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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oil finish, again

July is traditionally the slowest month on this wee blog, but we get off to a good start with the post I forgot to make yesterday. The second single plank all mahogany soprano had leapt forward despite me being off to the far side of the world, the fretboard is on, the bridge is too and now I've whipped out the Tru oil for the first time in ages. You all know my persistant struggle with shellac but the buyer of this uke asked for an oil finish so I thought it would be fun to re-visit the process. 

But first, here's a pic of the bridge being clamped. 

Then I applied the first coat of oil, a very light coat. 

And once the whole uke was rubbed down I let it dry. I gave it a second coat this morning but now I'll wait a bit longer. The humidity level makes the oil cure slowly. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

A quick report before bailing out

You're not supposed to complain about your day job, I know. But sometimes I whine a bit. Today I leave for Buenos Aires to work for a week. I don't mind the travelling but I miss my wife a lot when I'm away, and my kids too. And nothing happens in the Argapa cave for a while but that's alright taking into account the speed with which I've made the second mahogany soprano during the last few weeks.

Here's a pic of ye olde number one, the raffle uke and the next soprano coming together. 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Carving a mahogany neck

Carving necks - my favourite part of building. You can use all manners of methods for shaping necks and which tools you use to remove wood won't matter. What is important is what wood you decide to keep. That said, I use sharp hand tools. First I make two angled cuts length wise. I didn't take a pic but you can see the offcuts to the right in this pic. Then I take a small contour plane (similar to a spokeshave) and start working the edges. But really, I should have done what you see in pic #2 first. 

And that is to remove some material near the headstock so the spokeshave has an exit at the end of the cut. A sharp whittling knife is good for this but I know others use rasps. I never use rasps. 

The back of the headstock needs planing. This time I used a tool I bought on ebay where it was listed as a "luthiers plane". I suspect it's a spokeshave with the handles cut off, but since it takes a nice thin shaving I don't care what it is or was. 

More contour planing. The V-shape is established. 

And the whittling knife is again used to shape the heel. With a sharp knife I can do pretty much anything, and I never get surprised by where the knife goes. 

And here it is. I'll scrape it with concave scrapers and sand out most marks but as I have shown, sandpaper isn't really necessary. This was all done in around 25 minutes, much too fast for an enjoyable task.