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Thread: No Power Tool Mandolin

  1. #101
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Poplar
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    Ponderosa Pine
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  2. #102
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Does this look ok? For reference it is 4' long and 12" wide.

  3. #103
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Pranav Ajay Warrier View Post
    Does this look ok? For reference it is 4' long and 12" wide.
    FYI, I am referring to the Ponderosa Pine. It is not bookmatched.

  4. #104

  5. #105

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Hi Pranav, that piece of pine is not recommended for an instrument top due to the way it is sawn. It is considerably weaker in this orientation than if the grain is oriented 90 degrees to the face (quarter sawn). You'll still use it - there are lots of things you need wood like this for in building an instrument, including molds or corner blocks. In those applications it would be fine.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

  6. #106
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Hi Pranav, that piece of pine is not recommended for an instrument top due to the way it is sawn. It is considerably weaker in this orientation than if the grain is oriented 90 degrees to the face (quarter sawn). You'll still use it - there are lots of things you need wood like this for in building an instrument, including molds or corner blocks. In those applications it would be fine.
    It's OK, I can return it. I got it from Home Depot, and have the receipt, so I should be fine. I plan to get much smaller pieces for the blocks and such. And also, I plan to use MDF or cardboard for the mould.

  7. #107
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Just making sure, but you are looking at the 2nd pic, right?

  8. #108
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    That looks like plain slab sawn pine board. I'd look into pile of SPF pieces and watch the endgrain to get as close to quarter |||||||||||||| some angle would be acceptable like 60 degrees from surface /////////////. I would stay away from slabcut because of potential cracks... wodd shrinks more across tangential surface so humidity cracks can occur and typically wood is also mechanically easier to split down the center of log so quartered wood is safer for two reasons. On hardwoods it is not as importand as most of the load it on the top.
    For neck I would go for harder wood than poplar, maple, birch or similar should do well
    What kind of instrument are you planning from this wood? F5 or something simpler like pancake or A style?
    Adrian

  9. #109
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    That looks like plain slab sawn pine board. I'd look into pile of SPF pieces and watch the endgrain to get as close to quarter |||||||||||||| some angle would be acceptable like 60 degrees from surface /////////////. I would stay away from slabcut because of potential cracks... wodd shrinks more across tangential surface so humidity cracks can occur and typically wood is also mechanically easier to split down the center of log so quartered wood is safer for two reasons. On hardwoods it is not as importand as most of the load it on the top.
    For neck I would go for harder wood than poplar, maple, birch or similar should do well
    What kind of instrument are you planning from this wood? F5 or something simpler like pancake or A style?
    An arch-top, flat-back F style mandolin. I can switch out the wood, so it's OK. Maybe oak or walnut for the neck? I kind of wanted to build the main body first, and then make the neck, which is why I haven't focused much on the neck. I know this is a bit random, but I was just wondering, why is it that it isn't called top and bottom, or front and back, but rather top and back? I've always wondered but never questioned it.

  10. #110
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Pranav Ajay Warrier View Post
    Hey Adrian, I am wondering how you went about making your plans. Did you trace from a mandolin you had access too, or what? I am eager to make my plans but I don't know where to start.
    That was a loooooong time effort... Back when I started I had no access to rel F-5 (I'm in central EU). There were some homemade mandolins in use by local musicians that would score quite high on "ugliest scroll of the century" thread built by some carpenter form shaky outline of chinese mandolin. All I knew was basic dimensions and scale length and had few VCR TV recordings of Monroe, Bush and some of the better bands so I stopped the vid whenever there was closeup and tried to trace the shaky screen on semitransparent drafting paper... then I got my ruler an calculator out and measured distances and sizes and ratios and slowly built up some basic outline and position of body points f holes etc... Later (a univ.) I had access to internet (1996, basic slooooooow connection DSL, sometimes working only in text mode...) and managed to download few pics from dealer/maker sites and some info from MC (I somehow stumbled upon it right at it's beginnings) took them home on 3.5" discs to my W95 computer and used them as base for further drawing/redrawing and by 2000 I had something you see in pic, I did wear through quite few layers of thet paper before I got there, you can see how it as alread falling apart at the fold/centerline. All handdrawn with no french curves. That's when I discovered Photoshop and its possibilities and managed to scan them into PC (in severalpieces and assembled back in PS).... Then I started overlaying them with Loar pics I could find over internet and since the pics and information got better basicly each month (that era was really "fast" in IT) I had better resolution pictures and more measurements etc. so I decided to follow and draw as close to Loar as possible. I had my first version of drawings finished just about the same time when the second Siminoff book was published with his new drawings and a friend sent me the book (not available in my country and internet sales were almost nonexistent here back then) and I found out that I liked my plans better and after I sent few copies out they persuaded me to publish them.... That was in 2005 or so... There are hundreds if not thousands hours of work in it (it was my passion like nothing else, sometimes spent 10 hours without leaving the PC, at average 1-3 hours a day)

