Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fitting a mandolin neck... and more!

 Well, I’ve just realised that it’s been a couple of weeks since the last post! This week the bridge went on to John’s koa guitar and it has been strung up. What I do nowadays, is string up an instrument and get the action and intonation just about right and then leave it for a few days. During this period the instrument will move under the tension of the strings and once it’s in equilibrium, the final fettling is done. If the instrument does not move once it’s under tension for the first time, you’ve built it too heavy!
Whilst waiting for the polish to harden, there have been other things going on. I thought that as I’ve recently described the process of fitting a guitar neck, I’d do the same with a mandolin for you.
Apologies, I’ve gone a bit arty here-
The end of the body is completely flattened and then I route a mortise into the body. You can see how clean and accurate it is- the rule here is that this part of the joint isn’t touched- all the adjustment is done on the tenon.

After some careful marking out the tenon is roughly cut.

Then comes the fine fitting....

You have to get the neck aligned along the centre of the body, the neck has to slope backwards to get the correct height of strings above the soundboard and also you don’t want any gaps between the body and the neck!

Once you’re happy, the neck can be glued in. Again, I don’t use clamps, just a tight joint and gravity.

Remember all that abalone? Well here’s one of the “N”s in a cocobolo head overlay- this is for Sean’s twin-point mandolin as you can see he is going for my F style head. 

 This little chap has been appearing in our garden and has been quite a distraction. I keep watching him munching away at daisies out of the workshop window!

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Blogger Wood With Strings said...

Gary, I really struggle taking decent photographs of my processes - your black and white shots are particularly good.

12:39 am  
Blogger Michael J King said...

Beautiful fastidious work as always, impressive.
I would love to see how you brace your mandolin tops and your philosophy on them.(future blog/video request!) (making a mandolin for myself later this year, which is probably partly due to hearing yours on youtube and wanting to make one and learn to play!) best wishes

11:19 pm  

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