Crystal Forest Mandoline
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About Me

Inlay cutting

Working on a mandolin

I have been a builder/maker all of my life. I started by builing model airplanes when I was a kid. I progressed from plastic model airplanes to building 1/4" scale R/C planes. Eventually, I built a full-size all wood biplane using only plans. That project taught be a lot about woodworking and paying attention to details. My formal training and career was as an architect/engineer designing all type of projects.

I started making musical instruments after moving from Nebraska to central Arkansas in 2007. Arkansas, is full of music (bluegrass, folk, gospel, old-time etc). I moved within 40 miles of Mountain View, AR, which is said to be the folk music capital of the world. During the warm months, there are many people for all over the country that gather to jam on the courthouse square or the pickin' parks.

I decided it looked like so much fun that I wanted to join in. My first mandolin was an A-style Kentucky 150. As I began playing I became interested in how instruments were made and decided to I wanted to try and build my own. The Army-Navy style "flat top" mandolins looked easiest to build as a first instrument. I enjoyed the process, put it up for sale, sold it and started another. I build only a few instruments a year. My main reason for building is because I enjoy the creative process and sharing what I have created with other people.

I pattern my mandolins after the original Army-Navy mandolin that was manufactured by the Gibson company of Kalamazoo, Michigan. All of my mandolins are built 100% from scratch using my own plans. I get most of my wood from Old Standard Wood in Fulton, Mo. They supply wood to all the best builders, including Weber, Collings, Ellis etc. I also buy components from Luthier's Merchantile and Stewart McDonald. I've had the opportunity to look at and play an original Flatiron. I feel my version is an improved version of the original instrument.

I regularly play in jams here in Heber Springs, AR where I live, and in Mountain View, AR on the courthouse square. I also play with groups that do a regular circuit of the nursing homes and senior centers. I feel that ministering to the elderly in nursing homes is my ministry calling and being able to play and sing is a one of the gifts that God has equipped me with to accomplish his work.


Me and the Wolf Bordom Fighter
Me and the Wolf Bordom Fighter I built from 1985-1991. I flew this airplane for 14 years.
Building the Wolf Bordom Fighter
Photos of the Wold Bordom Fighter during construction. Sitka spruce, mahongany plywood and 4130 steel fittings.
TDMModels I design and kit
I also design build and sell kits of 1/12th scale aircraft



Owner Comments

This is a wonderful instrument and is a joy to play. The woods you select are beautiful and your craftsmanship
really comes through. I am sure you are making everyone who plays, sees, or hears these instruments happy.
Thanks again for this great instrument. It was a pleasure purchasing it from you.
I will be showing this mandolin off proudly and singing its praises everywhere I can.

Bob - NJ

From Mandolin Cafe
I recently bought a Crystal Forest Army/Navy pancake mandolin and have been really amazed by this instrument. I certainly did not expect it to have the power it delivers. These instruments have a very slight induced arch rather than being completely flat, and this one is an oval hole. I really did not expect a whole lot of volume, but have been really impressed by what it can do!

The lap steel arrived in excellent condition today and I am very happy with it.
I am very impressed with the and finish is perfect as far as I can see!

John, CA

Terry, I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy this beautiful instrument you made!
Bill - AR

I got the mandolin today - it is stunning, more beautiful than the pictures, with a clear bright sound that I love. Your stain is perfect- deep reddish-brown that really shows off the flame maple- well done!
Dave - Vancouver

Terry, it's everything I hoped it would be, and possibly more. I've only had a few days with it, and one rehearsal, and I love it more each time I pick it up. Keep up the beautiful work, and do yourself a favor, RAISE your prices! Thank you again.
Scott - OK

I got the mandolin today. It is awesome, Fantastic! Thanks so much.!
Paul - FL

It's a nice tight little oval hole. A good mando at a very reasonable price... Very sweet sound.
Jim - TN

This whole process of having a custom build has surpassed my expectations... I couldn't be happier!
Bill - CA

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