Peter Coombe Mandolins and Guitars
Sides are first cut to around 3mm on the bandsaw from larger pieces of Myrtle.
Then thicknessed to 2mm on the drum sander.
The first edge is planed
Making sure it is perfectly straight with a straight edge.
Cut to width 1-2mm wider than final width on the bandsaw.
Plane to final width, checking to make sure it is straight with a straight edge.
Heat up the bending pipe
The Myrtle side is dipped in water and bent over the hot bending pipe. This process takes a little practice to get right, it is important not to force the bend or the wood will break. Myrtle can be wet thoroughly, other timbers such as figured Maple should not be wet too much.
Once bent the side is clamped in the mould and left to dry overnight. Some other timber such as Blackwood will need to stay clamped for longer because they have more tendency to spring back. The next day the other side is bent and clamped in the mould.
Now we need to make the head and tailblocks. I use Queensland Maple because it is a local timber so readily available and is reasonably light and very stable. The traditional timber is Mahogany, but is difficult to get in Australia. Here is a plank of Queensland Maple.
The headblock and tailblocks are marked onto the Maple.
Maple is cut to length.
And the head and tailblocks cut out on the bandsaw.
and shaped on the linisher. An oscillating sander would be better because it keeps the sides at 90deg, but I don't have one (no room).
Likewise so with the tailblock.
The sides are cut to length and glued and clamped to the headblock and tailblock in the mold.
Now we need to make some linings. I use either Douglas Fir or King Billy Pine. The traditional timber is boxwood, but it is unobtainable where I live. The timber used for linings is probably one of the least critical timbers of all the woods used to construct a mandolin. I usually make a batch at a time so I have enough linings to last me at least a year.
Here I am using Douglas Fir. 12mm strips of wood are cut (quarter sawn) from a plank of Fir and thicknessed to 10mm on the drum sander.
Here is a batch that will be cut into enough linings to last me a while
The edges are planed and squared off.
The linings are cut on the bandsaw with the table tilted.
Then the wood is planed square again ready for the next cut and the process repeated
So now we have a number of strips.
The bandsaw is set up with a stop so the cuts will not cut right through the strip. Cuts are made at about 10mm intervals with the bandsaw.
The cut face is smoothed on the linisher.
Here we have a small batch of completed linings.
Linings are glued onto the sides and clamped with clothes pegs. Here I have inserted an internal mold to ensure the shape remains symmetrical. Once the glue is dry the sides are now complete.