Category Archives: Design

New Batch 2014

I'm working on 5 new mandolins right now. Wintergrass is coming up at the end of next month so I've got to stay on task. The Redwood topped mando that I made last year sold, and there have been several requests for others like it and an oval hole model. A woodworking/art school friend, Chris Schambacker gave me some beautiful very wide planks of old redwood he has been hauling around for many years. I ripped them down on my 18" bandsaw and got two tops out of each piece. Nice! I'm making two closely matched instruments out of those pieces. One with my standard "F" holes and one with an oval hole design. Can't wait to get these completed and hear what they sound like. Finally

Gluing solid kerfling

Gluing solid kerfling



Paduk, Ebony and Zeracote Fretboards



5 necks and neck joints ready to go.

the dreary winter cloud cover has settled in, although we really need some snow up in the Cascades to store up our water supply for next summer. 

Carving the Top

I'm working on a new oval hole, two point mandolin prototype and I want everyone to see the process I go through. So I'm shooting video on my iPhone showing my mandolin construction process and sharing it with you as I move along. I don't think of these videos as instructional just a look into my process. There are many techniques that woodworkers and instrument makers use and my why of doing something is by no  means the only way. 

The first installment shows carving an arched mandolin top plate out of a single piece of sitka spruce. I've had this piece for a couple years and I'm finally getting around to using it. I rough out the shape with a good, sharp chisel and then use various power sanders to get the basic curves. A flexible scraper helps finalize the curves with hand sanding along the way. Sorry I didn't get shots of carving the inside and establishing the thicknesses of the top... maybe next time.  

 In the next video I'll glue the top to the ribs.  

Later, Sam