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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926133 - 13/07/11 01:05 PM
Thanks guys

It was seriously stressful waiting, and a great relief when it came out so well. I really had doubts about one of the splits closing fully.

Going forward, now I've had a chance to examine the back I've discovered that I won't need as many cleats as I feared. The braces will do a lot of the work. And I've decided to put a flatter curve on the new braces just to ease the stress on the repaired back.

Just off now to make a start on those braces.

Andy

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Frisonic



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: Frisonic]
      #926146 - 13/07/11 01:26 PM
So Andy, if it is you that's won that £160m how much do you think it would change your life? For example, my guess is that rather than pay someone to finish building these ukes you would instead build yourself a workshop fit for a god, sure... but would you still have time to moderate these forums or dump us in favour of a higher form of philanthropy? Or just go mad for a few years on fine wine and dubious women!

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926287 - 14/07/11 01:07 AM
Ah Frisonic, now there's a thought....

And I still haven't checked my ticket yet... But it's £166 Million, not 160... and just to put that missing £6,000,000.00 in context...

That alone is enough to purchase a fine Mews residence in Central London, a small farm in the country with enough space for a multitude of workshops and studios, an orchard, and some woodlands. Then to equip the workshops and studios, including some CNC machines, get training on Autocad and using the CNC machines, stock up with loads of materials...

And, of course, fine wines, fine whiskies, copious amounts of cider, and a constant supply of the finest, most dubious, women

And yes, I'd still be here and enjoying myself. The only difference is that instead of downloading pdf's to help answer questions about equipment I don't have to hand, I would be resisting the temptation to buy one or two for my own collection so I can test my solutions first

But until that happy day...



Here's a pic of the new braces already radiused and ready for glueing. I've decided to take a few extra precautions to help avoid future problems with the back. So first of all, I've put a slightly flatter radius on these, 2mm on the lower bout and 1.5mm on the other two. I'm also going to cut them lower and generally make them a lot lighter so the whole back can flex a little more once re-assembled. And I've also decided to glue them on one at a time using clamps rather than do them all together with the go bar deck. That will avoid the risk of the go bars rocking the braces over and hitting the back (if you remember, I had a few battles like that originally and have to consider whether that might have contributed to the problem).





And here's that first brace glued. I used the hide glue again seeing as everything was to hand and everything went smoothly. I'll glue the other two over the next two days, and then add cleats where needed.

Andy

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Folderol



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926395 - 14/07/11 07:00 PM
Very pleased to see these pictures. Great stuff

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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926449 - 14/07/11 11:45 PM
And what do you do when you've glued the first brace?

You glue the next one





And as you can see, this time I dug out the Klemsia type clamps because they have a longer reach.

And then, I did some boring but useful stuff. I put the drill in a bench mount, chucked up the brass bristled brush, and cleaned up a bunch of stuff. I do like keeping my tools in good condition

Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926657 - 16/07/11 01:51 AM
OK, I know it's not exciting, but for the sake of completeness...





2 shots of the third brace glued. All things being well, tomorrow I'll make the cleats and glue them too.

I won't comment on how someone else came to be given MY winning lottery ticket!! However, I am amazed at how otherwise intelligent people agree to be identified as lottery multimillionaires.

Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926771 - 16/07/11 12:06 PM
I hope you aren't thinking of being a professional Uke builder Andy. This would have to be the world's most expensive Uke by a long way you if you wanted to make a profit. Have you set yourself a date to finish?


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Studio Support Gnome
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: --]
      #926778 - 16/07/11 12:17 PM
I dunno Wonks.... an old mate of mine by the name of Gordon Markendale, used to build ukes for George Harrison, and oh boy, can he can take TIIIIIIIIME to produce stuff.....

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926799 - 16/07/11 12:55 PM
Andy has yet to finish. Gordon may yet be outdone!


