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Saturday, December 3, 2016

More waiting, and distractions

I bit the bullet and bought a new random orbital sander. The idea of sanding the finish on these seven ukes was too much to bear so I ordered it earlier this week. But DHL tried to deliver it at noon on Friday so naturally I missed it. I'll try to change delivery address to the office.

So, this weekend won't go down in history as the great flattening and polishing weekend. Instead it might go down as the not so great bass restoration weekend. But first let me show you some ukes. 

Argapa 100, destined to be the odd child of every schoolyard it dares to tread. A taropatch soprano, who'd've thunk it? I'm rather pleased with the fret markers as I'm sure you are as well. Double strings slightly out of sync. 

And here they all are, with a rather heavy coat of shellac. I slathered it on with a brush so more a spirit varnish than polishing this time. You get why I need that sander. 

But the sander isn't here so I turned to my short scale Teisco bass. I will swap tuners, electronics and the pickup. I already did a re-fret job and made a new pick guard. And changed the bridge. So it's not much left of the original (it was already heavily altered when I bought it).

Here's the back of the headstock. I filled some screw holes. 

And I read in Dan Erlewine's book on guitar repair: "... guitar electronics is one area of repair where a novice usually doesn't do much damage." Those are good news since I'm a bit of an amateur when it comes to soldering and stuff, but look at the state of it now. It can't get any worse. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Finish prep

The last couple of weeks have been thick with dust. After sanding all seven ukes with the Abranet sanding block I told you about I have used the rolling pin sander to get at the waist areas, and after that I went over all of them with a random orbital sander that begs to be replaced by a better model. But it works, sort of. This is when I round over the edges on the body, and I take care of any knife marks left on the neck. 

So today I drilled pilot holes for the tuner holes and ground some blonde shellac flakes for one of the maple bodies. For the rest I'll use some darker shellac but this one is requested as blonde as possible. We'll see what happens. 

The grinder is some small herb chopper but cuts the flakes as if it was meant for it. 

I had to make a few extra hooks, and checked that they all hang freely. Wouldn't want to stand around with a wet uke in one hand and have to fabricate a hanger with the other... again. 

And then, the payoff. Walnut especially can look quite dull after scraping and sanding, so I had to take this pic. It's alive!*

*Also the title of one of the best live albums ever. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tedious work being done

I apologize in advance for what will be a very boring post. But I'm going through the grits and I'm still working on all six resos in parallel. So we will be here a while yet. I promise there will be a pic of all six fretboard ends at the bottom though, not that you can't go straight for it right now.  

First I trim the overhang on all of them, with my 1 3/4" chisel, a carving knife and a few other tools. 

Here's one of the small spokeshaves I got from Lee Valley. Not bad but the walnut wasn't really cooperating. 

Then after trimming them I started sanding with my Mirka abranet sanding block. It's got a hose at the back so the dust gets out of my face. 

45 minutes and two are done to a certain level. I'll do a couple at the time before whipping out the rolling pin sander. That hasn't any dust extraction so I usually use it sitting on the balcony. 

I warned you it was going to be a boring post! 

But if you're still with me, here's the picture of the gang with all the different fretboard end shapes. Well two of them do look a bit like each other, I see that now. 

And despite moaning about this part of the process, I'm quite happy that I've managed to get this far with the whole batch. Can't wait to start shipping them out though, my economy is in shambles and I really want to get on with some other projects.