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Monday, August 12, 2019

Travel ukes, planing the soundboard

Briefly back at the home workshop, I hogged out the curvy bits with the small bandsaw and made the straight cuts with hand saws. 

Starting out the soundboard was 3.2 mm. I want to take that down to around half. This was the main idea behind the new order of oprations, as it was risky to use the router plane for the last bit when the remaining wood was thin and fragile. Well it turned out this was hard too. 

I used a well fitting caul under the soundboard to prop it up, but fit some padding on it. That was a mistake as it flexed and the plane took more from the edges than from the middle. I might be able to save the ash blank but it’ll probably be a keeper. 

The walnut blank turned out more even but had some rather difficult reversing grain, so I had to use the Veritas cabinet scraper to remedy some tear out. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Fugly traveller blanks

With what I’ve learned from the four first travel ukes I’ve made, I set out to build a few more. Having access to a pillar drill in the large workshop makes drilling a few hundred holes bearable. The bit stops a couple of millimetres short of breaking through, counting the brad point. 

Then I clean the edges up with chisels. My set of nice chisels have taken quite a lot the last weeks and I’ll sharpen them all today before I crack on. In the pic you can clearly see the marks left by the brad point on the drill bit. 

Then my newly sharpened router plane took the lovliest shavings off of the bottom of the recess, removing the brad point marks. With how the blade is shaped I took extra care not to undercut the sides. 

When the recess is made I reconnect the two halves of the perspex jig, fit the protruding one in the hole and score the outline of the instrument around the large contour half of the jig. Or is it a template. 

Each recess takes me one hour, after drilling out the bulk. So I made two yesterday and have three more ahead of me today. Two walnut, two cherry and one ash that grew on this here plot of land. Ann is close by and that is a good thing. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Time to put the bench to the test, and for posting about something other than that bench. Remember the extremely large board I split late last year? It was time to split it again. When I did it by myself last time it tirned out a bit wavy and uneven in the cut. But I enlisted my brother to hold the other end of the frame saw, and in the pic here he can be seen working the kerfing plane to make the slot around the edge to guide the blade. 

I usually go at it from the corners, but with assistance I found out that going perpendicular to the grain was better and produced a straighter cut. At least in mahogany, more below about another species. 

You can see here I needed to scrub plane the first bit where we did move in from the corners, we got a hump in the middle there but the rest was a great success. The middle piece that was uneven from earlier got a couple of holes but will give me a one piece rim, and top and bottom for at least one soprano. The good board in the pic will yield much more. 

Then I moved on to a piece of cherry that could give me material for two piccolos. First I sliced off two rims on the table saw, then I worked the kerfing plane around the edges. Cherry is hard to resaw with the frame saw as the blade tends to veer off on acount of the fibres. Also you can see my laziness beard, I am off work you know. 

I used the smaller frame saw but would maybe have had greater success with the huge one. Not in the pic is my brother who once again came to my aid holding the far end of the saw. 

Here’s where I ended up: the two rims at the back, then the lump to the right will become necks. In the foreground are the two larger slices that will give me the backs and tops, and the leftover chunk beneath them could become a few traveller blanks. Loads of fun, as always!