Construction

Roughing the neck

Mark outline of neck
Firstly a rough shape of the neck is marked out on a plank of Queensland Maple.  The plank selected is flat sawn so that the growth lines will be vertical or close to vertical in the finished neck.  I use Queensland Maple because it is a local species and readily available and is moderately light and very stable.  Other timbers of course can be used and I have also used Tasmanian Blackwood, Queensland Walnut, Tasmanian Myrtle, Jarrah and Ash.

Cut out neck blank
The neck is cut from the plank on the bandsaw.  Usually I do a number of necks at the same time.  Here you can see 4 mandolin necks marked out on the plank.

Prepare headstock blank
The headstock is planed

Prepare neck sides
and one side of the neck is planed flat.

Cut neck black to width
The plank is a bit too thick so the neck is narrowed on the bandsaw.  The planed surface goes against the fence of the bandsaw.  If it is left too wide, the wings will be too thin and it is possible the glue line would be visible from the side, which is something we don't want.

Neck blanks
Here we have a batch of neck blanks ready to be routed

Route slot
The groove for the carbon fibre rod is routed on the routing table.

Slot done
Here the slot has been routed.

Ready to store
Here the neck blank is ready for storage or for gluing the wings.

Glue wings
Here the wings are clamped and glued to the rough sawn neck

Plane the headstock
Once the glue is dry the upper side of the headstock is planed flat

Sand the headstock flat
and sanded completely flat on the linisher.

Thickness the headstock veneer
I get Ebony headstock veneers from Luthiers Mercantile, but you can cut your own if you have big enough pieces of Ebony.  They come just a bit thick for mandolins so I thin them down a bit on the drum sander.

Mark the veneer
The headstock veneers are a bit too long so need to be cut to size.  Here I am marking to size.

Cut the veneer to size
Cutting to size on the bandsaw.

Angle on end of veneer
One end of the Ebony headstock veneer is sanded to an angle so it will be parallel with the end of the fingerboard when installed.  The nut will fit in between the end of the fingerboard and this end.

Make sure is square
This end must be square.

Sand under side of the headstock
Here I am rough sanding the bottom surface of the headstock.

Drill locating holes
Now we prepare the Ebony headstock overlay ready for gluing.  First drill 4 holes.  These will be used to position the Ebony and to stop it sliding around when it is clamped.

Hammer a nail
Hammer a small nail through the 4 holes into the headstock.

Trim the nail
Snip off the nail heads.

Fit the veneer
Dry fit the veneer.  Here we are using a black stained Maple veneer followed by a Maple veneer, then the Ebony.

Trim the veneer
Trim the ends of the veneer to size.

Apply glue
Apply glue

Spread glue
and spread out the glue.

Apply glue on black veneer
Press on the black veneer, apply glue, and spread out the glue.

Apply glue on white veneer
Press on the Maple veneer, apply glue, and spread out the glue.

Fit Ebony veneer
Press on the Ebony

Apply paper
Apply a piece of paper to make sure when clamped it does not stick.  Sometimes glue will seep out of the nail holes.

Clamp
And clamp.  I use a hefty piece of Jarrah on the upper side of the headstock to make sure everything is perfectly flat.

Glue is dry
24hrs later the glue is dry.

Trim excess veneer
Trim off the veneer at the nut position with a sharp chisel and it is now ready for the dovetail joint.
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