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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Random progress

Well it certainly ain't boring, working on three or more ukes at a
time. As soon as some glue is setting on one, I can do stuff on
another. And it really helps to have different sorts on the bench -
the pineapple is very different from the rest, and the woods I use at
the moment are different too.

Alder carves extremely easy and won't splinter. Walnut sands easily
but is harder to carve; and cherry is somewhere in between. I'm really
curious about how alder takes the finish, I know the others will be

Sooo... a long weekend spent mostly in the shop has led to:
-Fretboard with bar frets on alder uke
-Sides cut and sanded on pineapple
-Bolt-on neck mounted on pineapple
-Neck mounted on fourth piccolo
-Early piccolos set up.

The frets on Andy's fretboard are the best I've done when it comes to
bar frets. It helps being a hobby builder and not having to depend on
ukes to pay the rent, bar frets wouldn't be an option if that was the

Bolt on neck

Peer pressure has made me try bolting on the necks. I machined the
parts myself from steel and aluminium since the stuff I can buy is too

It works great! And there's time to adjust before final mounting. I
also glue the joint, and I put the neck on before the back since I
want the back to cover the heel.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First delivery

My good friend Robert picked it up yesterday evening, after some
fiddling he was able to put the clip on tuner in place. His headstock
is extra small, so it wasn't too easy.

Hear a soundsample at

I feel it's gone to a very good home, and if Robert speaketh the
truth, it might be the last uke he buys. (Really!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recollections of a fab sunday

So, what happened yesterday? Mab's pineapple got braced, lined and got
its top glued; Andy's fretboard got planed and slotted; Robert's
piccolo got a bone nut and string holes; and another piccolo started
to take shape. I think that it is for Simon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

...and back glued!

Yes. Time to go to bed.

Wait. Must eat first.


Preparing back, alder uke

Latest endeavour to raise quality in glueing process are these scrap
pieces put in place with CA glue. They might prevent slipping. I put
them on during a dry run, so fit is exact.

Batch forming...

I am quite pleased with the overall appearance and progress. They do
get better, the latest to reach this stage has less blemishes.

Still a few to go before they're perfect perfect. Now I'm at good

Back braces

First night in the shop for more than a week, work has been intense at
my office. Anyway, can you see the arching of the sides and braces? I
put the back braces in to make sure everything fits, and it helps
keeping the sides parallell. Glueing the back is easy this way.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sanding sides

With my home made radius dish I make the dome shape for the back.
Squiggly pencil marks show where the low areas are. I'll be making the
back braces as soon as this is near perfect.

Piccolos drying

Three of them are hanging from the ceiling while the oil finish is

The one at the back is Robert's (early recipient of nagging award

Working with my assistant

While I glue the solid linings in Andy's uke, Li does some sanding on
some scrap pieces. She then paints them gold and glues them together.