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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:58 am

Thanks Mike :)

There's good news and bad news...

Sunday is a day of rest, but despite that I'm working on making templates for the headstocks. Yes, both will have different designs. Nothing like making extra work for myself !!

But today I planed both headstocks on the neck blanks true and square, and marked out ready for routing for the trussrods, which should be done on Monday.

I routed the channel for the second back strip.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/backstriprouting.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="Back%20strip%20routing[/img][/image]

And glued it ready for planing back on Monday.

And if you want to know how the first came out, here it is.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/Bluestripe1.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="Blue%20strip%201[/img][/image]

Notice the artistic arrangement of coloured wood shavings ;)

And here's a close up so you can see better.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/bluestripe2.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="blue%20strip%202[/img][/image]

It's a detail, but it does start to make it look like an instrument instead of woodwork.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Stan » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:09 am

The wood grain is beautiful -
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:17 am

Yes Stan,

It's Hawaiian Pheasant Wood and it earned it's name because the grain looks like the markings on a pheasant. It's fairly tough on tools though, you need to sharpen regularly. And the markings mean that, like with any figured woods, there is always a greater risk of tear out while you work.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:58 am

Not the day I planned today..

The 2nd back strip glued in just fine, but there is some small gapping on either side so I need to fill that.

And I discovered that I don't have a small enough router bit to cut the correct channels for the truss rods, and that the neck blanks aren't wide enough to clamp on a decent fence. So I have to order a 3/16" router bit. And instead of using a fence, I have to make a template so I can use my router's template following attachment to make an accurate cut.

So instead, I made a start on cutting the pearl rings for the soundhole rosettes.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/Pearlcutterone.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="pearl%20cutter%201[/img][/image]

And here I am at work. I knocked up a quick jig to support the pearl blanks and used two set's of compasses with scribers instead of pencil lead to score the cutting lines. Then it was out with the jeweller's saw and the sandpaper. You can see closer here.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/PearlCuttertwo.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="pear%20cutter%202[/img][/image]

After scribing, I run pencil lead in the groove to see it clearer. And once it's cut out, I used sandpaper wrapped around wooden blocks to get to final thickness. You can see the sections I cut previously in the first pic.

And a word of warning. The dust from Mother of Pearl is an irritant. Take care not to breath it in. I hold my breath while cutting, because I can't get on with a dust mask. And the cutting jig I use is drilled to take a tube that I intend to connect to a vacuum if I am doing a lot of pearl cutting in future.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:44 am

Have you ever noticed that while you work hard every day, progress seems to come in big steps? You spend a few days working with apparently little to show for it, and then you have a day when you achieve several targets one after another.

So, after a few days with the jeweller's saw and sandpaper... yesterday I finally had cut enough MoP for both rosettes. So today I made more progress on the necks.

Step one was to cut a 12mm wide slot in a piece of MDF so I could use the template following adaptor to run a nice, neat, straight, slot with the 3/16" router bit in both necks, ready to accept the truss rods.

And once the jig was made, it was attached to the first neck blank with double sided tape and the slot cut in several passes.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/trussrout1.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="truss%20slot%201[/img][/image]

And once it was finished, it looked like this.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/trussrout2.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="truss%20slot%202[/img][/image]

And then all that was left to do was to apply the router to the second neck blank and do it all again, like so....

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/twotrussrodroutes.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="2%20necks%20slotted[/img][/image]

And once that was done, there was no excuse for not cutting pieces off the ends of the neck blanks to build up the heels. So, for once, I got on with the job in hand and it wasn't long before I had made a few saw cuts, stacked up the 2 pieces on the end of each neck blank, and applied glue and clamps. Leaving enough from each neck blank to make neck blocks and end blocks for both ukes.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/neckblock1.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="necks%20blocked%201[/img][/image]

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/neckblock2.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="necks%20blocked%202[/img][/image]

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/neckblock3.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="necks%20blocked%203[/img][/image]

And after that, it was time to look at the back strip for the second back. After gluing the strip at the weekend there were a few unsightly gaps that needed filling. I'd been far too neat applying the glue originally, so I'd made up a filler with wood glue, fine dust from scraping the back, and added some brown and black dyes. And once that had dried overnight I had to add a little more wood glue to finish off.

So with the heel blocks neatly stacked, glued, and clamped.. I could tidy up the back strip and see how it had come out...

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/backstripe2.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="back%20strip%202[/img][/image]

Pretty good I think. I like the combination of black and red. The black is pretty standard dyed maple/sycamore, but the red is Bloodwood veneer. It is a natural red wood, and retains it's colour unlike Purpleheart and other coloured woods that can fade to brown with time. You'll be seeing more Bloodwood over the weeks :)

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:29 am

So with the neck blanks all prepared, it's time to get on with the fret boards.

