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A Look Into the Workshop

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= Mandonator™ Serial #6 ===

This instrument was commissioned by Warren.


The options he chose are:

  • Four strings with standard 13.875" mandolin scale
  • Mahogany back and sides with Camatillo rosewood binding
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Ebony headstock veneer with white mother-of-pearl fleur-de-lis inlay
  • White mother-of-pearl fingerboard and headstock inlays
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • Gotoh 510 Mini tuners
  • Cast James tailpiece
  • Flat fingerboard


Standard features include:

  • Spherically arched back
  • Spider bridge and resonator cone
  • Cutaway
  • Traditional F-shaped soundhole
  • Maple saddle
  • Bone nut


Mandonator 6 rims and uncut back

The sides have been joined to the endblocks, and the linings and side braces are in place. The linings are not yet notched for the back braces. The back has been arched and the braces have been glued in. The rims will be flattened on top and the top will be glued in soon. It'll be braced, the resonator opening and F-holes will be cut and the top trimmed before the back is glued on.

Mandonator 6 body before the binding installed

Here the back has been attached and trimmed. Next step will be to route the binding ledge. Then bend the binding, glue it in, and scrape it flush.

Mandonator 6 back view before binding installed

The back looks really nice! You can see the mitered inlay at the cutaway/shoulder joint.

3 neck blanks

Here are the three neck blanks I'm going to be working on again soon. I'll work on them sequentially. Pretty obvious which is which. Each person wanted a very different version of the neck, so I need to treat them separately in order not to confuse myself.

3 fingerboards

And here are the fingerboards. Left, Nokleberg (white MoP dots); middle, Hansen (abalone dots); right, Bond white MoP squares). There are three inlays missing from David Hansen's fingerboard. I must place an order for those dots right away! Hah! I thought I had enough. The chalk scores on Alan Bond's fingerboard are to remind me where to drill. Since the inlays are square, I will have to figure out what size drill to use, then chisel away the points of the squares.

Mandonator 5 neck blank, body, and fingerboard

01/19/10. The body is mostly assembled. The back is on and the binding ledge cut and binding installed. Its next operation will to have the mortise cut and drilled for the neck attachment. The fingerboard is ready for frets, and the neck blank has its graphite truss rod installed and is ready for its tenon to be cut.

Mandonator 6 almost finished fingerboard, neck, and body

Most of the frets have been installed in the fretboard, and the ends trimmed. The fretboard will next be glued to the neck. Then the fret ends will be shaped and the frets leveled, crowned, and polished. The neck attachment joint is completed, and it's starting to look like its ultimate self.

 Mandonator 6 headstock with inlay

Here's a close-up of the mother of pearl fleur-di-lis and my logo inlays.

Mandonaotor 6, strung, in the white

4/5/10. Here's Warren's Mandonator™ – strung and playable, but still in the "white". It's nearly ready for its finish to be applied. Warren plans to come to my shop for a neck fitting later this week, and then it's off to Santa Cruz to have Addam Stark apply the gloss lacquer finish.


Mandonatorâ„¢ 6 has been completed! You can see photos of the finished instrument on its Gallery page.

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