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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Messing around with a couple of necks

I started tidying the shop to get some space for building a christmas gift to myself and my wife. But with half finished projects littering the place it's too damn easy to pick something up and continue building. 

Tonight my eyes fell upon the resos. The necks already had holes for the barrel bolts so how hard could it be just to drill for screws and tie everything together?

The first picture shows the fifth dry run. 

I had forgotten the level of engineering skills I have to fake to build these! How on earth do I choose, and then set, the proper neck angle?

I put a cone in and a cover plate on, then did some dodgy calculations. On my acoustics it's easy - I just bend the neck a bit when I glue the back on. The back always covers the heel and keeps the angle in place. The miniscule difference between the front and back edge on the upper bout is sort of masked by gouge marks and general asymmetries. 

But, back to the resos and tonights frustrations. It seems that an angle of two degrees is about right. I planed and pared away at the heels. The mahogany neck for the walnut reso was a bit brittle in the end grain so after shaping I let some CA glue soak in at the middle. I don't want that barrel bolt to come rushing out when I tighten the screw. 

The ash neck was easier, heavy and solid as a really solid thing. 

Here they are, neck angles and all. Took me 90 minutes. (I still need to clear the bench though.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scared man's router

Here's me trimming the overhanging bits of soundboard. Others prefer a flush cut bit in a router but I'm, ahem, past that. 

The truth is I don't dare to use a router, and they create un-manageable amounts of noise and dust. Not an option in an apartment workshop. Plus they're no fun to sharpen, chisels on the orher hand... Wait, what? This blog is about ukes? Sheesh. You people. 

And here's the box so far (what's important is that you can get a glimpse of the Argapa tool shrine - never mind the pesky uke).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cutting a rosette

I have gained a bit of confidence, and an excellent tool. So I'm not as terrified of rosettes anymore. 

The cutter comes from the talented tool maker Micheal Connor in Australia. I can't say enough good things about it, or about Micheal. 

I scored two lines, flipping the cutter between them, then routed out the wood with a chisel shaped blade. Pics of the rosette later. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Press to fit

When I bend my one piece sides by hand I often get the curvature a bit aggressive at the neck end. The ends should ideally have a straight couple of centimeters but typically the preceding radius goes on. This makes it difficult to glue the neck block. 

If I shape the mating side of the block to meet the mis-shaped ends it works but then I don't get the flat spot on the outside. I aim for flat since the 12th fret is at the joint. And sanding the outside risks going through the sides. 

So, did you get all that? There will be questions afterwards. 

Straightening the ends on the hot pipe is hard because I don't get any leverage. So I sandwiched the sides between some flat scrap pieces, steel flashing and my heat blanket. After five minutes everything looked wonderfully machine made. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bridge glued on

The koa concert is soon done. I woke up quite early today and started rubbing out the finish, then I fitted the Peghed tuners, and then it was sort of just the bridge left.

Now I'm in a real hurry!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday night action

After the kids had gone to bed I whipped out the shellac and muneca, the bending iron, and Robert's baritone. So look at the pics, in the first you can see the concert half way through the french polishing process. To the right in the photo you see Patsy's mahogany sides bent and put into the piccolo mould.

Second pic shows the baritone which had a loose brace end. I was going to sand the old glue away with a piece of sandpaper in the gap, but the whole brace fell out. That was so much better because I could then plane a new surface and glue it in again.

But..! What of the two latest resos that were in progress?! I know you were wondering. Look at the last photo, both tops are glued to their respective skeleton. This way of doing it saves clamps, and I really want them to move on side by side. (But maybe I just wanted to take a funny picture.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Koa concert getting there

I think I'll make a cherry bridge to match the headstock overlay. Or maybe an ebony bridge to match the fretboard. 

Then it's just sanding, scraping and finishing! And a few other steps, of course.