Redwood Burl Mando

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GrooverMcTube, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Hi all. Hope this is the appropriate forum for this.

    Here's the deal: I went over to visit a buddy I hadn't seen in awhile, and he asks me if I remember the piece of redwood burl he has that I always said had a guitar in it? So he puts it in my hands and I start feeling it up, and indeed I do believe there is an instrument in there. Here's a pic:

    WIN_20161023_08_41_01_Pro (2).jpg

    So he gives me the piece of wood and I tell him I'll make some kind of a guitar out of it. After taking a belt sander to the back side (it was full of chain saw marks) I ended up with a piece of wood that has sort of a reverse belly cut, being about 1 5/8" at the top where my thumb is and 1 1/8" at the bottom where my finger is.

    I have another buddy at work who is a CNC machinist, who has a CNC router at home. He planed the face for me and will route the cutout for the neck pocket with the CNC router.

    When I got the piece back from being face-planed, I took some measurements and realized it was a bit small for a guitar, but would probably work nicely as a mandolin (regardless of the fact I've never played one). So I ordered up a neck and all of the guts from moongazer music. I went with a birdseye maple fretboard on a curly maple neck.

    So my question to the luthiers on this forum is for advice on finishing. Materials and the order work needs to be done.

    There are a couple of spots in knots that will need to be filled (maybe 1/8" max thickness). Seems some kind of epoxy would be in order - or maybe something else? There are also a couple of small cracks that I would like to arrest before they grow on my. CA?

    Should I finish before I route the neck pocket and electronics? Or after?

    I have no experience building an instrument so I'm relying on you folks for some ideas and guidance.

    Here's a pic with a 6" ruler for reference:


    There is sort of a natural singlecut where my fingers are in the second photo, which is where I will route the neck pocket. I think the edges of this are going to make this a really unique instrument.

  2. So I received the neck. Using a clamp in lieu of having a neck pocket routed, here is approximately how this is going to look:


    At this point I believe I will try Tru-Oil on the neck. Maybe epoxy the fretboard? Any input would be appreciated...
    ReasonablyHappy and Freekmagnet like this.
  3. Looks like it will be cool. Almost like an airline map guitar outline. Any idea what pickup(s) you are going to use?

  4. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    That wood is neat! Sub'd.
  5. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    I am a long time mandolin picker and member of
    You oughta post your idea on the luthier forums over there cause you're bound to get a lot of useful advice from some serious world experts.

    I own a couple of electric mandolins and occasionally have a lot of fun with them.
    I also play a lot of bluegrass and jazz mandolin.

    As of late (for about the past 5 years) I've been gigging a ton of double bass and electric bass gigs but the mandolin looms large in my head and heart.

    Here's a snap of my Andrew Jerman, Custom 5 string EMando:


    Interestingly - in bluegrass - the bass mostly mines the downbeats and the mandolin the offbeats - so I got em both covered....
    wraub, GrooverMcTube and Remyd like this.
  6. That piece of wood reminds me of PR...

    HaphAsSard likes this.
  7. Pickup will be a humbucker: Moongazer MG4. Theoretically coil-tappable.
    RBS_Johnson likes this.
  8. Kelly robinson

    Kelly robinson

    Dec 30, 2014
    beautiful piece of wood - in your mock up with the neck clamped on - it looks like you may run into trouble locating the bridge far enough back on your body to be able to intonate properly - hopefully I am way off in this assumption but wanted to make sure you had checked for that - Kelly
  9. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Did this one ever get off the bench?
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