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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Travel uke mk II, cont.

Worked on two different ukes in parallel yesterday, but will again limit the blogging to just the travel uke. 

First pic shows the carved neck. It was very different to carve one without heel and headstock; and not easier. For some reason the end was hard to get straight so I was glad I hadn’t cut it to length before carving. And I decided to keep it as a zero sanding project, all surfaces shaped with blades.

... which of course made it hard to finish the surfaces on the inside. But scrapers got me quite close. The soundboard ended up being 1.5 - 1.7 mm. 

Then I cut the neck to length. Keeping a few centimeters above the zero fret was my main incentive for building this, so I hope I kept enough. 

Carving the end grain with a sharp knife gives it a glassy surface I’d never get with sandpaper. Others might of course, I just never developed the patience needed for going through the grits up to several thousands. 

Here I’m cutting off the aris along the neck edge with another knife, leaving a minute chamfer. The difference is hardly seen but instantly felt. 

Then sawing the fret slots. This is where I worked on another piccolo as well, and I took some pics of installing the fret markers on that. But that’ll be in another post. 

Looking at the thin wall of end grain wood at the butt I was worried it was weak. It was too uneven to glue in a piece of veneer so I sealed the outside with shellac and poured in some superglue on the inside. Maybe it’ll help. 

Here it is, fretted. And the other uke as well, the all mahogany piccolo. I continued by planing a tiny bridge for the traveller, 5 mm high to give me 2.5 mm clearance above the 12th fret. 

The bridge and the string through holes. I lined the holes with lengths of brass tube, or shorts really. It was very very fiddly - they’re only as long as the soundboard is thick!

And the holes at the nut end, or zero fret in this case. These holes go through the neck at angles, I got three of them right and the fourth right-ish. 

To finish this one I only need to install the carbon fibre tube and the tuners, then some more shellac. 

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