By John Fisher
"The best portion of a good man's life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."-William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet.
This is definitely a head on the more complicated side. It is not so hard cutting out the fancy shape but doing the binding was quite a bit more tedious then the norm and when finishing, it was quite awkward to try and sand and polish the intricate scrolls. The luxury (if your want to call it that) of making it fancy is just an option and I also did the inlays with abalone shells which didn't make it any easier but I got to admit, it was fun. Although there were many tuning keys locally available here in Mexico as there are many mandolins, I had to special order these tuning keys from the US as they are hard to find and a lot more expensive then simpler ones where the knobs normally run in a straight line.
Basic shape and dimensions of the "F" style mandolin head.
I cut the basic shape with a little coping saw. Usually it is the normal practice to glue the black veneer on first and then cut out the head. For some reason I have always cut out the basic shape first and then later put veneer on it. There is no special reason why I do it this way.
I drilled a 3/4" hole about 1/4" deep in this part of the head. I will then glue a maple plug that's cross grained in the hole. Because of the odd shape of the head and the scroll area, this is a potential weak spot that would be disastrous if it ever got knocked off. The maple plug which is glued in cross grained in relation to the grain of the head is to give it added strength in this area.
Here you can see the plug after it was glued in the hole and sanded flush.