Construction

Fingerboard

Marking
Firstly the outline of the fingerboard is marked on the blank from a fingerboard template

Cut out
I buy my fingerboards already slotted from Randy Allen.  First they need to be trimmed to size.  Cut one end

Cut end
Then the other end.

Planing
Plane the fingerboard edges to shape.

Mark center
Mark down the centre of the fingerboard.

All marked
View of centreline.

Mark dot position
Mark the position of the dots.

Punch mark
Punch a hole where the dot positions have been marked.  This is to prevent the drill bit from wandering.

Drilling
Drill out the holes for the dots on the drill press.

Side dot marker positions
Mark position of the side dots with a sharp point.

Side drilling
Drilling the holes for the side dots.

All ready
Here everything is ready for gluing.  Fresh epoxy is mixed up with ebony dust to make up the glue.  The side dots are made from white plastic rods.  I use Paua Abalone for the marker dots.

Glue dots
Here I am gluing the dots with a toothpick.

Glue side dots
Here I am gluing a side dot in (plastic rod).

Trim side dots
Trim the plastic rod.

Wait for glue to cure
Now we wait for the epoxy to set.  I use the high strength epoxy, after a dot came loose after gluing with the 5 minute epoxy, I will never use the 5 min stuff again.

Sand the dots level
After the epoxy has set, the fingerboard is sanded flat (or to a radius) on the linisher.

Trim side dots
The side dots are trimmed with a chisel.

Sand side dots
And then sanded flat on the linisher.

Sand final radius
Here the fingerboard is radiused and I am sanding the radius to the final shape.

Sand the back
The back of the fingerboard is sanded flat.

Check the top is straight
The top is checked for straightness

Check the back is straight
The back is also checked for straightness.

Fine sanding
As final preparation for fretting the fingerboard is sanded with 1200 wet/dry sandpaper.

Ready for fretting
Now we are ready for fretting.

File fret slots
First the fret slots are lightly filed with a triangular file

Fetting
Frets are hammered in the slots with a dead blow hammer while the fingerboard is on a solid base (in this case my sawbench).

Nip fret end
Each fret in turn is nipped to length as it is hammered in.

Frets all in
Frets are now all in and ready for dressing.

Sand fret ends
The fret ends are sanded level with the side of the fingerboard and rounded off with the finest sanding belt I have.

Fill fret slot ends
The slot ends are filled with melted lacquer with a soldering iron and then sanded flat on the linisher.

Round the fret ends
Sanding the ends of the frets leaves sharp edges which are rounded off with a fretting file.

Polish fret ends
Final step is to polish off the fret ends with 1200 wet/dry sandpaper.

Glue fingerboard
And then glue the fingerboard to the mandolin.  A few steps have been missed out here because I forgot to take the photographs.
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