve no doubt. Any guidance?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Mar-04-2006, 2:54pm
If you are running a PC you can use the onboard recorder, but it will be in AVI format. You will need some other program to convert it to MP3.


Mar-13-2006, 1:01pm
Hey folks....
Thought I would share a few pics of this mando prototype completed. Got it strung up this weekend and I am really pleased with how it turned out. Action is low but exact....combined with the JM-11 flatwound strings Ted Eschliman turned me on to....almost like cheating! THANKS, TED! I feel this construction technique will perform well and provide a wider pallet of woods to entice the eye as well as the ear.



Mar-13-2006, 1:04pm
Here's a couple different views.....
This one is a little dark so bird's eye doesn't show well....but I dig the subtle reflections.

Mar-13-2006, 1:06pm
Last but not least....


Thanks for looking! #


Mar-13-2006, 1:39pm
Forgot to add....
Very nice sound to start with...very clear ringing tones, good balance, and with great sustain. Really like the strings, Ted. We'll see how it settles in, but seems to be a winner. Lucked up with this one....was a little concerned I might have overbuilt the top. Best thing is....the 15'R top is still 15'R !! HAHAHA

Mar-14-2006, 9:40am
I 'spose it goes without saying... <G>... that if anyone is intrigued, I'd be happy to discuss your choice of flavors. Wide selection of tops (RS, bearclaw Sitka, Eng) and backs/sides available....even figured ebony! Just give me a shout by emailing docsmandolins <at> aol.com