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Thursday, May 25, 2017


We're enjoying a short holiday, weather's fine and it's nice and warm. We went south to the secondary cottage this morning, I brought some uke stuff. You might, as an avid reader, recognize the background - it's where I cut my hand last summer. 

In the first pic the first side is trimmed. Tiny saw, tiny bench hook, tiny square. 

Then the first side is used to transfer the line to the second piece. 

And here's the end block clamped in, neck block awaits on the step above, and I'm repeating the process for the second set of sides. 

I will post an update in a wee while, it's getting close to dinner time. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It only takes one...

First One:
One deal gone wonky led me to questioning the whole building thing. And it wasn't the uke that came back for adjustments, it was before that. Some people are better as mates than as customers, and some are... just people. 

Building resos to sell is hard. As a small scale builder I must depend on hardware from suppliers, and the cones and coverplates are not only totally crucial for sound and playability, they are also very individual. I've compared cones from the same batch and some cones buzz, some sing and some are deadish. So from now on I won't send resos out, I'll only part with one if the recipient tries it out in my company first. 

Second One:
It only takes one kind message to lift my spirits up again. I got it last week from Darren, a short note with kind words  about this wee blog. 

It only takes one kind message, but I got two - today I got asked if I want to participate at a ukulele builders' event in the UK, running a workshop and whatnot. The remarkable Pete Howlett is at the helm and I am humbled. 

Third One:
Will it only take one koa soprano to get me back into building at regular speed? I think so, but hey - I've got two just in case. Pretty much erased all lists of prospects, these two I'll build for the fun of it. 

So tonight I bent the sides for the first. Because I've been thinking of Pete Howlett today I decided to try what I think is his method, bending on the pipe and setting the bend with the blanket. 

The koa is from... Pete Howlett. Anybody notice a theme? I left the sides at 1.8 or 1.9 mm when sanding ages ago, and bending them directly on my form with the heating blanket might give me creases at the waist, but the pipe won't. Especially since I have the spring steel bending caul to press with, a Ken Timms inspired tool. 

Sorry for the lousy pics, I will clean the bench. Soon. Here's the first side resting on the form. 

And here it is, cooking for a few minutes. 
I wish sometimes my form and blanket were wider to accommodate both side pieces at once. 

So there, in the holding mould to cool off over night. This cheered me up! Too bad it's time to go to sleep. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mojo rising..?

The other day something happened. I got the urge to build a couple of acoustic sopranos. Didn't see that coming. 

I went to the pile and looked for wood, narrowed in on the koa and found, much to my surprise, two sets already sanded to thickness. Off we go!

One set is rather heavy with a nice figure, the other one is lighter but not as exciting in looks. 

Below is the first, getting a rosette channel. 

I'm building these to my own taste. Once they're done I'll see what happens, if I sell them or keep them.