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Thread: Sapele back plate thickness

  1. #1
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    Default Sapele back plate thickness

    What would be suitable thickness for a sapele back plate?
    I'm building an A model F hole, spruce top and sapele back and neck. I've been following the Siminiff book along with the usual graduation maps for the top. Can I use the suggested maple back thicknesses? I'm not looking for tone manipulation details, just some rough values so I don't go wildly wrong. It's my first scratch build.

  2. #2
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Canberra, Australia
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    Default Re: Sapele back plate thickness

    Sapele is not a commonly used wood for carved mandolins these days, though it was used earlier last century a lot more. Sapele is likely to be a bit lighter than maple so it might be better a little thicker than maple. You can't do too much damage by carving it to around 4.5- 5mm in the middle down to 3mm in the recurve. You can always scrape a little more away once assembled to see if it improves the sound. Other opinions may vary.

    Cheers

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Sapele back plate thickness

    Thanks Graham, that's helpful. Yes, I realised maple is the go-to wood choice nowadays, but i found a 2 metre piece of sapele 150 x 40mm being thrown away. It's going to be my go to wood for quite a while.

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