View Full Version : First attempt at building a F5

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-04-2005, 3:02pm
I wish you all a happy new year and especially Scott Tichenor for hosting this great site and also for picking me as one of the lucky winners of an Acoustic Disc CD. (I didn’t have that one and I really like the picks)
One of the results of this site is giving me the courage and possibility to try to build my own mandolin (Stew-Mac). I did expect to learn a lot on the way (witch I did) but I did not expect that it would sound this good. It is of course not perfect, but it looks OK and sound good and loud (to me anyway) so I am happy. I made the neck a little wider than standard and with a 14” radiused fretboard. French polish since I had some experience with polishing.
Jan from Norway

Here are the pics:

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-04-2005, 3:04pm

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-04-2005, 3:06pm

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-04-2005, 3:09pm
Another pic of the back (The red spots are not on the instrument)

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-04-2005, 3:12pm
Peghead (I did not trust myself to cut the fern, but bought it over the net)

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-04-2005, 3:15pm
On the back of the peghead I put a furnier from som curly wood. I don't know what kind of wood because I got it on a German piano factory I visited some years ago.

Jonathan James
Jan-04-2005, 5:42pm
Pretty sweet!

Jan-04-2005, 8:48pm
Very nice, the back of the peghead is very classy.

Lane Pryce
Jan-05-2005, 8:15am
Great Job!! I wish I had the time to commit to an F5 project. It looks very nice and you should be pleased. Lp

John Zimm
Jan-05-2005, 8:57am
That is very nice. Good job with that. I bet she will provide you with years of enjoyment and beautiful music. Great job.


Jan-05-2005, 11:08am

Your new mando looks great. Is this project something you worked on daily? I mean, time is a commodity. I have to work, a family, and definately have to practice.

This "Stew-Mack kit" you refered to; does it come with pre-cut wood? Do you have a link that might save yourself some questions?

Thank you,
Scott in NC

Jan-05-2005, 12:38pm
nice job jan. nice initials on the front. looks great. beautiful color too.

Jan Ellefsen
Jan-05-2005, 5:12pm
Thanks for all the kind words I really appreciate it. To Scott in NC: I took my time on this project. Sometimes I worked a few hours every day, and then let it rest for some weeks. I don’t know many hours, but I know I will be a lot faster next time, mainly because I don’t have to spend so much time correcting mistakes.
Here is the link to StewMac: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Kits/Mandolin_Kits/F5_Mandolin_Kits.html
When they say “the arched back and top are carved” it is not exactly true. They are carved to some degree, but very thick so you have to carve a lot and work with arching and work out the thickness on different places. But it wouldn’t be so much fun if you could just glue it all together would it? You also need to carve the scroll (That was one of the things I really enjoyed doing, and I didn’t have any experience beforehand). The fretboard and the peghead furnier comes as two square plates that you have to shape, but the slots for the frets are pre-cut. I arched the fretboard in “14, just because I wanted to try it, but that is of course not necessary. The rest of the woodwork was sanding, except routing out for the bindings. (Don’t hurry with this and do it in stages, going a little deeper each time is my advice here). The quality of the materials was very good though. If you want a little less work you can check out Siminoff’s kits: http://www.siminoff.net/pages/siminoff_parts9.mandokits.html There you have more choices in materials and how much you want pre-made.
As for getting time to play: When the mando is finished you want to play more because in addition to improve your skills as a musician you also want to “play in” and improve the sound of your mando .
And building is almost as fun as playing.
Good luck