Making the Archtop Guitar Style Mandolin




About: I make musical instruments the modern way, with a CNC. check out my video content on

I recently made a video series on how I made my Archtop guitar style Mandolin. I thought it might make an interesting Instructable. Let me know what you think and I welcome any questions.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Making the Ribs

In this step I cut the corner blocks and bend the ribs to the inside mold. I used a silicone heating blanket to heat the wood and linings and I made the bending jigs using fusion 360 and the are all cut on my CRP2448.

Step 2: Cutting the Top

this video is the process of milling the top soundboard of the mandolin. I have created integrated bracing in this top as an experiment. I was very impressed with the tone of this instrument and I quite like how these integrated braces ad stiffness and efficiently a produce big sound.

Step 3: Attaching the Ribs to the Top Plate and Cutting F Holes

The highlight of this video is the tool path for cutting the F holes. I have enlarged them and moved the bracing position to accommodate the lager F holes (they where smaller on the prototype and seemed to choke off the tone). Several Autodesk Fusion360 Instagram accounts where kind enough to share portions of this video.

Step 4: Milling the Neck

Lots of CNC footage for this video of the process of milling the neck.

Step 5: Making the Babinga Back Plate

the process of milling the babinga back plate.

Step 6: Dovetail

milling the neck and compound body dovetail joint on the cnc. this probably the most stressful part of this build, with this much time and effort one slip or miscalculation can destroy the parts. watch carefully for the movement when the neck dovetail is cut, the clamps slip and I thought i would have3 to remake the part. I was able to save it luckily.

Step 7: Gluing on the Back Plate and Making the Fretboard.

finally closing the box, it will soon be a somewhat complete instrument.

Step 8: Headstock and Fretboard

Making the head stock veneer and fretting the fretboard.

Step 9: Done! It's Time to Play!

this video is a tome sample of the instrument along with some of the finished stills. let me know what you think of the tone. I haven't been able to put this thing down, its been preforming well at gigs and I really enjoy playing it. Thanks for watching!

Be the First to Share


    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Hot Glue Speed Challenge

      Hot Glue Speed Challenge

    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Well done! Very nice mandolin. It reminds me of one I built. I too went for the archtop guitar design.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Nice , I like the tailpiece. I intended to make a tailpiece for this one but ended up going with the cast brass one instead.


    Question 1 year ago

    What does the shirt you're wearing in the video say? Beautiful piece and it sounds sweet.

    1 answer

    1 year ago

    Nice project! It may take me a couple of years, but I'll give this a try. Thanks for posting.

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    This project came out so well! Thanks for sharing it on Instructables. This mandolin reminds me that I'm gonna need to buy more clamps before I try to construct my ukulele kit!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, more clamps, I always need more . A gobar deck can be a good clamping solution for flat top instruments. Mine is just a couple of pices of mdf and spaced with all thread, the gobars can be made with fiberglass rods available at your local big box store.