I made a straight edge, marked and planed/sanded one end at 90 degrees, scored a centre line with a scalpel and then marked out the fret positions. Like so.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/markingfrets.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="marking%20frets[/img][/image]

And then on to cutting the slots. The saw is a good quality one I bought many years ago, but it is quite slow because I stoned most of the set off the teeth to make sure the slots are the right width. Then a carefully placed square as a cutting guide. With care and patience you can do a very accurate job with simple tools.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/cuttingslots.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="cutting%20slots[/img][/image]

I completed 11 out of 19 fret slots on the first fretboard this afternoon. So another busy afternoon tomorrow.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:32 am

Not a lot to add...

Finished cutting the fret slots on the second board today...

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:24 am

With both fretboards slotted.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/Slottedfretboards.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="2%20slotted%20boards[/img][/image]

It was time to mark out the taper and plane to shape. Working from the centre line, I marked the correct width at the nut and 12th fret using compasses and then scored the fretboard edges with a scalpel. And then with an accurate line it was time to get the shooting board out once more and a sharp plane.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/Planingfretboard.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="tapering[/img][/image]

This board has the right side already tapered and I'm working on the left side. It's important to plane with the grain to maintain control and avoid tearing into the grain. And a closer look will reveal that it's set-up to plane left handed. Being ambidextrous does make jobs like this a lot easier. But it also means that the heels of both palms are pretty sore tonight... when using a shooting board, you grip the body of the plane rather than the handles. Pushing with the heel of the hand and guiding with the fingers.

And here are both fretboards after tapering.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/planedfretboards.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="2%20tapered%20boards[/img][/image]

I haven't trimmed them to length yet. I'll wait until later in case I want to put a fancy shape on the tongue that goes over the body.

And then to finish off the afternoon, I finished fitting one of the truss rods.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/fittedtrussrod.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="fitted%20truss%20rod[/img][/image]

Not sure about tomorrow... it appears that there could be an interruption during prime ukulele building time. Ingerland are playing an important fixture in what our American cousins might call The World Series Cup of Soccer.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby dubbmann » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:57 am

hi andy,

i haven't posted on this thread yet but i had to chime in to add my two cents and say you're doing a beautiful job documenting the project here. i'm not a builder (i try to stay away from anything that can lead to fewer fingers than i started with ;-) but i'm a sucker for the home-improvement/furniture building shows on tv and i love to see craftsmanship at its finest. keep posting pics and i hope they play as nice as they look.

cheers,

phil (aka d)
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:45 am

Many thanks Phil...

I still have all my fingers. Attached too, not in a box under the bed :)

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Dan LB » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:10 am

Andy - I too have been following this thread with great interest, and I have to say your work is outstanding! I really can't wait to see the final result.

Dan
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:50 am

Many thanks Dan.

After a day off for football purposes, I was back to work today completing a few small jobs.

Finished fitting the truss rod in the second neck. Then glued veneers to the back of both fret-boards. Both necks have a veneer between the fretboard and neck which will show as a coloured line once finished.

Then I planed a straight edge on each of the 4 sides, ready for final shaping and then bending.

And finally, I marked out the templates to finalise the location of the soundholes and rosettes.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Friday » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:54 pm

I have to echo the thoughts of previous posters by saying...absolutely phenomenal stuff Andy. I've been fascinated by the process of building guitars for many years now (I seem to remember the trigger was hearing the story of Brian May building his signature "Red Special" guitar with his dad from wood from a family friend's 18th century fireplace mantelpiece!) and remain in constant awe at the talent and craftmanship of those that can (as oppose to those like me that can't...or rather, would love to but would probably end up an appendage or two down at the end of the day...;)). Not to digress too much from the thread topic but have you done any more build diaries Andy? If so, it would be great to read them! :)
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:45 am

Many thanks Friday. This is the first build diary, but once it's all finished, and I have regained my sanity, I might do another if there's enough interest.

I am trying to keep it interesting as well as informative, and doing as much as possible with basic tools. Although it's possible to spend a fortune on specialist tools, it's not essential. And if you learn to build with hand tools, you will develop a better understanding should you want to go on and invest in the specialist tools.

Anyway, today I trimmed off the veneers on the fretboards. They look like this now.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/fretboardveneers.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="fretboard%20veneers[/img][/image]

Those lines should look good once the fretboards are attached to the necks..

And I spent the rest of the day working on the headstock designs. It's easy to put something together, but I want to get something that looks right, and takes into account the hardware and decoration.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:19 am

Some catching up to do...

Yesterday we rough cut out the fronts and backs...

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/cuttingfront.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="cutting%20front[/img][/image]

So today I made a start on bending sides. First of all getting everything laid out and ready to go.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/preparedforsidebending.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="prepared%20for%20side%20bending[/img][/image]

Then I made a start on the first side. And here it is after the first bend.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/firstbend.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="first%20bend[/img][/image]

And here I am a little while later, close to finishing.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/sidebending.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="side%20bending[/img][/image]

A few seconds later, I made this video clip dropping water on to the bending iron so you get a good idea how hot it is. Hope it works...

[image][/image]

And finally, here's the side completed.

[image][img]http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii92/zenguitar2000/Project%20Ukulele/firstsidecompleted.jpg"%20border="0"%20alt="completed%20side[/img][/image]

Yesterday, I also cut the channel to inlay the rosette on one of the fronts, I'll try to remember to grab a poic.

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