Friday, July 28, 2006

Busy weekend

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I accomplished (and learned) a lot this weeekend. First I fitted the neck. It took some sanding on both sides of the neck joint to get the neck to drop in the slot all the way. One very important thing I learned- DO NOT use too much force when fitting the neck. Yes, it is supposed to fit snug, knowing how snug I'm sure will come with experience. I heard a sickening CRACK, but when I looked, there were no visible cracks and I think it was just an early warning that I needed to remove some more wood. Once I got the neck joint to fit, I measured the neck alignment to center. It was off to one side by about 1/4". I was very timid about trying to fix this, and posted on the Cafe. I got some guidance from "Sunburst", and realized that I was going to have to just dive in and do it. I removed some wood from one side, which made room for the neck to go to the correct angle, but it wouldn't stay there obviously. I glued in a shim and sanded it down so the neck would fit in the slot again, and the neck looked to be aligned perfectly. Next was checking the neck angle. A very simple way is the way Don MacRostie explains in the Stew-Mac videos. Just put a straight edge over the fretboard and frets, and set the bridge in place. It should meet the bridge approximately 7/64" from the top. This setting is according to Don's preferred action, so obviously there will be some trial and error involved with getting the action you want. Fortunately I was pretty close already and didn't have to adjust the neck angle.

I attempted to carve a nice design into the top of the headstock, but I quickly realized how tough a thing this is to do for a newbie with only a jeweler's saw and a flush cut saw. I ended up with a little bit of a mess, so I just cut it level and rounded the corners. A little disappointing, yes... but not the end of the world. I glued the lining in the sides to give the back a wider gluing surface, in preparation for gluing the back on. Most mandolins have a kerfed lining, this one just has a piece of wood the same width as the sides. The trick was getting the lining level with the sides.

After I glued the neck joint in, I was ready to attach the back. I test clamped it, and then glued and clamped it on. I used 15 assorted clamps in all, and while I could've used a few more, I think they did the job. After I removed the clamps the next day, I noticed that there are a few spots where the sides don't quite touch the back, I suspect because of some high spots in the lining. We're talking about a very miniscule gap here. I suspect that once I cut the back to shape and cut the binding channel, this gap won't even be noticeable. I'll know soon enough if this causes any structural problems.


Post a Comment

<< Home