Construction

Riser block and neck

Riser block blank
Here is how the riser block starts out, as a quarter sawn piece of Maple that has been cut to size on the bandsaw.  A good fit is achieved by sanding it flat on the linisher and,

Sand blank square
sanding the end to 90deg, or close to, so the end fits to the end of the soundboard.

Mark out block
Marking out the shape.

Cut the dovetail
Cut to shape on the bandsaw, and then sand the curves smooth on the linisher.

Cut the cross piece
Now I prepare the cross piece.  I use Ebony.  Here I am cutting a strip of Ebony that has been pre-thicknessed on the drum sander.

Mark cross piece
Mark the Ebony strip.

Shape the cross piece
Shape it on the linisher.

Dry fit riser block
Dry fit the riser block and the Ebony strip.  Looks good so now is ready for gluing.

Apply glue
Apply glue

Clamp riser block
and clamp.  Wait for the glue to dry.

Shape riser block
Once the glue is dry the riser block is shaped with chisels.  Make sure they are sharp.

Shape tje dovetail
Shaping the dovetail.  During this process the neck is fitted and checked for fit and straightness.  Note how the corners have been rounded to stop the riser block from splitting.

Dry fit
Dry fit the neck, looks good.

Sand down riser block
Now the riser block is sanded down so it is just proud of the soundboard.

Mark fingerboard position
Mark out the position of the fingerboard.  This may need to be done a few times as the riser block is shaped.  The aim is to make sure the base for the fingerboard is kept flat.

Plane riser block
Now plane the riser block flush with the soundboard.

Planing riser block
Also shape the sides of the riser block and soundboard with a small finger plane.

Check straightness
Checking all is flat and straight.  Final shaping can be done with a sandpaper block.

Dry fit again
Dry fit the neck again.

Check neck angle
Check the neck angle and straightness of the neck.

Check neck is straight
Neck looks straight, as referenced from the centre join of the top.  Now ready to glue the neck on.

Apply glue to dovetail
Apply glue to the dovetail join.

Shim
Glue the neck on.  In this case the join required a small shim.  Don't be afraid to use a shim.  Is far better to use a shim and get the neck join tight and straight instead of crooked with no shim.

Neck glued on
Finished.  Glue dried and ready for the next step, gluing the back on.  It is starting to look like a mandolin now.
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