F5 Mandolin #31 89

Completed December, 2010

(click any of the thumbnails for a higher-resolution photo)


This red spruce topped, flamed maple backed mandolin features ebony headplate and back veneers, gold hardware, celluloid binding, James tailpiece, and a sculpted finger rest. This big-sounding instrument went to a customer in Pittsburgh, the owner of a number of my instruments.

Construction Photos


Construction gets underway with the bending of the maple sides and the cutting of the mahogany blocks. The rim assembly is completed, and the top and back are roughly carved, then refined with planes and scrapers.


The tone bars are glued in place, and the top is glued to the rib assembly. The neck is shaped, the truss rod installed, and the "ears" are glued to the headstock.


Both tap and deflection tuning are utilized to bring this top to the proper thickness, stiffness, and resonant frequency. The dovetail is fitted.


The back is similarly tuned and then glued to the ribs. The headstock overlay is glued to the headstock, and the custom abalone inlay is laid out.


The inlay pieces are cut from abalone and mother-of-pearl blanks and recessed into the overlay. The binding is applied to the headstock. Carbon fiber reinforcing rods are mortised into the fretboard.


The peghead scroll is stiffened with a cross-grain patch. Fret slots are cut, and the back veneer is applied.


Tuning machines are fitted. The fretboard dots, abalone with a brass accent, are installed.


The body binding is installed, and the neck is glued in place.


The fretboard assembly is constructed, and staining begins with a gradual building of each color. The instrument is given a coat of sealer, and the bindings are scraped clean.


The instrument is finished with nitrocellulose lacquer. When it's fully cured, the instrument is buffed out and set up with strings and hardware.


Thanks for watching this project

All content and graphics © Skipper Custom Instruments