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Thread: No Power Tool Mandolin

  1. #51
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Hez PaniniWar... It took you 47 posts to reveal you want to build F-5 and so far you never mentioned what is your background - What (hand) tools do you have and how well you can work with them. Just that you WANT to build beautiful instruments from raw wood with just hand tools. F-5 may be one of the most difficult instruments to build (if you wish it be really beautiful)...
    I would suggest that your first study a lot about traditional instrument making. There are zillions of articles and tutorials on internet, perhaps none is start to end with hand tools but all you need is just substitute the handtools instead of the power tools.
    If you don't hane good drawing get one, it's one of the most important things on the way to success. I spent few years drawing plans and preparing for the actul work before I started on my first build (almost completely done with hand tools). Now you have everything within few clicks so take the time to do the homework and study how it is done and after that you will be able to ask specific questions like "I have some scrap wood and tools x, y, z and want to start making mould for my F-5 build, what would you suggest?..."
    There are many generous builders here willing to help you but you are making it hard or impossible.
    Haha, sorry I didn't make my intentions clear. I have no tools yet, but I know what tools I need. I realize how annoying I was probably being, asking you all every question that popped into my mind before I took the time to find out myself. However, I have been watching tons of videos on making violins, mandolins, and guitars, and read many books in the library, over the past week, and I have my plans ready for my mandolin, I just need to print it out now. I have a plan to build my mandolin in India, so now I'm pretty much set. All I need to do now, is practice and get my woodworking skills developed. Not sure how I will approach that, but I'll find some way. Thanks for taking the time to write that!
    Last edited by Pranav Ajay Warrier; Feb-19-2018 at 6:37pm.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    +1000 for calling it a mould, not mold!

    Cardboard will work for limited use. You can't make 100 mandolins out of the same mould, but if you cut, stack, and glue cardboard, it can be a very rigid material that you can cut with an exacto knife or razor blade. I've used it very successfully for one off mandolins and guitars. Structural insulation foam will also work well, like the purple stuff they sell at home depot...
    Thanks! I never even thought about that! Great idea.

  3. #53

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    The first rule is: don’t get hurt learning. The tools should be very sharp and can inflict serious damage to you.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  5. #54

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    My advice for building your woodworking skills is not to bite off too much at once. The most important things that contribute to a functional and lasting musical instrument are the same things that contribute to any other woodworking project.
    In no particular order, the most important skills are:
    - the ability to measure accurately
    - the ability to transfer (mark) measurements accurately
    - the ability to cut accurately (straight or curved)
    - the ability to make a surface flat
    - the ability to make two surfaces flat and join them together- perfectly
    - the ability to make complicated surfaces (dovetails, scarf joints) fit together - perfectly

    And a lot of other things... but if you can do that, your instrument will most likely work and not fall apart. It will probably also look nice. Ugliness in instruments usually comes from shoddy measurement, shoddy surface preparation, and shoddy glue joints.

    Build some dovetailed boxes for your Mom or loved one first -- they'll think you are amazing, and you'll learn crucial skills which will stand you in good stead. You'll develop confidence, and learn what not to do (which is at least as important as what TO do).
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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  7. #55
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Ok, thanks for posting that, that should help.

  8. #56

    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    I think most people can learn basic woodworking skills, but not everyone can be an "artist" with those skills. Correct me if I am wrong, but I would say building an F-5 takes some artistry.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Back when I was young and full of juice, two very good builders advised my to first learn to sharpen a tool. At first it was nothing more than X-acto blades but, the lesson was critical! There was a time I thought I might have attempted to build a mandolin and I still toy with the idea. I’d start with something a little less complicated to get a feel for the tools than an F-5 though and I’ve got access to some really talented help! Maybe a few dozen boxes and then a pancake, every step on the trip is a point to learn. Look at as many instruments as you can get close to, measure (with permission) them, keep a notebook, listen, talk with builders when you can.
    One of the first guys told me “Draw your plan, it does a couple of things, givens you a feel for the form and it makes it YOURS.” It took me years to understand the value of that statement. Draw sketches at least, make your head understand the shape then, teach your hands how to make it. Like learning a tune, get it in your head and then tell the fingers where to go.
    Jeff is right, there’s artistry in the F-5, especially the fine ones!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  12. #58
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    OK, you guys have made me realize that maybe I was being a little too ambitious when planning to make an F5. I still think that an A5 takes artistry too! I should readjust my expectations again. I will practice the basics and perfect the needed skills first, like you suggest, and then plan on building the mandolin. I am a little lucky in the fact that I am a violin player, so I can look at the craftsmanship of my violin, which does help. I really appreciate the advice you all have been giving me, and you've all been so helpful. I will definitely take your advice.

