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Monday, September 23, 2019

Sanding, and more sanding

It was time to take on some of that wood I resawed this summer. Old mahogany, some cherry and a bubiga fretboard blank I had kicking around. Out came the Jet 10-20 drum sander. I don’t use it that often but when I do I try to prepare a bunch of stuff at one time. 



The problem is my roll of sandpaper isn’t great. It tears itself up and it’s also too wide. So I need to cut it to width and make the tapered ends. Below you can see how I reinforce the ends with some tape. But it breaks anyway. 



Sanding something this large takes a while. Feed rate is slow and it takes many passes. 



I couldn’t find my roll of finer grit paper* so I finished with my Festo random orbital sander. That turned out quite nicely. 



I’m thinking two mahogany sopranos and two cherry piccolos. But I need to tidy up the bench first. 



And I made a new biscuit for a resonator that’ll be strung low G. 



*I found the roll when I put the ROS away. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Back to carving

My day job just exploded in my face after summer ended. Good grief. While I can find an hour here and there that could be spent in the workshop, my brain has just been in a right state, and that’s not good for wielding sharp tools and creating delicate instruments. 

But tonight I felt alright enough to start carving a neck on one of the travellers. Nothing much in terms of progress but it felt great. I started by carving the entry point with a modified Mora carving knife. 



Then I used three different spokeshaves, in what must have been ten different directions and angles. The grain was all over the place, no wonder this chunk of wood wasn’t resawn into plates for regular ukes. But I’ll get there. The spokeshaves are very sharp and I’ve still got it when it comes to carving. 




Sunday, September 8, 2019

Making two alder blanks

I got the best letter the other day. A happy customer told me about the heavy use he got out of a fugly traveller uke he bought from me last year. That wee uke has been to a lot of places across the world. So I did that one right I think. But maybe I can make one even righter, my customer asked me for another one of a different wood and with a slightly longer headstock. Or nut end. The part above the zero fret. You’ll remember that my prototype was cut short after the zero fret, then I changed it to a wee butt up there to help with some chord shapes (E7 comes to mind). But now the request is for even more real estate at the end. 

Since I’m a sucker for praise I went out to the stack of drying lumber and looked for something nice. I found a piece of that hefty alder trunk I harvested, split and stored a few years back. It’s curly, blonde and comes from my corner of the world. Perfect. 

First pic is cutting of a length. I’ll be using the shorter length to the right of the saw. 



On my new wee bandsaw I sliced off a corner to get started on the squaring up. It’s a small three wheeler but it’s actually better than my old one. 



Planing that first surface with a no.7 plane to get it flat and true. I still haven’t put a vise on the new bench so this is the old one. 



Then using that first side as a reference I cut the adjacent split surface to clean it up before going back to the handplane. 



Next pic is of the third surface being planed. Then I made the fourth and last, before...



... splitting it in two halves. The gunk on the end of the left one is old glue I smeared on to prevent it cracking while drying. I will cut off a bit more when building the ukes. 

To get the two faces parallel I sent them through the thicknesser. I could do it by hand but my best planes are at home in the cave and here at the cottage workshop there are more machines so time and effort was saved. I will keep these here to use the drill press to make the cavities, just as you saw me do it July. 



Here they are, with the view in the background. They will rest inside and dry for a few months before I continue, but I have a couple of projects to keep me busy.