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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bending sides, my method pt 2

So here is the last half of my bending documentation.

In the first pic the wood is hot and has started to yield. The waist caul is down to the bottom and I've started on the lower bout.

In the next pic both bouts are done. Then I turn the heat off for some minutes.

I release the blanket and remove the foil from the outside of the piece. At least from both bouts. Then I put the blanket back and cook it for a few minutes more. This last step is to dry the wood.

 In the last pic, the side rests in a holding form. No springback, no hassle.

Also, as you may have noticed, I don't use spring steel slats and I don't use a thermometer. This is easy and fast, I spend around 15 minutes from start to finish on each side.

But I really like one piece sides, those I make on the bending iron.

Bending sides, my method pt 1

When I make two piece soprano sides, I whip out ye olde bending machine. There are scattered pics around this blog but tonight I'll make two posts with some pics of the different steps.

First pic is of how I wet the piece of koa. I don't soak it, just give it a quick rinse.

Then I wrap it in aluminium foil, keeping the neck end marked with an N, and the inside with an I. 

Third pic shows the ready package. The I is replaced with a U, for outside (in Swedish). The line is the waist location.

I bend with a heating blanket I got made for this bender. First the side is clamped gently with the waist caul.

The last pic in this post shows the very nice control unit my father in law made for me. He explained how it works but I didn't understand. But when I slide the thing on top of the other thing, it controls the heat.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Well I might have stuff left to read tonight, but these three have taken leaps forward.

The piccolos have fret slots, markers and nut ledge, and they've been sanded smooth.

Robin's new soprano has its neck and back on, and I found a really good fretboard.

And to the left is the soundboard for the Bad Cop signature model. It's gonna be very similar to Robin's, but Bad Cop wants some vulgar inlay...

Glueing back on Robin's koa soprano

I've had trouble glueing backs recently. But this is a good setup. I still need better go bars, but these work surprisingly well.

I also put a coat of shellac on the inside, first time I've done that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Top braced, sides glued

With a small effort this evening, I got Robin's uke this far. Soon something's gotta happen to make it slow down. To get it all to that dreadful state where nothing happens for weeks.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another uke, same old mess

I really need to clean off the bench. But I just wanted to show what I managed to make today, despite the fact I've been cleaning the apartment all day.

Sides bent, end block glued, soundhole cut, bridge patch glued, braces cut but not glued... on BaronK's koa soprano. Nag-o-meter's been busted for ages. He needs it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Back bracing on a piccolo

With the first half-finished one lying next to it, the new piccolo gets its back braces. I always put them in before the back goes on.

So, with the concerts finished, a soprano done and these two under way, I guess I'm doing good so far this year.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Koa soprano done

Finally I'm satisfied with the finish! As usual, strings are still stretching etc but initial impressions are extremely good.

And as you can see, with 40 ukes between them, the design hasn't strayed that far. (My first soprano below the latest, in the picture.)