Working Method

The top and back plates are joined with a No. 7 Jointer Plane. This method produces a suction fit when the two surfaces are glued with hot hide glue and rubbed together, creating a seamless joint.

The ribs are shaped using a hot bending iron and glued to mahogany internal blocks.  Basswood kerfed linings are installed to increase the gluing surface for the top and back plates.

The top and back plates are rough carved using a duplicating router, followed by hand carving with a gouge, small plane, and finished smooth with a scraper.

The tone bars are fit to the top using chalk and a small flat bottom finger plane.  Cleats are temporarily glued to the top to establish the location for the tone bar.  This method insures that the bar is placed in the same location for fitting and gluing.

The neck truss rod slot is cut using a table saw.  The resulting slot varies in depth matching the bend of the truss rod.  The compression truss rod is custom-made from 5/32 inch diameter steel rod.  Threads are cut on each end of the rod to accept the anchor and adjustment nut.  The anchor nut is welded to the rod and heat shrink tubing is installed.  The truss rod slot is fitted with a maple filler strip glued above the rod using hot hide glue.

The neck is fit to the body using a traditional dovetail joint.  The initial cuts are made on the band saw and then the dovetail joint is fit by hand.

The instrument is hand stained and varnished.  The unique character of hand applied stain, combined with the luster of spirit varnish and French polish, gives the Harris Mandolin a distinct vintage style.