With the mandola safely with Peter and the French polishing
on the mandocello well underway, it’s time to get cracking with Roland’s double
commission. I’m making him a Standard Plus mandolin and a rather interesting
guitar. Rather than trying to describe the guitar here and now, I'll let you see it
evolve over the coming weeks!
Below you can see the process of making the matching pearl
dot and diamond rosettes; as you’ll see, the mandolin has a red spruce top and
the guitar, cedar.
The groove for the rosette is routed and the purflings are
glued in place. I made up these tiny spring bronze clips to hold the
purflings in place whilst the glue dries.
What I like to think of as the ugly duckling stage……..
And the beautiful swans!
The neck blanks have been made; the mandolin’s from sapele
and the guitar’s from Honduras cedar. The mandolin’s head is fairly
straightforward to make and but the guitar has a slotted head which takes far
longer. As the guitar is nylon strung and as there will only be four strings, we’ve decided to use Schertler individual tuners. These are really lovely
tuners and as I’ve not used them before, a bit of design work and prototyping was
And then on to the real thing. The best way to cut slots in a head is with a
router, using a template and template cutter.
It’s a good idea to remove most of the waste with a drill;
with a template cutter you have to route to the full depth in one hit so you
don’t want to overload it.
Then some fine hand work to cut the ramps…
Although I wanted the heads to kind of match I also wanted
the guitar’s to look more “classicalesque” hence a little detail at the corners (you'll have to zoom in to see it!).
The back and sides of the mandolin are Pau Ferro. I’ve not
used this wood before, but it has all the right properties and a tap tone
similar to cocobolo.
The sides were bent with some trepidation; having bent
cocobolo and Honduras rosewood, I know what a swine some of these South
American woods can be to bend. However, the pau ferro was so compliant; as easy
And here's the tail block being glued in place; as the tailpiece is screwed to the tailblock, I like to use plywood thus eliminating any risks of splits.
Last but not least two very nice backs.
Labels: Gary Nava handmade guitars and mandolins