Learning Ukulele 50 Sites Top 50 Ukulele Sites Argapa Ukuleles - one size louder: 10/1/11 - 11/1/11

Monday, October 31, 2011

Carved neck

I'm pleased with this one. The neck is a bit beefier because of all the strings, but the little volute and the throat before the headstock feels really good.

Some rough shaping first with a japanese hand saw, then a stationary belt sander. But the detailing was all made with knives.

You can also see the mandolin tuners. Turns out they have a huge ratio, I didn't think of that when I ordered them. Tuning takes a long time, but hopefully that'll be better once the strings are stretched.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Finally in tune

And that is in D-tuning. I tune all my ukes in C, but Ronald is a D guy. And I needed to try it to see if the soundboard would fly off.

I'll keep an ear open tonight for the sound of wood coming apart.

But the sounds I've managed to get out of it so far are convincing, it sounds really good. If only Ronald would come to pick it up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Side by side

I spent the latter half of the evening bending sides on the hot pipe, or bending iron really. The one piece rim I made for a concert was very challenging since it just happened to be of exactly the right length. So the bends had to be in the right places. But I have gotten better, and managed to get it right in just twenty minutes.

Then I went on to the first of the resos, which will be clad in cherry. I had a good set of sides, but it was of two halves. Luckily one of the reso skeletons had a dowel exactly in the middle, so the joint will be backed up there. I intended to use one piece rims on the resos as well, so the dowels are placed a bit inexactly.

The cherry one is spoken for, but I really don't know by whom. I think all who saw my prototype this summer wanted a wenge one, but I only have wenge for one more. The others will be as good looking or better. Now I make one each of wenge, walnut, ash and cherry.

The third side you see is for the other concert. It has blocks now, and will get kerfing soon. Both concerts will have a bookmatched top of the best mahogany I have, and a one piece back of mahogany that is a bit twisted in the grain. Looks lovely but I want the soundboard to be straighter than that.

But what of Ronald's tenor, I hear you (Ronald) ask. My bet is he'll get it with a passive pickup and that he'll sort the pre-amp a lot quicker than I can...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pesky effin' electronics

Shellac is all but done, it could do with a final glaze coat or a careful rubbing. And the tuners are in place, strings take forever to tune but it works! It sounds different from all my others, as was expected. I'm not used to the tenor scale, so I'm eager to get Ronald over here so I can listen to it being played.

And I got a pickup in place under the saddle. And it sort of works, but the preamp is nigh impossible. I am crap at electronics and have no clue at all.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Concert sides bent

My first concert is under way. I let the shellac on Rockonald's tenor rest today and bent this one piece rim. I'll make two identical concerts of ye olde mahogany.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

French polishing the 8-string

I've been a bit reluctant to call my process of putting on shellac "french polishing" because of all the secret mumbo jumbo that is connected with the method. But after a few ukes and with increasingly better results I now call it french polishing.

This is me doing it, and for a base coat / sealer I used vernice bianca, a mixture of gum arabic and egg whites. It was something I read about and wanted to try. The gum arabic was dissolved in water, and it felt weird to apply the mixture to the seasoned and dry mahogany wood. But no harm was done, and maybe a few pores were filled.

It's a bit awkward to polish around the bridge and fretboard end, and for those areas I don't use the muneca but an eraser wrapped in cloth. The edges of the eraser are a lot easier to use in the corners.