Crystal Forest Mandoline
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Flat Top Mandolin Plans

Plans to build an authentic "Army/Navy" style flat top Mandolin. This style of mandolin was popularized around 1920 by the Gibson company. Flat top mandolins are the easiest to build because the top and back are flat slabs of wood requiring no carving and shaping. Plans include a material list.

The mandolin show below is built with a solid engelmann spruce top, curly maple back, curly maple sides and curly maple neck. The fingerboard is rosewood and there is a rosewood veneer on the peghead face. The bridge is ebony and the nut is bone. The mandolin body has a cream binding top and bottom with a .20 black inner strip. The peghead has an original design logo and "Crystal Forest" tree insignia that was cut from .50 mother of pearl. The finish is semi-gloss acrylic lacquer. On this mandolin I used Grover 18:1 A-Style Tuning Machines.

Plans are provided in a PDF document that is drawn 1:1 scale for printing on 24"x36" media. To get a full-size print of the construction plan you will need to take the PDF to a Quick Print business who can print documents on an ink jet printer that can take 24"x36" media. However, you can also print "sections" of the plan on a smaller printer and tape together for cutting templates as needed.

Mandolin Specification:

  • 1 1/8" nut
  • Standard 13 7/8" scale length
  • Overall length 24 1/2"
  • Overall width 9 5/8"
  • Body width 9 1/2"
  • Body Depth 1 1/2"
You can build this mandolin using a variety of tonewoods. The most common are spruce for tops and maple for back, sides and neck. Other options are red spruce or cedar for top and almost any hardwood for a back. Finish can be a simple application of clear - semi gloss acrylic lacquer or a stain and then clear coats. A complete list of materials is included on the plans and can be purchased from a variety of instrument making supply houses.

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