    I can save you few years of that hard work.... PM me, I think I have some of the earlier Loar drawings in my shop (perhaps slightly worn but will get you started).
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    Adrian

  11. #111
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Also, I contacted Home Depot, and they said they do not have any quarter sawn wood. What do you think would happen if I still used this pine or if I used a hardwood for the top? What confuses me is that hardwood tops are used for guitars and ukuleles a lot, but seem to be condemned in mandolin world. Why is it that the guitar and ukulele soundboards vibrate well, but a mandolin one wouldn't?

  12. #112
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Or what about this spruce? https://www.homedepot.com/p/TemPlus-...1759/100003428 It isn't quarter sawn either, but I could probably find a somewhat good piece without any knots and such. Unfortunately, what they have at Home Depot is all I can get.

  13. #113
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    If you look thru all the wood piece by piece you may find a quarter sawn piece in their pile. They will say they don't have any, but some will be by accident. You will have to look to find it tho.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    If you look thru all the wood piece by piece you may find a quarter sawn piece in their pile. They will say they don't have any, but some will be by accident. You will have to look to find it tho.
    Ok I will take my time looking then. So if it is quarter sawn, the lines will run straight down parallel to each other?

  15. #115

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Also look at cedar and fir... cedar has to be about 2x as thick when carved, and fir can split unexpectedly, but both have been used commonly for musical instrument tops.
    If you find a piece like this, you're golden.

    See how the grain is parallel on the face, and perpendicular (as Adrian said, |||||||) at the end grain:
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    By the way, if your first instrument does not look as good as Adrian's first, don't be disappointed. Basically nobody does as well on their first instrument as that. (Except Adrian, somehow, because he is a beast).
    Your priorities for your first mandolin should be:
    1. Perfect glue joints - don't glue it up if there are any gaps that you can't close with your fingers. Clamps are there to put pressure on the joint for proper adhesion, not to close gaps.
    2. Good geometry - proper neck angle which will allow you the space for strings and bridge to lie correctly with room to adjust the bridge up and down.
    3. Structure - blocks at the head and tail which are well sized to take the loads, peghead not too thin nor too thick, reasonable thickness of top and back based on plans.
    4. Aesthetics last. You can always learn to make things look better, but making a functional instrument is more important. That being said, if you do the first three things accurately, it will not be ugly.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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  17. #116

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Lotsa good info here for everyone. I've enjoyed reading it! Thanks, guys!