  13. #59
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    “Your patience will be rewarded!”
    Start by making some really beautiful simple items, hey, maybe some small boxes pf various shapes and sizes to hold small parts on your work bench use techniques which will benefit your end project (the F-5) make tools and clamps and make them with some respect to the pride you will have in what you plan on making. There are tons of plans for clamps, moulds, etc. when the tool is beautifully made, the resulting product will benefit from the time taken to get the shapes right!
    My brother and I built an Adirondack Guide Boat from plans which were “Not recommended for the home builder!” the time we spent lofting the plans and making the patterns before starting the actual boat took us almost six months of almost every night after work but, the moulds could be used to make 100 boats! The design was complicated yes but, we took the time to get the lines “right” before we cut anything. I wish he’d never sold the boat!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    +1 on the idea of making your own tools and fixtures. I learned a lot about the nature of oak when building my cam clamps:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSO5QFQhQk8
    Kirby Francis

    Francis Guitar Repair

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    I'd like to add this. Visualization of what you're making before the tool hits the wood. It's easy to plow into something sculptural without having a complete grasp of what has to be carved away and what has to be left. I remember all too well my first F5 scroll back in about 1978. I'd been doing woodworking full time as my business for 4 years. I could move wood away. But I didn't understand the geometry of the scroll and binding "dance" that goes on there until I was finished and looked and realized- it sucked. It was basically an F5 scroll but it wasn't pretty. It was close, but close doesn't count. You have to get what isn't the mandolin out of the way. But if you take what Is mandolin away, you can't put it back. The detail involved in making an F5 is far more than anyone who hasn't done it can appreciate.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Inklings View Post
    +1 on the idea of making your own tools and fixtures. I learned a lot about the nature of oak when building my cam clamps:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSO5QFQhQk8
    Perfect timing, haha! I was actually just looking at how to build tools. The problem is, so far all I have is a coping saw and a normal handsaw. Do you think there is anyway I could make a chisel or gouge with that? I saw a video where a guy made a gouge with a spoon, and that looks like a good idea to me, but that's all I got so far. I don't have much money. I would have to slowly acquire a collection of tools, and that is why I am extremely interested in making tools. I started by buying the coping saw today. The chisel seems most important to me right now.Also, I was wondering, would I be able to do the same thing a plane does, with a violin carving knife? Planes are looking extremely expensive from what I've found, especially the finger ones.

  20. #63
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by PaniniWar View Post
    Perfect timing, haha! I was actually just looking at how to build tools. The problem is, so far all I have is a coping saw and a normal handsaw. Do you think there is anyway I could make a chisel or gouge with that? I saw a video where a guy made a gouge with a spoon, and that looks like a good idea to me, but that's all I got so far. I don't have much money. I would have to slowly acquire a collection of tools, and that is why I am extremely interested in making tools. I started by buying the coping saw today. The chisel seems most important to me right now.Also, I was wondering, would I be able to do the same thing a plane does, with a violin carving knife? Planes are looking extremely expensive from what I've found, especially the finger ones.
    Be sure to check out garage sales, pawn shops, and craigslist. You might be able to find some cheap hand tools. Also, I don't know if you're still planning on a carved top, but if you decide to go with a flattop, you may not even need a gouge.
    As far as tool "hacks" go, my uncle and I built an electric mandolin when I was in high school. Well, he did most of the building, but he left shaping the neck to me. He sent me home with a box of broken glass and that's what I shaped the neck with. It worked amazingly well. This was fairly thick glass, so it was not prone to breaking in my hands. Still I used gloves. If you try this, please, please be careful! It essentially worked like one of these scrapers. An old broken mirror might be perfect.
    Anyone have any tool hack ideas? Something cheap or free that will work in a pinch?

    EDIT: Video showing a broken glass scraper.
    Last edited by Walt; Feb-22-2018 at 2:54am. Reason: Additional info

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  22. #64
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Do you think there is anyway I could make a chisel or gouge with that?
    If you delve deeper into Paul Seller's channel on Youtube, you can see several tools, fixtures, jigs and the like that he has made. He has even made his own spokeshave, in the process giving a wonderful tutorial on the basics of hardening steel, and forming ergonomically designed tool handles.

    Could you make your own chisels? Yes, I suppose you could. But as Paul often states on his programs, a set of chisels from a corner hardware store, costing less than $5 per tool, will likely serve you okay, if they are sharpened. I have nicer chisels, and I find they are better for fine work. I've made due with the cheaper ones for years before acquiring nicer ones, and have managed to get things done. Likewise, I've found that $15 planes from Home Depot can cut just fine, with time-consuming registration and sharpening. You just need a flat piece of glass, some water to lubricate, and a lot of sandpaper.

