Donald A. Fortune
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  • Dallas,NC
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Donald A. Fortune's Discussions

holiday season

Started Nov 28, 2015

6 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Andrew Dec 25, 2014.

a good idea??`
9 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by David Farmer Aug 28, 2014.


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Donald A. Fortune's Blog

Custom mandolin

I have been designing a mandolin and I finally got up the nerve to try to make it. It will be tuned one octave lower than the common mandolin, with a classical size body and 14 frets to the body, with a 25.5 in scale. The whole thing will be made of mahogany, top,sides,back and neck. The top and back will be a laminated wood (2.5 MM) that I use for a hollow body electric that I make, and I must admit that this material has a nice ring to it all by its self.

I will post pics as I get… Continue

Posted on September 22, 2009 at 6:39pm — 9 Comments

Posted on July 3, 2009 at 9:31am — 18 Comments

Comment Wall (34 comments)

At 5:10am on September 28, 2008, Donald A. Fortune said…
"music is a medium,that no matter what it is,someone somewhere will relate to it"
At 3:37pm on June 10, 2009, Cliff Morris said…
Sounds great Don. If you have some idea how to make the radius sanding bowls that would be really useful too. I will post pics of whatever I come up with to bend the sides but so far I think it will look alot like the ones in Charles Hoffmans shop website.
At 1:43pm on June 25, 2009, Cliff Morris said…
Hi Don, I think your setup looks very close to what I had in mind. Right down to the inserts to clamp the top on. I'm not burning up the world with progress here. Busted up my foot in karate a while back and it giving me some grief. Had to run on of the dogs over for emergency surgery this morning. The usual stuff but not much to do with building anything. I'll be very interested in what Bob has for comments. There is a nice piece in "Fretboards" magazine about Martin's D-18 Authentic you might want to see. It also has a sidebar on how they are bringing back hide glue for that instrument. Some pictures of their older equipment that is now being used in the custom shop too.
Looks good to me, keep up the progress.
At 5:36pm on June 25, 2009, Bob Webster said…
Holy cow, Donald, that looks beautiful. So, you're going to be able to work in a face down or face up orientation. It seems like you'll be able to manipulate the neck angle as you glue the top on, too. Looks like you're ready to go.

At 10:02pm on June 26, 2009, Bob Webster said…
An adjustable taper jig is a great thing to have. I just put a piece of piano hinge at the end of a pair of pieces of 3/4" plywood. I stick shims of different thicknesses at vaious spots between them to create the taper I want. If I want to taper a fingerboard, I just stick it on the jig with a couple of patches of double sided tape and run it through my Performax sander until I get what I want. Great deal of satisfaction seeing something so simple get me something I want.

At 9:40am on June 30, 2009, Bob Webster said…
Jane. Jane? I guess that's okay. Considering the upgrade in woods, I would have suggested Gloria, but maybe you save that one for when Santa brings you a 50yo set of Brazilian.

At 9:46am on June 30, 2009, Bob Webster said…
Just be careful with the router. I hate them and anything else that spins that fast. I still use them alot but I hate them. As for the taper, you might want to wait until you get the body and neck together in a stable unit and have a rough bridge with a saddle in it before you commit to a specific taper for the fingerboard. Am I being an old woman on this? It's also useful to build in about 0.5mm of windage for relief at the 12th fret just to account for forward pull of the strings. It can be accomodated either at the saddle or with the fingerboard taper. Keep it rollin'.

At 10:48am on June 30, 2009, Bob Webster said…
Sorry, forgot to answer part of the questions. I use either spruce or cedar depending on the requirements of the customer. Left on my own, I usually use spruce. Engelmann on the short scale guitars and European on the full concert sized guitars; it's a price point issue. Bindings are always offcuts from the sides just to get a good match in a very conservative treatment. I always use B&S sets dimensioned for Dreads or Jumbos because the sides are wide enough to get bindings and back strips from and the waste from the upper corners of the back can be turned into a bookmatched headplate. Most parts of the buffalo are edible.

At 3:49pm on June 30, 2009, Bob Webster said…
No opinion on using True Oil on guitars. I've only used it as a rubbed on finish for gun stocks. I do think, though, that it would be a better choice than rub on polyurethane, for example. If I were to use it on a guitar, however, I do think I'd still seal all surfaces with shellac before I rubbed it on.

At 5:07pm on June 30, 2009, Bob Webster said…
Donald, why don't you consider creating a blog on your page that chronicles the building of your classical. It's really pretty easy and Cliff and I could keep up with where you're at with it and make rude comments. You can keep adding entries and pics as you go along and if friends or family want to know what you're up to, you can send them to your blog. Whatcha think?


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