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Monday, March 28, 2011

First top glued

Soundboards braced with the single brace, and the first one is glued to the sides. It's of alder as you can see. I haven't cut the holes yet, I'm working on a new method.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm an ace carver!

My carving skillz have taken a leap forward. These are the five piccolo necks I've made the last few days. No routers, lathes, no nothing. Except for the tools you see in the pic.

I did try a rasp, but didn't like it. And my neck holding jig was an absolute must for these good results.

Edit: I forgot to put the miniature spokeshave in the pic... I'll see if it makes a post of its own soon.

The weight

It's not heavy. I had it in my new square case yesterday, and it was hard to tell if it was there or not...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Number 29 finished

Here it is, next to the ancestor. Oldie is on the right, 29 on the left. I strung it up, and guess what? It works. It works wonderfully. I want one as good as it myself!

I might perform a bit on it tomorrow, and maybe I'll have time to do another vid in the 'Swedish chef presents...' series.

The five new piccolos

So sides are bent, blocks installed, three of them lined on soundboard side, and three necks carved.

I'm very pleased spring is finally here since I prefer to do most of the sanding outdoors, and five at the same time will generate a fair bit of dust.


I know that it's a very smart idea to fix the back of the headstock in the thickness sander.

But where's the fun in that?

I've come to realize my building philosophy is something like: if it can't be done with a sharp blade, it's no point doing it.

This gives me an excuse to collect sharp blades.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Last orders?

I'm trying to catch up so I can build some un-ordered ukes for a while. So these five piccolos that I started yesterday will hopefully finish the list of customers waiting.

Yes, two will be of alder this time.

New and hopefully improved saddle

I've been led to believe that this is a good idea. String pressure won't act as a rotational force. Well. We'll see. Sort of makes sense.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Only the finish left now on 29

Another day, another sealer coat of shellac. This might be one of the cleanest ones I've built, and the tap tone of the top sounds very promising.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Almost there

Since my son was home from school today I got some bonus time in the workshop (a real shame the laptop was at the office so I couldn't work from home).

Frets are in, position markers in place, fretboard glued, bridge made and glued. And the uke got a wash coat of shellac to protect the wood. Before I cut the raised grain, I got a glimpse of just how lovely this uke will be. In a few days.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Report wednesday night

Fretboard is tapered but not glued. Top and back only rough cut. And it needs sanding, there are marks from the drum sander.

But it looks and feels good so far!

Not much building tonight. Maybe some fretting. Maybe.

Boxed up

The back went on yesterday, and this morning I slotted the fretboard. I used my Stewmac miter box and the steel template I got from them. I've said to others that the fretting saw from Stewmac was a bit substandard, but after adjusting the box some, it worked a lot better.

So it might have been down to need for practice.

What? Practice on scrap? That does not compute...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Neck attached

Hey, what's this? I've never worked this fast before. I wonder what I forgot? Soundboard glued to the sides - 10 minutes. Barrel nut made from scratch - 10 minutes. Neck aligned, and then attached - 15 minutes. Ok, cleaning up the bench - not really finished after 30 minutes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rapid progress

If you remember, a few days ago number 29 was hidden in a couple of boards.

I just modified my solera so it now has a concave area at the lower bout. Hello radiused soundboard!

Neck carving

This contraption is a crude version of a cool jig I saw at the luthiers forum. Great place to find inspiration.

It holds the neck while carving. The part that supports the headstock is pivoted to adjust to any headstock angle. The hole in the middle is for clamping when working on the headstock.

Rough shaping neck

I often find the japanese pull saws to be the perfect choice for things like this. That is, since I don't have a big bandsaw at home.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sides bent for no. 29

Since the new sander did such a fast and magical job of bringing it all to thickness, I went ahead and bent the sides.

I really should have changed to a finer grit for the last passes, but it went faster than I thought. Ok, I should've tested on scrap first, but guess what?


Ha ha haa...

Drum sander installed!

Crikey, I like it! Works a thousand times better than my home made sanders. Only drawback is the noise of the new shopvac. But my family managed to watch tv in an adjacent room, so it wasn't too bad.

Friday, March 11, 2011

High resolution pictures of the recent piccolos

I can seldom find the time to upload real pictures, but here's an effort.

Here they are, next to my soprano.

The bridges, compensated at the C-string. Or D-string or however you want to tune them.

The classy headstocks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mahogany [sort of] resawn

I cut the biggest piece from last post into three neck profiles, and a chunk for sounboard and back. With a 0.8 mm blade in my miniature table saw, I cut as deep as I could from all edges. The cut got a bit wider than the nominal kerf on the blade, since I made several passes, gradually raising the blade.

That leaves me with 40 mm at the widest part to cut with the (also miniature) bandsaw, or with a japanese hand saw. The piece that will become sides has 10 mm left in the middle, and I saw that it already went through the process once, giving me sides to another ukulele.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another hog soprano

I need a short break from them piccolos... I'll build another no. 1 soprano! These are scrap pieces of the 50 year old Honduran mahogany I made number 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 from. It's not the last, I have another plank at my father's, but I will make a terrific uke out of just what you see in the picture.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reaming peg holes

Not much left. Maybe they will get strings tonight, but that of course depends on when the kids get home.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jet 10-20

It arrived! Ok, it arrived at the office so I have to borrow a car to get it home. But I'm excited none the less, it's a proper drum sander, with feeding belt!