Chris Devine's Mandolin Project
The "Hand carving" of the top is one of the enjoyable tasks
of this build.
And I have all the curly wood shavings too. (Although, I
found out they also work great for starting the charcoal for cookouts!)
On to the Neck.. I sliced a thin veneer and then the blank in half
in order to accommodate layers of Brazilian cherry for the neck laminate. It is widely known that these sandwiched
layers add stability and strength to the neck assembly.
With the laminates in place, I cut the extra from behind the
neck to be later used to add the width (wings) to the head stock. This way, the wood will match and you would never know
it was several pieces of wood making up the head stock.
About the Back.. Originally, I was thinking I'd make
a flat back. This would have been the simplest solution but maybe not a good match for the arched top. My intuition
tells me that a semi vaulted back (similar to an arch back) may work better with the arched top sonically,
and also provide more stability to the
instrument. But, we will see how it goes as I get into it..
By the way, these are book matched strips of quilted, birds-eye
maple with alternating strips of Bubinga (African Rosewood). It should look killer under finish!
I pre-bend each strip starting with the middle with heat and water,
then glued and
clamped them edge to edge until I had the whole back valt shape.
I found I had to sand the edges a bit so they joined
Here is the Valt back, trimmed and rough sanded ready
to be fine tuned to maximize its sonic potencial.
By the way, I did bring this as a "show and tell" item
to the last New England Luthiers Group meeting and the general consensus was that this vault-back should
work every bit as good as a carved arch-back plate. It would seem that my intuition is working in my
favor, so far.
Although, I still have to "fit" this turtle shell shaped
back to a rim, and that could be a challenge.
On side bending. The curly maple is a tough wood to bend
as it wants to crack at every curl. I desided It was best to build a mold to help hold the sides into
the intended design shape.
Bending the sides with heat and water, I match them up to
a drawn outline, trim, and then they go into the mold.
It was necessary to add a few clamps and shims at odd
angles to get the front block to sit right.
Cutting a wedge opening for the tail graft.
The tail graft is in.
Gluing liners to the top rim.
After the braces are carved and tuned, the top and sides are finally
A curved and trimed fret wire ready to install.
Wade Sylvester Guitars