I've just started carving the soundboard for Jonathan’s
mandocello and here’s a description of the process so far.
Carved top soundboards come in the shape of chunky wedges
and the first thing is to plane one surface of each piece completely flat.
With one flat surface, the join can then be tackled, however
before I started to shoot the joint, I cut two slices of the spruce away, to
use later as braces.
The join in a carved top soundboard has to be perfect all the
way through and it takes a lot of time and skill to achieve this when working solely
with hand tools.
Once the joint has been glued, the back surface has to be
trued-up and the ‘board taken down to the required thickness and then the shape
can be cut out.
Now we look at the profile of the soundboard. After much
thought, design and planning, the first wood is removed and this will be a flat
area to which the fretboard will eventually be glued.
Then I use the Wagner Safe-T-planner! A tool not for the
faint-hearted, but very effective at generating a rebate around the edge of the
The rebate gives you a
target to aim for once you start shaping the profile. First I like to work
along the centre line and all of the shaping is done with a selection of
Wood is gradually taken away until the profile fits the template.
this profile shaped, I then start working at 90 degrees to the centre line.
Labels: 10-string mandocello, Building the Mandocello, carved top, Luthier