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Thread: Mandolinetto Build (Bracing?)

  1. #1

    Default Mandolinetto Build (Bracing?)

    I'm a ukulele builder trying to get into making mandolins, and as I'm in the process of finishing a ukulele, and amidst quarantine, I needed a new project.

    Yesterday I made a mold based off of a Howe-Orme mandolinetto, I plan on making it a flattop, unless anyone knows a simple way to make the bulged/arched top.

    I've got a spruce top cut and joined. A one piece back of Brazilian ebony and sides tapered from 2.75" - 2.5"

    I haven't a clue about the top/back/side thickness, I'm thinking 0.100" for the top and 0.080" for the back and sides?

    I'm also wondering what to do for bracing, I'm guessing two transverse for the back. But for the top I could do 3 transverse, x-braces, or v-bracing. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Canberra, Australia

    Default Re: Mandolinetto Build (Bracing?)

    I would suggest .120" for the soundboard and .080" for the sides and maybe a little thicker for the back. Any of your ideas for the soundboard bracing will work. Arch the braces to they are 1/8" higher or a little more in the middle and keep the neck angle in line with the arch of the soundboard. The bridge should end up 3/8"or so high. Should be a fun project. Just remember you have a lot more string tension on a mandolin than a ukulele and aim for some light gauge strings.


  3. #3

    Default Re: Mandolinetto Build (Bracing?)

    Thanks, the information about the braces will really help, I'm not sure about the Brazilian ebony yet, I got them sanded down to 0.080" and they do not bend easily at all. I'm gonna try soaking them before completely giving up. I've got maple, cherry, and mahogany, so either way the show will go on.

    I might have to buy your mandolin book, I really enjoy your ukulele book, so I know it'll be a good purchase.

    Thanks Again

  4. #4

    Default Re: Mandolinetto Build (Bracing?)

    Well the Brazilian Ebony sides didn't make it. It would have been a cool look, but they bent and splintered like glass, if I got it down to 0.060" it probably would have bent fine.

    So I grabbed a piece of cherry I had, enough to get a one piece back and both sides from the same piece. I got everything thicknessed, these new sides to 0.080", the back to 0.100" and the top a little thicker.

    I'm not a huge fan of oval soundholes, or round ones on mandolins, so I went for something in between.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Mandolinetto Build (Bracing?)

    Here's the bracing I've decided on. I'm happy with how stiff the top feels. I'm certain it will be able to withstand the string tension, and I'm hoping it'll sound good too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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