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Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Almost forgot, here's the label my son made for me. I'm so proud. (He wants, however, to paint the whole uke. I think I can resist his offer.) Well it's been a couple of hours now, the soundboard hasn't come of with a loud cracking noise yet. The whole uke vibrates in my lap as I play. I'm so happy. Will post good pics and sound samples as soon as I can.

Cheapo inlay

And the headstock. Don't we make a lovely couple?


Have a look at that. Roughly based on some article on compensation.


I can't believe what just happened! I strung it (with soprano strings tuned a step down), I just couldn't wait. It sounds wonderful. It even intonates perfect, with the compensated saddle I did without really knowing what I was doing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Body depth

Second coat is applied, and since I have nothing more exciting to tell, I thought I should show you the lesser depth I chose. A good piece of advice I read was that the first ukulele you build should follow a plan exactly. I think that's a good idea. Now if my proto-uke sounds like crap I won't know which great design idea is to blame. But then again, it might turn out wonderful!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Full frontal

Hanging to dry. The first layer shall be lightly sanded tomorrow, then the next one goes on. After a couple of weeks I should be able to work up a good shine. By then it should also be clear whether it's a uke or a bird house.


Applying the first layer. It really brings out what beauty there is in my rather cheap mahogany.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Struggling to position the bridge, after spending hours shaping the saddle. I'm not putting any finish on until after glueing the bridge. I plan to use some mix between a rather hard wax and vegetable oil that I found.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Finger board mounted

Parts still missing are: head stock veneer, nut, bridge, saddle and... Strings! My shop that sells Aquilas have a 2-4 week delivery time. And I ordered yesterday. I'll put anything on. Or maybe put out a 'wanted' ad on the swedish forum.

Under pressure

I haven't drawn a breath for 15 minutes.

Boxed up

Spent some time sanding the body. I can postpone the finger board a bit, but I have to face my fears sooner or later. I have 3 different fret calc programs, luckily they get the same numbers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No retreat no surrender

I glued the back! I dare say it's perfect. As perfect as I can do it. Next up is the finger board. Tomorrow.

Sanding sides

To get a good fit for the back, I use the radius dish with sandpaper. Pencil marks on the edges and on the lining show how much is left to sand.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lining cont.

So, I chiseled the lining strips for the lower bout. Things are starting to shape up quite nicely. It already sounds like a drum.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I really should go to bed, but I had to start installing the lining. The kerfing strips seems a bit big. But never mind. Maybe I'll go over the strips for the lower bout with a chisel - it's only a matter of time, hardly any effort.

Back braces

Sanding braces on the radius dish. A wonderful piece of equipment, that I thought would be hard to find / buy / make. But it was easy, and cost me nothing.

Sides in place

I've glued the sides to the soundboard, and started to shape their profile.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I've scalloped the braces, soon it's time to fit the neck to the soundboard.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday morning

Sat up yesterday, shaping the neck and glueing braces. I feel a bit more confident now than I did a week ago. And the good thing about hand tools is the slower tempo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Glueing soundpatch

Ok I know those Go-bar pics look nicer. But the bolt - wingnut setup worked for this!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


The nails holding the steel slat on the bending form stained the wood. I recall reading of a similar experience someone had, in a post on Uketalk. It won't matter. It's on the inside and the sides will be much lower. I want a slim instrument.


To keep things straight, I routed a groove in the soleras surface. Two small brads will ensure a quick and precise handling of the neck. When the brads are gone, the fingerboard will hide the holes.


Had to leave dad's workshop, but couldn't bear the thought of a fortnight away from the uke-to-be. So now the project takes an unexpected turn; can I finish it with handtools? If not, I'll just do simple things until I'm back in the shop.

Radius dish 2

It didn't spin the way it was supposed to, but thanks to my beautiful wife it turned out ok. The color difference is the bottom layer of mdf showing.

Radius dish 1

Thanks to Dominator and the other guys at Uketalk, I now know how to make a radius dish for the back. Tomorrow I'll start with the router.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Pretty good for my first attempt! The day does end better than it started.

First attempt

My parents were drafted as hands number 3-6.

Bending form, continued

So I nailed one of the slats to the form. I have a sense of disasters to come. I'm not happy with todays results. The one thing that turned out ok was a jigsaw puzzle I made for my son.

Dry run

Trying to work out what to expect. The steel slats seem to put up quite a fight

Bending form

Since my Brueko ukes have one-piece rims I will try that as well. My aim is a model with just 3 pieces in the body - the back and the soundboard will also be one piece each.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The project this far

Now the holidays are over and I have to go back to work. I planed the cedar top yesterday - and of course ended up with a paper thin piece of wood. It's apparently my destiny to work with super thin materials. On the pic the top is lying on the solera, next weekend I'll brace it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Visit from the real world

My daughter eating chocolate. Hard to concentrate on the project.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New years day 5

Laminating the neck. Mahogany with a centerpiece of ash. The ash once grew on the exact spot where our workshop is today. To the right is the wood for the finger board.

New years day 4

Kerfing, in the making.

New years day 3

Solera and bending form. As you have guessed by now, I'll bend the whole side in one piece. I don't know why, it just seems like the right way for me.

New years day 2

Starting to make a solera, like the ones seen on chantus.com. Mine won't be as beautiful though.

New years day 1

Now that's what I call bracing a soundboard!