Thursday, April 8, 2010

Octave Mandolin Build, Part 3

The Sides and End Piece
The sides for Kawalek's kit came pre-bent to shape. I sanded them with 80 and 120 grit paper before assembling them. I also sanded the end block using the same paper. In the picture below you will also see a piece of cardboard covered with wax paper. I use this when clamping the block, as it controls glue squeeze-out getting on the clamps.

Be sure to mark a centerline on the block before clamping the sides to it. Here is what it looks like clamped up from two different angles. You will notice the green straw in the lower picture. I cut an angle on it and use it to remove glue that squeezes out.

When the block and sides have had adequate time to dry I unclamped them and put them in vice, in order to mark out the end piece and fit it. N.B., try not to get the sides clamped in the vice, but just the block.

To make the tail piece, I used off-cuts from the Redwood soundboard top. I found one that had nice grain lines and marked out an angled line on it, long enough to extend past the top and bottom of the side by at least 1". It was then cut on the band saw. After it was cut, I sanded the two pieces together on a sanding block, in order to get the edges the same. Once sanded, I flipped one piece over, and put the two together to get a harringbone pattern (I learned this technique watching Frank Finocchio's excellent video, 'Acoustic Guitar Making'. I can't recommend these DVDs highly enough). I glued them together with CA (aka, Superglue), and then sanded them with a sanding block.

Sanded, the piece looks like this.

I then marked the shape I wanted on the sides where they join at the end block. I cut the triangle-type shape out with a Japanese pull saw, using a metal straight edge as a guide. Be sure to just cut through to the end block. Try not to cut into it. Then simply chisel out the piece, and clean out any excess glue.

When I got it looking the way I wanted, I then cut the end piece to fit.

I then added two strips of white-black-white purfling to each side. Once I got it fitting properly, I glued it in with CA. I clipped off the excess purfling, cut the end piece to size using the pull saw, and sanded it.

Here is what the final end piece looks like:

In the next entry I will talk about gluing up the neck block and the kerfing.

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