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Sunday, March 29, 2020


Hi all! Hope your days in quarantine don’t feel totally wasted, and that you’re staying safe. I’ve worked from home for a couple of weeks and will continue to do so. As everyone says, I’m not worried for myself but it’s important we all do what we can to protect those that are at risk. 

But for the weekend I rented a car and drove to the cottage with my boy Johan. There we finally got the chainsaw log mill up and running. It’s a quality product from the nice folks at Logosol, a great example of a Swedish innovation-driven company. 

In the first pic my brother makes the first cut on a wee test log. 

But we moved on up from the first log and got to processing amuch bigger one. It was straight and fairly even in thickness so I opted for resawing it in quarters. 

The first cut took a while. 

The halves were cut to quarters and then boards were sliced off from the sides, alternating the position between each cut. This gives boards of different widths, but the effect was somewhat negated by two circumstances. First, the core not being in the centre. The Southern side was predictably wider in growth and that gave us a more consistent yield. Secondly, we cut off the bark edge of the boards after slicing them all. Then we decided upon three widths for the boards so they were in groups rather than all different from each other. 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better looking pile of boards. No commercial mill produces 100% quarter sawn lumber. But...

... of course I forgot to take pics of that pile. Sorry!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Traveller finished

Nah, let’s get this over with shall we. A quick and ultimately quite futile attempt at clearing the bench, and a felt mat cast out over the debris, and we’re good to go. Strings, pegs, carbon fibre tube, and the wee tool box - all is there. 

The pegs are staggered in length. I mark the first one and cut it with a tiny saw. 

I round over the end with a file, then drill the string hole with a 1.5 mm drill in a pin vise. The wedge in the pic is only there to protect the bottom of the soundboard. 

And after all of them have been cut, filed and drilled through, I make the countersinks with a small ball router bit. Details like this are super important. I didn’t do this on my first ukes, they were a bit crude. I blame my eagerness, I wanted to be done with them as quickly as possible. 

I insert the strings from the face of the fretboard, tie the knots and pull them tightly into the countersunk holes. 

And here it is. A fugly traveller of a single piece of walnut. The pegs are spaced a bit too close to each other but it works for someone as ham-fisted as me. 

From the back you see the reason for the carbon fibre tube, it alleviates the risk of the strings breaking in the holes through the thin soundboard. The pegs are angled to get closer to 90 degrees to the strings. And staggered to not interfere with the next string. 

Number 117. Up for grabs!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Start to finish

Hi my friends! Not all that much to show today but I want to post sort of regularly. I worked abroad for the better part of a week so the first coats of shellac had time to fully cure. Today I took the bits and drips in the surface down with steel wool. 

And pressed on with the shellac. This is a sort of rustic specimen of a crude model but I want a fair amount of coats before it’s done.