Learning Ukulele 50 Sites Top 50 Ukulele Sites Argapa Ukuleles - one size louder: 5/1/09 - 6/1/09

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fretboard dry fitted

Yay, I'm blogging in real time tonight! Fretboard is in place with 1
mm brass wire in holes at the first and 13th fret. These holes will be
covered by the fretwire when it's installed.

Good night. Need sleep.

Tapering fretboard

With my Little Victor plane, I taper the fretboard. Sawing the slots
went fine, but it is something that always makes me nervous. Thinking
of buying them pre-slotted.

Eerie light in pic is from a flashlight. The wood ain't blue.

Making the soundhole...

...without proper tools (like the little thing for the Dremel) can be
hard. But with a sawn-off plastic funnel clad with sandpaper, it's a
piece of cake. I made the hole by drilling lots of holes in a circle,
and then started grinding with this improvised little beauty. Gives
the hole a very classy slanted edge as well!

Marking fretboard

I think it's called a caliper, but whatever it might be it's the best
I've ever seen. Marks 1/50 mm easily.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This was an instrument begging to be built. The last week things
appear to have been really fast and easy going. Here it is after the
first hour of sanding.

If ONLY... the knocking with a knuckle could be trusted more as an
indication of the sound. I knock and knock. And I knock some more. And
I sand the soundboard. And I knock, sand and keep on knocking.

Give me a sign already.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back in place

A more funny builder would say the ukulele was strung up. But not me.

50 meters of cotton string, and I found out this solera is too wide
actually. I will need a smaller one for this operation only. If I am
to build more tenors that is. I'm considering making my next soprano
with a spanish heel. But then again, getting the linings in place is
quite hard.

I need some sleep.

Prior to boxing up

Everything is ready for the glueing of the back!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back braces

The first two of the three back braces are in place. Maybe two is
enough. I'll check after the clamps are removed.

Linings around the back of the sides have been shaped with the radius
dish, and the braces too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Grainy pic of linings half way installed along the back of the sides.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

More sanding

Golden rule of architectural photography: no people in the pictures.
But the taboo was broken in the previous post, so here's a pic of more

Notice small bald spot and pre-photoshop muscles.

Sanding top and neck

Here's me sanding on the Dust-E-Whacker, the world's leading solution
to dust problems. And also a great way to ensure a perfect level from
neck to soundboard.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Linings in place

It's a bit akward to install linings after top and sides come
together. At least if you - like me - haven't bitten the bullet and
made Hana Lima style lining clamps. I promised myself I would after
last time but...

I'll do them for the next tenor.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sides glued

And this is how it looks tonight. As I said a few days back, it is
very much an assenbly task when building this way.

Cutting kerfed linings

I'm not kidding, I cut these by hand. Slot for slot. In a great little
apparatus I got from master gadgeteer and splendid builder Timbuck.

Of course this would be faster on the table saw. But this is somewhat
meditative. And fun.

Bars and braces shaped

Between breakfast and taking the kids to school, I got about 15
minutes of quality time. Rather stupid since I'll think of nothing
else today than of continuing my building...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Glueing bars and neck

Yup - bars, bridge patch and neck are being glued. Still no go-bar deck.

It is a huge ukulele. Compare the size to the plane in the foreground.

Monday, May 4, 2009

First mock up assembly

Here are the braces, the bridge patch, the top, the sides and the neck
in the same place for the first time. Next task is measuring and
marking out exactly where the bridge patch goes. Then notching the
braces to match it.

And before glueing the bars (the transverse going pieces) I have to
decide whether or not I should use a soundhole patch. It improves
strength around the hole, but I don't know. It's a tiny bit ugly.

The sides will be cut to proper height, in my rush the other night I
just wanted to get some wood bent and didn't saw it before bending. Of
course that means that the dark spots will go.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Neck sort of done

Of course it took a few hours anyway, but I'm in no hurry. Most of the
shaping was done with a small plane and an antique japanese knife. The
knife isn't mine, but I'm working on a way to buy it...

With the neck done it feels almost as the rest is an assenbly task, it
has to do with the spanish heel construction.

Friday, May 1, 2009


A visit to my dad's shop let me save a couple of hours of carving,
since my band saw is there. So here it is with the ears being glued,
on the sunny banjo porch of the guest house.