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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: --]
      #926800 - 16/07/11 12:57 PM
I've got an SG i started rebuilding 12 years ago, still in bits,,... i think the record is safe.....


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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926804 - 16/07/11 01:01 PM
And how's Dave B's Frankenstein coming along?


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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: --]
      #926806 - 16/07/11 01:04 PM
Quote Wonks:

I hope you aren't thinking of being a professional Uke builder Andy. This would have to be the world's most expensive Uke by a long way you if you wanted to make a profit. Have you set yourself a date to finish?




Yep.....

EVENTUALLY !!!!

But if I was building professionally I would be doing it very differently. For a start, I would need a proper workshop. And I would be working full time, not a few hours each afternoon. And I would be using a lot more jigs, moulds and machines.

This project is more about what someone could achieve using basic tools and techniques working in their shed.

But once this project is finally finished, I will be building the jigs and moulds for a 'production model' that could be built much quicker. That will include a side bending machine, a sanding thicknesser, router templates for necks, fretboards, braces, fret slotting tools, jigs for cutting binding channels, and so on.

I already have all the woods and hardware for the production prototype, Koa front back and sides, Indian Rosewood neck, very pretty

Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #926821 - 16/07/11 01:31 PM
Go for it! But the Uke craze could all be over before you get started. I hear bagpipes could be the next big thing.


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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #927041 - 17/07/11 02:13 AM
Bagpipes!! I'll need a lathe for those!! Would you settle for Bagpuss?

But meanwhile, all three new braces are in place.



And from there all I needed was to put some cleats across the glued splits... and here they are



I used offcuts from the back, cut into diamondish shapes and bevelled the top edges. Then applied them with hide glue again. No need for clamps, these were all rubbed joints. You apply glue to the cleat, place cleat on the back, and rub the cleat against the back until it grips. Then hold in place for a few moments until the glue starts to gel. They hold in place easily, the gel stage is enough to hold them safely. Hide glue dries in two stages, the gel stage is the initial grip, and then it fully dries by dehydration. As the water dries out, the glue shrinks and pulls everything together tightly.

Day off tomorrow

Andy

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Jumpeyspyder



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928079 - 18/07/11 10:17 PM
Quote zenguitar:

Bagpipes!! I'll need a lathe for those!! Would you settle for Bagpuss?





Sorry couldn't resist


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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928101 - 19/07/11 12:55 AM
Back to work this afternoon...

And time to get those braces in shape. And rather than high and tapered, this time it's low and square.



Lovely pile of wood shavings there



And then it was time to start cleaning up the body ready to refit the back.



Guess I'd better put some thought into how I clamp the back on before I rush ahead

Andy

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Frisonic



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928214 - 19/07/11 11:49 AM
Looking good Andy.

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928221 - 19/07/11 11:56 AM
I want to see it finished by tea-time.


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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928463 - 20/07/11 12:55 AM
Oh, it'll definitely be finished by tea-time, just not sure which tea-time

Meanwhile, back to the back...







And that's the old braces out. Just need to trim them back flush to the kerfings. Then trim out the kerfings to accept the new braces.

With good planning, and a little luck, the new braces were a good match to the old ones. So mostly it was cleaning out the old notches, just one edge needed extra trimming. So now it's ready to glue tomorrow.





And I took some time to prepare the Go Bar Deck of Doom once more, and to make sure the Go Bars are all the same length. I'm doing all I can to minimise risk.



I still haven't decided whether to go with the white glue or the hide glue. I'll sleep on the thought, but a lot depends on the weather tomorrow I think.

Andy

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Folderol



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928655 - 20/07/11 02:41 PM
Ah yes. The case of the exuberant go-bars

You seem to be really zipping along now - great stuff

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Jumpeyspyder



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928753 - 20/07/11 08:39 PM
Quote zenguitar:



I still haven't decided whether to go with the white glue or the hide glue.
Andy




What about yellow glue - aliphatic resin adhesive?


