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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bending touch up

I dug out a piccolo rim that I bent some time ago, but there was a spot on it where the curve was a bit uneven. It takes a while to heat the bending iron, so I tried this crude method - clamping the wood in the heating blanket and reworking the curve before the heat burned through the glove. It worked, but it hurt.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Carved neck

I'm very pleased with this neck. It's on the mahogany / cedar soprano I made without a commission but now it's sold. It's going to Luleå in the north of Sweden.

I made the heel with a sharp ridge, and tried an inverse volute at the headstock end. The mahogany wasn't very forgiving, I had to use a very sharp chisel in order to avoid any splintering.

In the pic it almost looks as the profile is V-shaped, but it's C-shaped as usual.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fretboard, preparation

These pics are a couple of days old, but I forgot to post them. The first one shows the slotted board with the small position markers I've come to like. They're made of the same 1.6 mm styrene rod I use for side markers.

The second pic shows how two of the rods protrude on the underside. I do like this: first I mark all the spots, then I drill right through the fretboard. Then I place it on the neck, and carefully check that everything lines up. I hold it in place and drill through the holes at third and tenth fret so I get corresponding holes in the neck.

The rod is glued in the holes, and cut off to make markers. And, of course, two of them are left protruding.

This is the second time I do this, fretting is a wee bit more complicated due to the rods, but glueing the finished board is a breeze. No more slipping around, and no miniscule brads in fret slots or something like that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Start to finish

The first base coat of shellac has been sploshed on the reso. It's quite messy and it soaks into the surface, raises the grain and makes the muneca stick.

But that's alright, it's always like that. I just knock the grain back with some 500 grit sanding pads and I know the following layers will be so much easier.

It does look half good already. Innit.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A giant leap forward on the reso

Well I made an effort and it sort of came together. But since it differs so much from my acoustic ukes, I did something I very rarely do. I put the parts on and strung it up before applying finish.

And a good thing that was - the coverplates I ended up buying was lower than the ones I paid for but never got. So the buckle above the bridge was too close to the bridge. Or saddle or whatevva.

I thought of scrapping it and then forget all about resos. But tried mounting the plate on small blocks, about 2 mm high. And now it works. It makes noise. And the secret inlay under the usb stick is fab.

So I need to invent a permanent fix, maybe blocks, maybe washers, maybe a solid ring.

And then finish it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Resawing rosewood, the ancient way

What do you do when you run out of fretboards, and you won't see your big bandsaw for a couple of weeks? Well I decided to try a method that I saw in an instructional vid on the web, where a few guys sliced wood for veneers with a handsaw.

I had a nice chunk of rosewood and started out by planing the sides so they were parallel and square to each other.

Then the most important step is to score a line around the whole block. I used my lovely marking gauge that I got from Steve Caldwell of Weazel wharf. Steve is known as ecosteel on some forums I frequent. I made several passes to get the line deep. If you try it, be very careful at first since it wants to wander along the grain, if the grain isn't totally straight. Mine was, but I pulled the gauge hard towards the side of the block anyway.

Then you saw from the corners, all four. And it's now that the scored line helps - the saw follows the line and is guided by it. I've tried similar cuts without scoring and that's very much harder. As you can see I used a Japanese pull saw. One of the edges is for ripping. It works but I really want a rip saw from Lee Valley. I haven't bought it yet because of a negative cash flow but I yearn for it.

Anyway, the cuts eventually meet and then it's just the diamond shaped bit in the middle to saw through. And the first fretboard from this piece turned out as good as it could get! Some sanding, or even scraping is all I need to do. Or I can feed it through the drum sander. Yup, that sounds like the right level of effort.

So. This went well but it took a long time. About 35 minutes and I won't need to do any push ups tomorrow. And my excuses for not finishing Brain's resonator are almost spent. Darn.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Juniper log

We salvaged a really really big piece of juniper today. We saw it earlier this year, it had fallen down when nearby trees were cut. I have never seen a trunk of this diameter. I'll try to make some very aromatic ukes of it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back glued on cedar soprano

In the first pic, the back braces are fitted between the sides. This is my way of doing things, most builders glue the braces to the back before it goes on.

In the second pic the back is under pressure. (It's a lot easier to glue a one piece back without a pesky centerline to keep from sliding away.)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Resonator, making the hole and fitting the coverplate

I made a giant version of the cheapo compass cutter to make the hole for the soundwell. After carving a bit it was ok.

Then I tried to align the coverplate to get the screw holes right, but that was impossible. So I made a perspex template from the coverplate with a circle of the exact size and all the holes. With this lying on top of the body I can make all the holes at the right distance from the well.

Margins are a bit small. I'm considering a way to strengthen the holes. Since you have to remove the whole plate to get to the biscuit and bridge, these screws will go in and out a bit.