Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Here it is, the koa soprano that is the 70th ukulele I've built. This one is for a childhood friend and I am really pleased with the result.
The neck is sapele, it goes well with the koa but was more difficult to carve than mahogany. You might guess I'm pleased with the finish!
The fretboard end looks a bit ragged doesn't it? I winged it because I was a wee bit tired of my usual style. If you think it's bad, you ain't seen nothing yet!
Go on, we all know ukes look like this after you've opened a few beers with them. I thought it was a brilliant idea to make it jagged from the start.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
The experiment continues! I planed the sides for the zero sanding ukes, and I was a bit impressed with myself - over 600 mm of length the thickness varied no more than 0.05 - 0.08 mm here and there. The surfaces were good with only miniscule areas of reversing grain causing some trouble. I went ahead to the bending iron.
And bending them went alright! Two revelations; they actually seemed easier and more compliant than sides thicknessed in the drum sander. Could be the extra thickness I left them at, 1.85 rather than my usual 1.7, who knows. I'd rather let the planing take the credit of course.
The other thing - remember those minor variations in thickness? Well they were much more noticeable on the iron than they were on the bench. But when bending by hand it's easy to adjust pressure and speed so it went well.
Monday, February 17, 2014
I was gonna run a few plates through the 10-20 drum sander, but they were very uneven and quite thick in places. I remember sawing these on my out of tune bandsaw, of which I am abysmally tired.
Running the 10-20 and the dust collector in the apartment workshop is usually ok, I try to do it in bursts of maximum 45 minutes to save my relationship to the neighbours. But it smells odd! I don't know if there's some gunk from an exotic wood in the dust bin or if it is the cheap sandpaper I bought, but it smells (stinks).
So I started out planing the plates with a jack plane. I aimed for more even and around 3 mm, then the sander would be done with quickly.
But the jack plane tore out some of the reversing grain so I reached for a number 4 1/2 smoothing plane. Then my number 3 smoothing plane.
And there you have it - my new plan. I'll make two new piccolos that won't be touched by sandpaper at all during the build. I've thought about doing this before, but always gave up. But now my planes are sharper and better adjusted, I've made my own scrapers in shapes I missed, and every last edge is keen and shiny.
Here's what it looked like after a while:
And here the first ones are done. In the pic you see the three planes, a cast iron cabinet scraper and a card scraper, my digital thickness caliper, and last the welding clamps I used to hold them to the bench.