    I think your point about acquiring inexpensive tools in India is a reasonable one. Perhaps purchase a suitcase as well, and pay to have the bag checked on your way home? Given the incredibly comfortable nature of the punjab, and other local garments, there is no need to bring many clothes with you!
    Kirby Francis

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    I am going to buy a pack of chisels and a plane from Wal-Mart, so my toolbox is slowly getting bigger! After that I'm going to buy wood and slowly start buying other stuff when I need it. Thank you all for your help!

  25. #66
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    You're on your way! Thankfully, patience and experience are relatively inexpensive - they just cost a lot of time.
    Kirby Francis

    Francis Guitar Repair

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Inklings View Post
    You're on your way! Thankfully, patience and experience are relatively inexpensive - they just cost a lot of time.
    Haha, you should put that on a t-shirt.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by PaniniWar View Post
    I am going to buy a pack of chisels and a plane from Wal-Mart, so my toolbox is slowly getting bigger! After that I'm going to buy wood and slowly start buying other stuff when I need it. Thank you all for your help!
    I would buy used tools from antique stores or swap meets, old tools may need sharpening, but the quality of the steel is far superior than what you will buy at Walmart. Most likely they will be cheaper too. You will appreciate that quality when you start working with the tools. I had a new block plane, but after getting a 1920's block plane I never used it again.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I would buy used tools from antique stores or swap meets, old tools may need sharpening, but the quality of the steel is far superior than what you will buy at Walmart. Most likely they will be cheaper too. You will appreciate that quality when you start working with the tools. I had a new block plane, but after getting a 1920's block plane I never used it again.
    How do I find swap meets? I will check my local antique stores but I doubt I will find what I need.Also, what size chisel and gouge do you recommend? I am considering buying used ones on eBay because they look like higher quality ones like you said.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    If you can find used old chisels from ebay or any source they should be a higher quality than what you will buy at any discount store selling steel from China. Decide what you are going to make, the tools you need, and look for them used. You will have to sharpen new chisels any way. I am not saying new chisels are not good, because there are good new chisels, they are not cheap. And they are not made in China.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  31. #71
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    If you can find used old chisels from ebay or any source they should be a higher quality than what you will buy at any discount store selling steel from China. Decide what you are going to make, the tools you need, and look for them used. You will have to sharpen new chisels any way. I am not saying new chisels are not good, because there are good new chisels, they are not cheap. And they are not made in China.
    Sometimes pawn shops have tools for sale.
    I believe Paul Sellers in one of his vids shows cheap set of chisels (from amaon or ebay) that is quite usable and shows how to sharpen them razor sharp. Have a look at it and find the same brand.
    Some of the cheap sets are realy poor - I was given a set where the chisels were not even heat treated, just mild steel that bends and nicks by just looking at wood, even the handles were not of seasoned wood and soon started splitting and ferrules fell down.
    When I started I was high school student (14-15 yo) as well and all I had was dads electric drill, small block plane (using thick razor blades instead of real iron) and two ordinary chisels (NAREX - its local producer to me and their chisels are not expensive and work well) I believe they were 12 and 8mm. I also had a set of common hosehold tools available like hammer nippers screwdrivers etc. Later I got old thrown away 6 mm chisel that is quite good (doesn't hold edge too long but is super easy to hone). Later I got old worn wooden smoothing plane that I repaired and flattened. I made my first gouge out of plate of steel, hammered it cold over small modelmakers wise till I got smooth curve then heated over gas stove to red and dipped into water. Made handle out of piece of walnut wood, looked good bud never worked well as the edge was not properly hardened (that steel requires higher temps than typical carbon steel). The next gouge I made from butchers knfe sharpener (over 1" wide and 3/16" thick) I just put a grinding cylinder into electric drill and ground from one side till U had nice smooth shallow U shape... The steel is the hardest I've ever held in my hands (when my hand slipped and I cut into steel vise there was no visible nick on the edge) but was hell to sharpen but at least got me started... Making thumbplaned is simple, you start with a block of hardwood and dig the inside with chisel at correct angle for blade I made blade out of broken kitchen knife (long 1/2" wide for cutting cakes so not much work was needed) using just grinding cylinder in drill (the drill was held in small modelmakers wise) carefully not to overheat the steel. I used wedge out oof hard wood and drilled for small steel pin across the plane body to hold the blade and wedeg in place. (if you ggogle for thumbplanes and replace brass for wood, that's exactly it - I left the sides 1/8" thick). My most used thumbplane I poured from epoxy resin into mould made of pieces of veneers. I had to use flat bone (from soup) cap on bottom as the epoxy did wear too much. I made simple spool clamps and some closing clamps out of threaded rod and wshers/wingnuts I made purfling marker out of leftover piece of wood and some bolts and nuts laying around and another piece of blade from that kitchen knife.... I made solid maple banjo resonator with these tools alone, bent the sides in three layers of walnut and used strip of maple veneer on top. I made my first mandolin with these as well. I invested no more than $10 into buying tools - I bought ebony board from LMI but the rest of wood was just given by violinmakers who thought it not worth a violin. In the meantime I spent hours and hours studying literature (no internet back then) preparing drawings and experimenting with repairs of old broken instruments. These same tools worked out well for my first mandolin some 5-6 years later...
    Adrian

