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Monday, March 31, 2008

The soundhole

Here's the uke in a tool-free pic. Hard work cutting the puka with a knife - the spruce is much tougher than the cedar was.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Neck shaping

I was a bit eager when I carved the neck with the knife. Some chunks flew off and leveling the area around those parts makes it very thin. The wood seems really strong though, so hopefully it won't warp. And I don't know how to shape the headstock yet.

Back cont

Well the glueing appears to have turned out fine. I hope I put it on straight, can't really tell before I make the soundhole and see the braces...

Trimming sides

With a knife. I will look into routers and trimmers later. This works fine as long as the knife is really sharp.


Label has been made and the back is glued. The string makes it look almost architectural.

Last post for the day...

Sorry my pics look almost exactly the same. It's just that everything is at the same place and is seen on all photos. In this one however, you can with effort see the back, the fretboard and the finished linings. I was about to box up when I remembered the label. I'll have Johan make me one tomorrow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kerfing cont

Now on to the back, after I put my son to bed.


Glueing kerfed lining to the sides. For the next ukulele I build, I will get ready-made kerfing from somewhere. My own homemade is a bit less than perfect and require some sanding to fit.


Next to 001.

Friday, March 28, 2008

One week into 002

Well the sides are glued, the top lined with kerfing and the sides roughly shaped to recieve the domed (not doomed I hope) back. Tomorrow it's time to trim the soundboard, glue kerfing for the back, and then try my little tool I made for cutting binding ledges. It's so crude I don't dare show it before I try it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday night

So tonight I glued the neck to the soundboard. In the pic you can see the sides dry-fitted.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The jig

It's probably not right to call it a 'solera' since it's not dished, but it's really a good way to hold the parts while working on them. I can recommend it.

Shaping braces on 002

I'll keep the tone bars a bit higher than I did on 001, since that one quickly developed a deflection in front of the bridge. It plays fine with low-tension Worths, but I lost some volume. This uke I'm gonna string with Aquilas so the soundboard must be a tad stronger.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Visions of a new life

If I, from now on, rise at 3 in the morning, spend one hour on my yoga practice, then two hours building ukuleles - I'll still have time to make breakfast to the kids before going to the office... Anyway, here's the heel carved and some bracing glued. A massive sculpture my wife made provides clamping pressure.


edit: If you see a comment below from shakala or whatever, don't click on the hyperlink. It's something bad that I can't get rid of easily.
Before going to work (as in day job) I started to shape bars and braces. One of the finger planes I made works better than the other. Little Johan says it's his.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Neck, cont.

Spent an hour carving the neck. The wood is quite tough on both the knife and my knuckles. (If it looks messy around the various parts and pieces, it's because it is indeed very messy. I have to limit the area afflicted by my building, so everything is stacked high.)


Rough shaping the mahogany neck without band saw. It's slower, but possible to do in a corner of the livingroom.


Soundhole patch in place, bridge patch located for 12th fret connection. Spruce is a lot easier to cut and shape than cedar, that splintered and broke in my not-so-sensitive hands.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Homeward bound

On our way back from dad's house, and workshop. Didn't think I would bring a half-ready ukulele home, just some bracing and stuff to do. edit: That sounded a bit more smug than it was meant to. What is it that makes it so easy to sound like an a****** when you're writing?

So far

Well I'm a bit impressed with myself. I've done the same amount of work in six hours that took me the better part of a week last time. The neck looks a lot better. And I'm building a deeper body this time. edit: ... I'm easily impressed...

Heel slots

Cutting heel slots with a japanese saw. Great tempo so far.

Bending sides

It was a lot easier the second time. I think they'll come out ok.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Neck parts

Instead of inventing new ways to build once more, I try to follow the plans closely this time.

Company in the workshop

Company's nice. But two hours into uke number 2 I've cut the neck blank and assisted my son in building a bird robot. Sorry the picture turned the wrong way, can't really grasp blogger's editing capabilities.

Number 2 in progress

Spruce and mahogany picked out. My dad has a supply of endangered woods, from back when they weren't labeled endangered. So scrap from his boat project will be part of my next uke. I meant to search for domestic woods this time, but my day job has gotten in the way. Next time, I promise.