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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:28 am

Well, the afternoon started off really well today...

The World At One on Radio 4 reported that a single UK ticket had won the Euromillions Jackpot of about £37million and it hadn't been claimed yet. So I set off with a quiet smile on my face and patted the wallet in my back pocket with my Euromillions ticket.

I settled down and cut off some pieces of 320 grit sandpaper and patiently went over Ruth's Uke raising lots and lots of very fine dust. Then a nice clean sheet of kitchen roll and some white spirit to lift as much dust as possible from the instrument and see how I was getting on.

Then things took a turn for the worse :frown:

A later new bulletin reported that for the 8th time this year my winning Euromillions ticket had been sold to someone else in error by Camelot!!! But would they admit it openly? Oh no they wouldn't, they just declared that the winner had 'come forward to claim their prize' !!!!!

DISGUSTING. No wonder Richard Branson is so unhappy, not only have they taken his train set away by some dubious accounting practices, but they refused his generous offer to run the lottery properly. And you can be certain that Sir Richard has my full support, HE would make sure that I received my winning ticket promptly, you can be sure of that.

And to calm down, I cut some more 320 grit sandpaper and proceeded to give my Uke a thorough sanding all over and then wiped it clean with White Spirit.

Both are looking good now. I can see that they both need another pass or two with the 320 paper, but they are getting very close now.

And I didn't bother taking new pics. Sorry, but the resolution just isn't good enough to show the difference between 180 grit paper and 320 grit paper.

Now, I wonder if I won tonight's main lottery......

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Tartaruga » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:20 am

Hi Zenguitar

I saw a documentary called ‘Apanhei-te Cavaquinho’.Maybe you can try to have a look at…Very interesting indeed.
In it,you can see a guy building it,traditionally…
Cheers!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:50 am

Thanks Tartaruga, I'll have to look at that someday. Sounds interesting and worth watching.

However, it's a little late now to be learning from how someone else does it :)

More sanding today. Went over both ukes again with the 320 grit paper, and they are getting very close now. A few 'shadow marks' from previous stages remain, but they are getting fainter and fainter now.

Image

Image

I know I'm being fussy, but when you make an instrument you know where all the tiny flaws are. No one else will notice them, and most people can completely miss what I would consider to be glaringly obvious issues, but you get to know them intimately because those are the areas you work on most and look at most. They are burned into your mind. And 20 years later, they are always the first thing you see when you take it out of the case. Innocent bystanders go 'WOW! You MADE that?', experienced players tell you how good it sounds, And all you can see is what experience tells you that you could have designed or executed better.

More sanding tomorrow :lol:

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Folderol » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:19 pm

Both looking very good.

It can be very hard to know when to stop working on something, can't it? There is also always the risk that you'll eventually begin to detract from the object rather than adding.
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Tartaruga » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:57 pm

Hi Zenguitar!
Well,in fact it’s more a series of documentaries.Someone building parts,is just a tiny part.It’s more about the evolution and the travel and traditions associated with it.(some funny playing too,lol)
They talk about a Portuguese town called ‘Braga’…If you can,have a look,you’ll be surprised,lol…(‘Guitarra Braguesa’ and it’s siblings…).
I suppose the interest is in the story,more than ‘how to build it’…
Hope you’re ok,and wish you a great day and lots of music!
Cheers!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Frisonic » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:09 pm

zenguitar wrote: Innocent bystanders go 'WOW! You MADE that?', experienced players tell you how good it sounds, And all you can see is what experience tells you that you could have designed or executed better

I'm sure I head a joke that went something along those lines, years ago. But then again if memory serves me correctly there was a donkey involved, so it must have been quite different...

But when to decide when a task is complete? There's only one person who can answer that but Fedorol's encouraging words reminded me of a conversation Miles Davis allegedly had with John Coltrane when they were working together. It was about the time when Coltrane's solos were getting to the 20/25 minute mark and Davis, having come to the end of his patience with Coltrane's indulgence took him to task over it. "I hear you Miles" Coltrane replied "but how to feel the moment. How to finish"? (or words to that effect). "You take the horn out of your mouth". They say Davis was a man of few words.

:frown:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:05 am

Indeed guys, I know exactly what you mean. It's just a matter of deciding what's worth some extra work, and what isn't.

The headstocks, back & sides, and the necks of both instruments are ready now. The heels of both necks still need a little extra, and the fronts too. The fronts are the most visible and deserving of the most attention.

I worked a lot on Ruth's uke today. Had a few shadows to remove (I call them shadows, what I mean is that they aren't clear marks but the remnants of other marks. The tool I use to cut the bondings with is a good example, it doesn't make any cuts or dinks as such but in passing it over the body it does compress the wood fibres and leave some subtle bruising) and did a good job. It looked finished. But when I cleaned up the dust with a cloth damped with white spirit there were a few small marks that came visible. The finish can have a similar effect to the white spirit, highlighting a mark rather than hiding it.

I also decided that a tiny gap between the heel and the heel cap was a little to big to rely on the grain filling when finishing, so I made up a little filler and dressed it.