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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: Jumpeyspyder]
      #928799 - 21/07/11 12:59 AM
Quote Jumpeyspyder:

Quote zenguitar:



I still haven't decided whether to go with the white glue or the hide glue.
Andy




What about yellow glue - aliphatic resin adhesive?




Ah... it's times like this when I wish I had all the references or links to hand. But, essentially, 'Aliphatic Resin' is a posh name for PVA. It tends to be applied to the part of the family that has less slip, Titebond and some Humbrol wood glue are good examples, and because they have the yellowish colour those are known as yellow glue. But the white Humbrol glue I'm using is just fine for the purpose.



It all went smoothly, no crises to deal with. Apply glue to kerfings, apply back, place first 6 Go Bars, final adjustment, and then load up the rest of the Go Bars.



I've got to finalise the headstock designs now, and get back to carving the necks.

Andy

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Dan LB



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928853 - 21/07/11 10:03 AM
Looks like a job very well done - let's just hope the go bars all stay in place until the glue dries!!

Dan


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Frisonic



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #928872 - 21/07/11 10:48 AM
Can't wait to see what you decide to do for the headstock and what drives your choice (tone, balance, robustness, aesthetics).

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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #929090 - 22/07/11 01:57 AM
Headstock design... not too big, not too small, looks good, relatively straight string pull. Gotta do some lay out drawings and finalise a couple of designs. But largely head-scratching, thinking, drinking and smoking, until I have a clear mental picture of what will work. Once I have that, I can draw it accurately and make templates.

Meanwhile...

the back is back





All in one piece and looking good. And one very relieved luthier

Gotta get online and order replacements for the sacrificed bindings soon. And maybe see if there's anything else I might need for the future that I can get it at the same time.

Andy

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Folderol



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #929394 - 22/07/11 08:34 PM
Yay! Looking good

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Dynamic Mike



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #929433 - 23/07/11 12:09 AM
So glad this thread is up & running again. Thanks again for all the effort you're putting into posting the 'warts & all' account. Probably a bit late now but perhaps you should have run a 'headstock design' competition!

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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #929446 - 23/07/11 01:47 AM
Thanks guys.

I am indeed very pleased with the repaired back.

As for the headstock design competition... The winner is... ME !! LOL

I've got the overall designs for both right now. I always knew what I wanted for mine (I have a design I've used before on guitars that I can modify), but wasn't happy with the design for Ruth's. Now I've worked out how to resolve that too.

Now I've got to lay out both accurately, and then make some templates. To help with the laying out I spent the afternoon on the PC printing out some sheets with construction lines. I should have got further, but had to look again at the strat I just set-up. It's almost certain that the owner has the wrong pick-ups for what he wants to do, but I've got to eliminate all the other possibilities to be absolutely certain.

But I should get that done tomorrow and move forward on the headstocks.

Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #929456 - 23/07/11 07:38 AM
Quote zenguitar:

As for the headstock design competition... The winner is... ME !! LOL




I claim the competition was rigged!


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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: --]
      #929480 - 23/07/11 10:10 AM
Quote Wonks:

Quote zenguitar:

As for the headstock design competition... The winner is... ME !! LOL




I claim the competition was rigged!




I know it was, my best design came 3rd!!

Andy

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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #930212 - 26/07/11 12:13 AM
Worked on the more complicated design this afternoon.





Looked close, but when I moved one of the pairs of machine heads in closer it looked better. So, I'll sleep on it to make certain. And then finalise tomorrow.

The second design will come a lot quicker.

And then I'll mark out the templates on some 6mm MDF and shape them over the next day or two.

Andy

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Frisonic



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #930223 - 26/07/11 02:18 AM
Looking sweet Andy

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Folderol



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #930448 - 26/07/11 07:13 PM
It's thinking through these details that makes the difference between a good job and a great one!

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #930518 - 27/07/11 12:20 AM
So, here's the design for mine, much simpler



It's a variation on the design on the old acoustic I made and am using on my 12 string Flying V project too.

