Let’s Build A Mandolin - Tom Ellis And F5 Special #464

By Scott R. - 2 months ago

Tom Ellis has been building some of the best mandolins in the world in his Austin, TX shop. See what goes into the build of a beautifully hand carved F5 Special as it comes to life on Tom's bench.

The wood room at Ellis Mandolins is an archive of hand selected tone woods that Tom has collected over the last 40 years of his career building instruments.


The Wood Room

The first step for every Ellis F5 build is finding the perfect top and back.


Adirondack Red Spruce Tops

Every Ellis mandolin features an Adirondack Red Spruce top. These book matched quartered wedges will dry and cure in a controlled environment.


Curly Sugar Maple Backs

Tom went through his private reserve to track down a very special one piece back for #464. These are some of the sugar maple backs he had to choose from.


One Piece Quilted Big Leaf Maple Back

Tom has always had a way with finding and stashing away the best wood. The back of #464 will feature this piece of exceptionally figured quilted Big Leaf Maple.

It will be be joined by a beautiful quarter sawn silky Adirondack Red Spruce top, matching Big Leaf Maple sides, and a highly figured Sugar Maple neck.

Everything heads next for rough shaping. While that is happening, Pava will start work on the sides and assembling the rim set.


Part 2: Rim assembly and rough top, back and neck. →

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