Image

You've guessed it, more sanding tomorrow :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Frisonic » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:35 pm

zenguitar wrote:You've guessed it, more sanding tomorrow :)

Andy :beamup:

One of the great benefits of a non commercial project is that one can afford to aspire to perfection!

Go Andy

8-)
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:23 am

Frisonic wrote:
One of the great benefits of a non commercial project is that one can afford to aspire to perfection!

That is, indeed, true Frisonic. However, perfection went out of the window a long time ago. But 'merely satisfactory' is achievable and worth the effort. Now, if I had a Nikon D7000, a good macro lens, and some decent studio lights, I could get pics that show the small details I am working on. They are hard to spot on the bare wood, but the kind of things that the final finish can highlight and draw attention to.

So, as you expected, more sanding today. Cleaned up the little bit of filler on Ruth's Uke, gave the heel and front more attention with the 320 grit and then moved on to my Uke. That's generally looking good now, but still needs attention on parts of the back and the heel.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:03 am

A little more sanding this afternoon, and to be honest, both ukes are pretty much there now.

Had a visit from Regressive Reg this afternoon too, he joined Bill and I for the pub quiz this evening as well. Was fun, even though we didn't win :frown:

Tomorrow, I start work on clearing the workshop ready for French Polishing. Dust is our enemy here. As well as getting the working area as clear as possible of any dust, I need to have a safe and dust free place to put the ukes to dry between coats.

So Friday and Saturday are going to be Deep Cleaning days.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:41 am

Met Reg again today, for 'lunch' in the pub. And it was a very good luthiery conference ;)

After waving goodbye to Reg, I made my way eventually to the workshop for a much delayed start to the afternoon's proceedings. Now I should be very clear on this point, I NEVER operate a machine tool or any bladed tool after I've had a drink. So not only is a broom a safer option, it turns a bipedal luthier into a tripod... far more stable :)

The ukes were safely stashed out of harms way yesterday. So the only potential hazard was the step ladder that give access to the top floor. And once that was safely negotiated, I was able to start re-arranging stuff and sweeping up all the dust I could. And with the aid of coffee supplied by Mark I now have a clean area to stash the ukes when they need to spirit off between sessions.

Tomorrow I can move them upstairs and then thoroughly clean the workshop and make it as dust free as possible ready to start making up my Shellac and get started on French Polishing.

The clean area upstairs is quite important as Mark sometimes needs to do some work in the workshop area and his son in law has some machine tools set up there that he uses from time to time. So I want to make sure that they can still use the place without worrying about covering the ukes in dust.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:32 am

Just a quick update in case anyone thought I was shirking.

I spent Saturday thoroughly cleaning the upstairs area and moving tool boxes down into the garage. The ukes are now stored there safely out of harms way.

As the real woodworking is now finished I spent yesterday sorting out my toolboxes and generally cleaning up my tools ready to bring home and make some space in the garage.

Today I started going through the garage like a demon with a brush. Cleared the benches and took everything off the top of the cupboards. Then attacked the walls with a broom to shift all the dust trapped there. Then swept the dust from the cupboards and gave everything a good sweeping before putting it back on the top of the cupboards. Next was pulling out everything from one of the benches and brushing it down.

Tomorrow I'll be putting the tool boxes and stuff in the car and continue going through the garage like a dose of salts.

Dust is the biggest enemy of finishing. So everything you can do to make the working areas dust free, the better it is. Just hoping for a dry day tomorrow so I can pull some stuff out of the garage and make space to carry on being a dust demon.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Jonnypopisical » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:26 am

Hi Zen - have you ever considered a small tent to erect inside the garage to do finishing work in? The type you see the police using near a crime seen - set up a clean bench in there and away you go?!

You could even where one of those disposable jump suits!

JP
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Random Guitarist » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:11 pm

I actually did something like this a few years ago.
Got a big roll of polythene (4mx25m) from the builders merchants. Made up a shape 2m x 2m x 4m from it, folded over the seams gaffer taped and stapled the seams. Then put a self adhesive builder's zip on the side for entry and exit. The zip needs to be taped and stapled as well.

It worked very well but you do need ventilation. I used some computer fans, they actually generate enough pressure to hold the whole thing up as well as flowing some air.

It's on my to do list for this winter to make another.
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:55 pm

Not sure what I can rig up here, but it is certainly a great method.

When I studied with Norman Reed he had one corner of the workshop with a rail for a shower curtain. Towards the end of the course a heavy shower curtain appeared and produced an instant clean spraying booth.

I like the idea of the fans though. As long as they are filtered or drawing air from outside of the workshop they could be very useful for a temporary or even semi-permanent finishing booth. They would produce a positive air pressure inside the booth too which would help prevent dust entering the spraying area when you move in or go out.

Fortunately there is an upstairs area where I can leave the ukes to vapour off between sessions. I've already swept it clean and if necessary I can rig a dust sheet over the entrance to keep it dust free. And whether or not you use a booth, the more dust and dirt you can clean up beforehand, the better things go.

Anyway... I'm off shortly to collect some toolboxes and tools and then get busy with the brooms and brushes again :)

Andy :beamup:
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