Tuesday, June 3, 2014
An Argapa for the Argapanator
Well. You all expect an update on that poor tenor guitar right? I swear, I was going to. But then I got an email about what woods I had in, and I rummaged a bit and stumbled upon some rosewood back and sides that I bought a long time ago. So when the family was out I rolled out the drum sander and brought them to thickness along with a fretboard blank.
Disaster struck during the last pass - one of the sides got jammed under a guide piece on the sander and ground to a halt under the drum. I quickly turned the crank to raise the drum but excited as I was I turned in the wrong direction. The drum lowered into the wood, leaving a slanted groove across the wood.
I sat there looking at it, cursing. The piece was around 1.7 mm but at the groove there remained 1.1.
Next time I looked at it, a couple of days later, I realized that chickening out is not the ukulele way, so I went ahead and bent it. Lots of heat, the right amount of water and no stopping for pictures.
I positioned the groove at the lower bout, thinking it would stand a better chance in the bigger radius, but thought about the upper bout with an option to fake a cutaway if it broke. Luckily the groove wasn't at right angles and it went well! I quickly bent the other side and started on a spruce top. Rosewood and spruce - mmm.
The top wasn't sanded at all and turned out perfect. Best ever. (Maybe I showed this pic earlier, to illustrate the planing board?)
Then things happened really fast - bracing, lining sides, making a rosette, slotting the fretboard for bar frets. The family was as you might gather out again.
The pic above shows the binding strips before routing the channels, and the one below shows the annoying tear out I fixed with a tiny bit of spruce.
And even the binding went on without a problem:
Then an alder neck, rough sawn and hand carved as usual.
But what of the sanded groove? Did I leave that as it was? Nah, I made a convex spruce patch and glued it in. You can see it here.
Now I'm off to Armenia. I really look forward to finishing this one. It will be a keeper, but for the best reasons. I want a spruce top uke vecause the ugly kit uke I built in 2008 sounds so damn fine. The others I've kept are prototypes and flawed instruments, but now after 70 plus ukes I actually think they start to look as proper instruments.