  18. #117
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    I’ve seen Adrian’s plans and have heard some of the stories of the collaboration with another Cafe member, who said it was a very interesting project indeed! These very talented luthiers who share experience and talent so freely on this site are indeed special people, I’ve been lucky enough to have met a few and such generosity seems to be part of their nature! The information shared this and so many other threads restores my faith in the “Good of Man”.
    Pranav, I wish you all the luck in the world for your undertaking, I would not trust most of the guys I’ve met working at Home Depot, they might be in lumber one week and grass seed the next, any real knowledge of wood is sadly missing from their labour force. Just my opinion based on the three branches around here. You will need to go paw through entire stacks of material before you find a “good” one.
    I have a friend (my banjo player) who’s straight job is cabinetmaker, he has found some very nice material from time to time for a very reasonable price at big box stores but, he A-knows what he sees and, B-has taken the time to learn what he is looking for.
    He’s been a wood hound for as long as I’ve known him and I’m lucky to have gotten a few projects built from some of his “scrap”.
    Take your time, don’t rush the project, be particular, wait for the right piece of material.
    If you are going to carve the top, why not just dive in and carve the back too? I think again that building something more basic until when you get a feel for the tools, think about it from the standpoint of the learning curve. An F-5 is an extremely complicated piece of engineering but, I fully understand the “Its just so COOL, I have got to build one!” point of view. Best of luck buddy!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  20. #118
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    That old digital camera was very merciful to my first attempt ;-), sure there were few mistakes and many smaller "ooops". I re-topped it few years later so now it has more Loarish top and finished it again with bits of leftover varnish I used originally.
    Ordinary boards will be very ulikely quartered, the whle logs are often cut to thin boards so only two three at the center of log are close to quarter. I would have a look at 2X4's and try to find something that looks like one on Marty's image. And has no knots, or at least in position where you can cut around it.
    I would suggest carved back, poplar is fairly easy to carve and less "splintery" than spruce so it can be good one for start...
    Walnut for neck wpould be OK, but a bit contrasting to your back... But if you are going to use stain it won't be too noticeable.
    Adrian

  21. #119
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    What would happen if I just used this piece? Would it be so weak that it wouldn't be able to hold the tension, or would it just be a bit weaker?

  22. #120

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    going back to the plan and full sized drawing, if you make all of the parts to fit your accurately drawn plan, then the assembly is a much more manageable task. Don't shortcut yourself on making the parts exactly to the plan. They fit on the paper, they will fit in 3D if they are made the same. I'm not a fan of building parts as you go along. Think of it as your handmade kit. Some assembly required
    Play it like you mean it.

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  24. #121
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    It would probably crack over time, or sag.
    Go to Home Depot. Sort through their pile piece by piece. You'll probably find a piece of quarter sawn. If not, wait a week, and repeat. But you live in Morgantown. There should be plenty of spruce available there at non-big-box lumber stores.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

  25. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    It would probably crack over time, or sag.
    Go to Home Depot. Sort through their pile piece by piece. You'll probably find a piece of quarter sawn. If not, wait a week, and repeat. But you live in Morgantown. There should be plenty of spruce available there at non-big-box lumber stores.
    Bill
    Well, I can't find any. Do you think 84 Lumber, or Lowes would have quartersawn wood, because I have those nearby as well.

  26. #123
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Anyplace that sells wood could have some.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  27. #124
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Anyplace that sells wood could have some.
    Firewood sellers not excluding. Don't fear of smaller pieces... I would prefer gluing four pieces of quartered to using that slab-cut.
    The spruce tops in my recent mandolins were destined to fire. I noticed stash of logs and spruce butts at te road prepared for firewood. Some of the logs were 2' diameter or more with hollow rotten center but enough healthy wood for mandolin tops so we split 40 or so tops (wide grained - looks just like common red spruce in US) and it cost me virtually nothing but the sweat. These stashes are often left there for folks from nearby villages to take or left to rot as they are not worth enough to transport out of the forest. I go around the place often and most of the wood was still there two years later and slowly rotting.
    Have a look here: https://benedettoguitars.com/2011/09...y-knot-so-bad/
    It can be done, but carving such wood is not easy and for beginner straight grained quartered wood would still be enough of a challenge...
    Adrian

  28. #125
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    I agree with Bill, you need to look and, look and, look some more. The more you rush, the greater possibility of making mistakes. Take the time learning! See,if you,can find someplace that is NOT a big box chain kind of place, an old time lumberyard! Someplace that smells like wood not plastic and cardboard, big box stores have their place but, by and large it is not a luthier supply unless you have a lot of time to sort through stacks of material. If you don’t have the patience to look for the wood, I’m worried about you causing your fingers some damage in rushing the carving. This is something you will have for a long time, slow down, take the time to find the best material you can, don’t just “use this” knowing it will fail, do the best you can!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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