Saturday, January 19, 2002

Mandolin #1: Preparing the Rim

What I quickly realized from the Don MacRostie video is that that there are many many steps involved in building a mandolin. This realization meant a couple things to me. First, there's always something simple to do so if you're not up for something complicated, find something easier and bang it out. And second, that each time you do one thing, you're going to be better and/or more confident on the next thing. Well, thusly empowered, I undertook what I thought was the most simple step possible.

Modified Clothespin Lining Clamps
Having bought a kit with a pre-assembled rim, the first real step on the kit seemed to be gluing the lining in. The lining provides additional gluing surface for the top and back and may have some sound transmission characteristics. In order to clamp the lining to the rim for gluing, the MacRostie video suggests modifying clothes pins to accept the lining on one side and to lay flat on the outside of the rim on the other. This seemed like a great excuse for me to get out my hardware store cheapo woodcarving chisel set and actually dig into some wood. Getting better with each one, after thirty or so I was ready to glue the lining in.

Modified clothespins  

Gluing in the Lining
The kit comes with pre-made "kerfed" lining which basically a triangular strip of wood with regularly spaced cuts or "kerfs" that allow it to be bent around the tight curves on the inside of a mandolin. The lining is mitred, or cut at an angle, where it meets the mahogany blocks on the inside of the rim. Lining is glued in at the top and bottom of the rim to prepare for the top and the back.

Clamping the lining Clamping the lining 2 Clamping the lining 3

Leveling the Lining
Once the lining is glued in place, it is leveled with sandpaper stuck to a flat board long enough to span the rim. I used 60 and 80 grit paper. A trick suggested in the MacRostie video is to mark the top of the rim with pencil and sand the lining down until the pencil begins to be sanded away.

Leveling the lining Leveled lining Leveling the lining 2

Ah, now that feels like progress. As small of a little task as that was, there is no doubt at this point that I've started.

Body with lining

Index of Project


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