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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Backs on

The cast iron book press is back at the summer house and I won't be there for a couple of weeks. But it's possible to glue the backs without it, don't worry. 

Glueing the same small cleats as I used when I put the tops on saves me loads of  trouble. A drop of superglue and broken off pieces of kerfed lining strips, we could call them tentalones. 

The first two went together as a sandwich, each uke being the perfect caul for the other one. A cheap mouse mat lies between to even things out. 

The third one got clamped against a piece of plywood, and is still drying as I write this. 

Now I'll start with the fretboards, the bodies are close to done. I will trim the backs and sand and scrape them in preparation for finishing. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Neck fitting

I trimmed the overhanging bits of the soundboard on all three ukes, so it was time to fit the necks. There is one step that isn't in the pics though, and that's me hollowing out the heel face slightly. It makes sanding the heel possible since only the edges are in contact with the abrasive paper. Had the entire heel been it would've rocked and gotten round. 

So after that crucial step I check the neck for square. The stripe makes it easy. 

Then with the pressure put where it's needed I drag the neck on sandpaper that's stuck on a piece of aluminium. I do this until everythings good and true, both sideways...

... and angle wise. My angle needs to be set now since the skeletons in the resos won't budge, but on acoustic instruments I make it 90 degrees and set the angle when I glue the back. (I will do that on a soprano in a few weeks.)

With the jig and my favourite drill, I make the two holes for the barrel bolt and the screw. The drill had two speeds, depending on where you attach the crank. 

The same jig is used on the body to make the one hole for the screw. 

And after a little fiddling (but it did go faster than normal on these three) they're all done. 

Next up, backs and fretboards!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Neck carving

I did make a point earlier in this three-fold build that I tried to break the process into small chunks. Well this morning as I lazily carved one of the necks I had to admit that one chunk would now mean one neck only. Not that it takes long but I want to do it really carefully and be done with one before I start the next. So I thought I would carve the one and maybe sand it tonight. 

But I sanded it too before running off to work, and then after dinner tonight I started on the next, and that's the one in the pics. 

First I set a marking guage to 11 mm and score the sides of the headstock. 

Then I saw it to thickness. I want a rip filed carcass saw, or a tenon saw, for this (and maybe these ukes will pay for one) but until then a Japanese rip saw works ok. 

Then I carve the area behind the heel, the heel itself, and a section at the nut end. This is to provide entry and exit points for the spokeshaves, draw knives and planes I'll use. 

But first I took the skunk stripe down. Luck would have it that the grain in the stripe went in the opposite direction from the neck halves, so carving was interesting. 

I did carve more than I took pics so here's one of the finished second neck on the jig, the first one next to it and the remaining rough blank for the third. 

But ---

--- a bit later I went ahead and made the third one as well. So all three chunks, or was it one large chunk, of the build were carried out today. I am very pleased.