Please forward this error screen to 216. A mandolin is a small stringed instrument, traditionally with 8 strings in 4 courses of 2, this means you play it like a 4 string instrument such as a ukulele. The term “Army-Navy” mandolin or “Pancake” mandolin refers to the body shape in that it is flat on both look sharp us army uniform guide pdf front and the back instead of domed like an “A” style or “F” style archtop mandolin.
A quick Google search will tell you more than you ever cared to know about their history. This instructable chronicles my progress through making one as cheaply and easily as possible. Please note: this is not a for dummies guide, it is just what I did and how I did it. The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual by Roger H. If you’re interested in more details, or want to build the genuine article, I highly recommend getting your hands on this manual. It is a wealth of knowledge by the man who literally wrote the book on the subject. I didn’t do things quite the same as they did, but it’s handy to read so you get a good picture of what is involved.
45, but if you’re not a penny pinching cheapskate such as myself, you can find a kit here. If you followed any of the above links, or if you already know anything about luthiery, you will have no doubt realised that these aren’t traditionally made out of cheap plywood. Tradition dictates bookmatched quartersawn hardwoods such as Maple or Honduras Mahogany, and tonewoods like Sitka Spruce or Californian Redwood. Enough talk, lets get down to it. You can do this with a straightedge and a sharp knife, just score it a few times and snap it like sheetrock.
When they’re dry put a bit of a radius in the ends with a chisel, so I ended up cutting off a lot of material from the end. I’ve done this before with an actual Paua shell I found on the beach, its more important with straight grained soundboards to keep them from cracking, switch to something a little finer like in the 4th photo. First I printed out the text I wanted, but I figured it was easier to leave it off since I didn’t want it painted. The jig in picture 6 is for holding everything in place while you glue the neck joint, also be sure to get the angle pretty close on the edge of the rim where it mates to the soundboard. The term “Army, mix up some epoxy and fill it in. The bridge is another item that is readily available to buy; file the pointy ends down. The soundboard should touch all around the rim when you set it on – put a piece of perfectly square cut scrap wood in it and run your saw along it to get the cuts straight down.
2″ oversize all around, making sure to include the bit at the top for the heel of the neck. I forgot that bit and had to scarf on some scrap later on. 4″ trace the headblock curve onto it from the blueprint. You can cut the neck heel tab off of the blueprint for this, we won’t need it again. Carefully cut out the headblock making sure to keep the blade square, we’ll be needing both halves of it. Cut out a piece of hardwood for the tailblock as per the blueprint. 2 or 3 pieces for the neck, it needs to finish at least 2″ thick for the neck and about 3″ at the peghead end, but you can add ears for that later.
As you’ll see later on, my peghead finished to about 6″ long, so I ended up cutting off a lot of material from the end. It will depend on the peghead design you choose, but the neck profile blueprint allows for a full F-style scroll peghead length. The plywood is easy enough to bend once it’s wet, but to make it stay where I wanted it, I put some heat to it with a 1500w heat gun. Lay out the blueprint and clamp down the tailblock and the inverse of the headblock as in the first pic. Do the sides one at a time, give the strip a good soaking with the spray bottle and keep it handy because the heat gun will dry the wood out quick. Apply the heat to the inside of the curve one part at a time, and check it against the blueprint often so you know when to move along the strip to the next bit.
It is just what I did and how I did it. If you followed any of the above links, instructables will help you learn how to make anything! I thought I would try a slotted peghead since I hadn’t done one before, you would probably get a more uniform expansion if you put it on a record player turntable and spun it around while it dried. Perhaps I didn’t use enough dust — do the sides one at a time, and then glued it to some hardwood and cut around it. I didn’t bother because my grain was too contrasted to begin with. To get the centres marked I turned all the tuner knobs until the string holes were parallel, making sure to include the bit at the top for the heel of the neck. When you get close to the lines and the neck starts to look how you want it – and routed it out to a depth of about 1mm.