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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

An amp in between ukes

Hiya, sorry for not posting in a while. I hurt my knee and lost, well, the spring in my step. But I have made some stuff in the shop. I bought the amp part for an old guitar combo amp for very small money, and needed a caninet for it. Luckily I had some boards at hand. 

I went at them with a number 4 1/2 plane with a heavily cambered iron, as on a proper scrub plane. Going across the grain is super fast. 

Then I cleaned up all the ends with the shooting board and my number 5 Record plane, which is upgraded with a Hock iron. 

The the really fun part, dovetailing all the corners. I used the exaggerated 14 degree joint but I think I’ll work with a lesser angle next time. 

I glued a 5 mm mdf board to a 4 mm plywood to give the front some rigidity. 

And here’s a shot of me cleaning up the joints with my Veritas apron plane. 

I took some 7x7 mm strips and stuck them together with brown paper tape, so they stayes together while I scored, sawed and chiseled out down to the middle. The aim of course was to make a half lapped lattice. 

And here it is after putting the amp and speaker in. The really cool thing about it is it sounds great, both on clean and overdrive settings. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Back braces and back

I made the back braces from some old spruce wood, salvaged from a loom. Planing in the nut and saddle vise from Stewmac, a great vise for this but I have to watch out so I don’t hit the jaws with the plane iron. 

Then I notch the kerfed lining to accept the braces. I use a Japanese modeller’s saw with very fine teeth. 

And I clamp them with my tiny Japanese brass clamps. 

The whole assembly goes into the radius dish, but of course the braces were roughly shaped before glueing. 

The back seam is reinforced with a strip of cedar, glued across the joint. Really fiddly to keep the strip straight, I ended up paring it straight[er] after the glue had dried. I want a chamfer anyway and I have really sharp chisels. 

The back is prepped with small guide blocks and the cross banding strip is notched for the braces. 

And it is glued in place with screw clamps, a caul, strips of wood and a few go-bars. Not much left now!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

New neck joint

Inspired by an exchange of posts at the ukulele underground forum, I decided to try a new neck joint. Hence the title of this post. One colleague described his method of screwing a hanger bolt into the heel and securing it with a nut inside the uke. A hanger bolt is straight and has a machine thread halfway and a wood thread at the other end. Some call it a lag bolt. 

To get the wood screw thread to hold in the end grain of the neck it’s wise to glue a dowel in. I chose an 8 mm beech dowel. Also I hadn’t a hanger bolt so I took two wood screws. 

I made a shallow slot to let excess glue come out, and the dowel went all the way down. 

Most steps were of course the same as always, here’s me relieving the face of the heel. Much easier to get a good match to the body this way even if most of the relief disappears in the next step...

... which is this. Draghing the body and the neck on the sanding plate, constantly checking the angles and the match between the surfaces. 

I fine tune the alignment with a strip of perspex with a scribed line. Aiming at good enough helps me reach perfect. 

I was going to set the uke on the solera to clamp it down but couldn’t be arsed, so I held it in an iron grip and drilled with my Proxxon and its angle attachment. I put one screw in place before drilling the second hole though so wasn’t overly reckless. 

And then it was done. A bit less stressful than drilling for the barrel bolt so I might use this method more in the future. It felt good to try on a uke that won’t leave the house in a while, it’s Li’s as you know.