What You’ll Need

The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual includes a chapter on the tools and materials you’ll need to build an instrument from scratch.

However, if you choose to build a mandolin from one of our kits, here’s a basic list of the tools and materials you’ll need (basically, all parts are ready for sanding).

Mandolin parts:

  • [  ] Tuning machines, nickel- or gold-plated*
  • [  ] Tailpiece, nickel-or gold-plated*
  • [  ] Fretwire (several size selections available)
  • [  ] Mother-of-pearl pieces (for inlay)
  • [  ] Case (shaped, or oblong)
  • [  ] Strap

Personal aides:

  • [  ] Dust mask(s)
  • [  ] Eye protection (glasses)
  • [  ] Thin rubber or vinyl gloves (for staining)

Tools:

  • [  ] Sandpaper 200 to 300 grit
  • [  ] Wet-or-dry sandpaper 320- and 400-grit
  • [  ] Steel wool, “000″ grade
  • [  ] Rags, old towels (to cover table)
  • [  ] Single-edge razor blades
  • [  ] Access to band saw (unless you’d like us to prepare neck joint*)
  • [  ] Access to drill press (unless you’d like us to drill peghead holes*)
  • [  ] Access to spray equipment (with adequate ventilation)
  • [  ] 3″ C-clamps
  • [  ] Leather “cauls” (pieces of leather for under clamps)
  • [  ] Dremel or similar tool with router base (for inlays)
  • [  ] Small hammer (for inlaying frets)
  • [  ] Pot of boiling water, or heat gun (hair dryer will do)
  • [  ] Jeweler’s saw blades (available at most hobby shops)
  • [  ] Wood carver’s chisels (to do detail carving around scrolls)

Fixtures:

  • [  ] Body fixture to hold the rim during construction*
  • [  ] Neck fixture to hold neck when preparing dovetail**

Misc. materials:

  • [  ] Masking tape
  • [  ] Titebond® Cement
  • [  ] Duco® Cement
  • [  ] Feibings® leather dies (brown, dark brown, yellow, chocolate, black – or other colors of your choice)
  • [  ] Lacquer thinner
  • [  ] Sherwin Williams T75C16 clear hi-gloss lacquer (or similar)

* Should you choose to purchase these items or services from us, they are listed in our Online Store.

** We can cut dovetail or “V” joint as option. See “Neck Services.”

For additional information about what you might need, please don’t hesitate to direct your questions to us at: email us or call  805.365.7111.