Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bowl-bottomed Mandolin

The challenge for our March 2007 Badger Woodturners' meeting was to create a musical instrument incorporating wood turning. I had turned a maple bowl from green wood, which had taken on a slightly oval but symmetrical shape as it dried, and decided to try using it as the base for constructing a mandolin. I consulted with a local guitar store, researched some books on building musical instruments, obtained some parts, and went to work. To simplify this first project, I decided to go with only four strings instead of the typical eight. I did not have enough time to send away for fret wire, so the fingerboard is currently fretless. (I hope to change that in the near future.) The resulting instrument is pictured below. It actually sounds pretty good, although it is very difficult to finger chords without frets (at least for me). And, I was fortunate enough to win the March challenge!