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  33. #72
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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Sometimes pawn shops have tools for sale.
    I believe Paul Sellers in one of his vids shows cheap set of chisels (from amaon or ebay) that is quite usable and shows how to sharpen them razor sharp. Have a look at it and find the same brand.
    Some of the cheap sets are realy poor - I was given a set where the chisels were not even heat treated, just mild steel that bends and nicks by just looking at wood, even the handles were not of seasoned wood and soon started splitting and ferrules fell down.
    When I started I was high school student (14-15 yo) as well and all I had was dads electric drill, small block plane (using thick razor blades instead of real iron) and two ordinary chisels (NAREX - its local producer to me and their chisels are not expensive and work well) I believe they were 12 and 8mm. I also had a set of common hosehold tools available like hammer nippers screwdrivers etc. Later I got old thrown away 6 mm chisel that is quite good (doesn't hold edge too long but is super easy to hone). Later I got old worn wooden smoothing plane that I repaired and flattened. I made my first gouge out of plate of steel, hammered it cold over small modelmakers wise till I got smooth curve then heated over gas stove to red and dipped into water. Made handle out of piece of walnut wood, looked good bud never worked well as the edge was not properly hardened (that steel requires higher temps than typical carbon steel). The next gouge I made from butchers knfe sharpener (over 1" wide and 3/16" thick) I just put a grinding cylinder into electric drill and ground from one side till U had nice smooth shallow U shape... The steel is the hardest I've ever held in my hands (when my hand slipped and I cut into steel vise there was no visible nick on the edge) but was hell to sharpen but at least got me started... Making thumbplaned is simple, you start with a block of hardwood and dig the inside with chisel at correct angle for blade I made blade out of broken kitchen knife (long 1/2" wide for cutting cakes so not much work was needed) using just grinding cylinder in drill (the drill was held in small modelmakers wise) carefully not to overheat the steel. I used wedge out oof hard wood and drilled for small steel pin across the plane body to hold the blade and wedeg in place. (if you ggogle for thumbplanes and replace brass for wood, that's exactly it - I left the sides 1/8" thick). My most used thumbplane I poured from epoxy resin into mould made of pieces of veneers. I had to use flat bone (from soup) cap on bottom as the epoxy did wear too much. I made simple spool clamps and some closing clamps out of threaded rod and wshers/wingnuts I made purfling marker out of leftover piece of wood and some bolts and nuts laying around and another piece of blade from that kitchen knife.... I made solid maple banjo resonator with these tools alone, bent the sides in three layers of walnut and used strip of maple veneer on top. I made my first mandolin with these as well. I invested no more than $10 into buying tools - I bought ebony board from LMI but the rest of wood was just given by violinmakers who thought it not worth a violin. In the meantime I spent hours and hours studying literature (no internet back then) preparing drawings and experimenting with repairs of old broken instruments. These same tools worked out well for my first mandolin some 5-6 years later...
    Thanks for letting me know about this. I was under the impression that Stanley chisels and planes would have been good quality. I will do some more research on this.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    So do you all think this would be a waste of money? It looks good to me and has great reviews. The only bad reviews are about it not being sharp, but sharpening it would fix that. And this looks good as well.

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by PaniniWar View Post
    Thanks for letting me know about this. I was under the impression that Stanley chisels and planes would have been good quality. I will do some more research on this.
    My 1920 stanley block plane is great, the new one not so much. The new one by the way was purchased like 30 years ago.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: No Power Tool Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by PaniniWar View Post
    So do you all think this would be a waste of money? It looks good to me and has great reviews. The only bad reviews are about it not being sharp, but sharpening it would fix that.
    The best review said he put them in a vise and bent them, that would tell me they are not hardened. The worst review is most likely accurate. In reading those reviews and ad they said they strike the chisels, you know when you sharpen for this work you don't strike them. If you sharpen not to razor sharp you could strike a chisel, I have never used anything to strike my chisels. I only push them.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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