And then I cut out some blanks ready to make the templates. You can see the beginnings of the marking out process here, but I'll get a clearer pic tomorrow.



Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #930661 - 27/07/11 01:38 PM
i reckon you should make one with the kramer bent-nana headstock....


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zenguitarModerator
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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #930847 - 28/07/11 01:05 AM
a 'nana headstock...

...

... (yep, still quaking.... brrrrr!!)

Anyway, I promised a clearer pic.



And then it was time to rough cut them out.



And then time to spot the deliberate mistake !!!!!!!!!

I'd happily printed off the sheet with the layout lines, measured and marked out some guidelines, and then used the wrong line as a reference and the wrong dimensions too. I used the guide upside down, and then forgot to transfer the width of the fretboard and used a different set of guide marks instead.

So more MDF for the scraps box And time to start again.



Two new template drawings.



And then two new MDF blanks to mark them out onto.



I'm glad I spotted the problem when I did. Should make a lot more progress tomorrow.

Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #931103 - 29/07/11 01:00 AM
And as promised, more progress today. I got both templates marked out on blanks ready for cutting.



And once they were roughly cut out, it was time to bring out the big guns. A drum sander in the pillar drill for the concave curves.



And the disk and belt sander for the rest.



And much MDF dust later, here they are on the neck blanks. And giving a much clearer idea of how the necks are going to look when finished. I'm much happier again now



Andy

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #931307 - 30/07/11 12:45 AM
And back to work this afternoon, despite the heat. Although I did have the cricket on Radio 4 LW to see me through.

First up was trimming the 1st headstock back close to the template size.



And then time to bring the headstock thickness close to finished.





Some nifty work with the rasp and the block plane with a toothed blade and it was soon close. And I tidied up with the cabinet scraper until I was left with this.





And as a nice comparison, here are both neck blanks side by side so you can see how much material is removed.



And you really do notice the difference in weight and balance, getting much closer to finished already.

Andy

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Frisonic



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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #931364 - 30/07/11 09:37 AM
Wonderful seeing these headstocks taking shape. It'll be machine heads, fret wire and nut choices before we know it! I know there's still a lot to do before we do get there but great progress Andy.

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Re: Project Ukulele new [Re: zenguitar]
      #931552 - 31/07/11 01:54 AM
Machine heads have already been purchased, and if you look carefully at previous pics you can see them. Gotoh's for Uke with adjustable height posts. Very nice too, and highly recommended. And the same goes for fretwire, already purchased and ready to go. And when it comes to fretting, you'll see my StewMac Fret Press come into it's own. Nuts and saddles have yet to be purchased, but they'll be bone and added to the order for the replacement bindings for the back. So don't worry Frisonic, all of those issues have been addressed already . Beyond the obvious construction issues ahead, what I am beginning to think about is what decoration/inlay I should be putting on each headstock. Both headstocks are going to be veneered, but with thin, modern, veneers. Traditionally, a headstock veneer was thick enough to inlay separately and then glue in place and trim to shape. With thinner veneers it is often easier to apply them first, and then inlay the complete headstock after.

So, time to start thinking about those details in, erm...., detail.

Today was about working on thicknessing the second headstock.



What you can see here is that I've used the Dremel and router base to cut a channel across the width of the headstock. That's different from the first uke, and for a very good reason. Put simply, I like a volute on neck/headstock of my own instruments. There are arguments for and against volutes, and they all make perfect sense. I don't see any argument for a volute as so compelling that I would insist on putting one on an instrument, and it's certainly a lot easier to not have one. But I happen to like them and am happy to do the extra work required to make one on my own instruments.

And when I carve a volute I tend to go by feel. So at this stage all I am doing is leaving enough material to let me carve whatever feels right when I get to the final shaping.



So here it is close to final thickness with a great big lump ready for me to carve later.

Andy

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August 2014
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