You are here

Project Ukulele

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sun May 05, 2013 12:14 am

Waiting for the costume pics to be uploaded. Once they are, I'll post some here for a laugh.

My brother was dressed as a Jester and decided to recover my old 12-string mandolin from his garage, the first time it has been out of its bag for 20 years!!! The neck needs resetting (but it always did), it needs a refret, the tailpiece had almost pulled off, and there are some joints opening that need closing again. But it's not in that bad a shape.

So, it's already on the bench and stripped down ready for rebuilding :)

But ukulele polishing, and saddle fitting, comes first.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Mon May 06, 2013 11:44 pm

Mixed up a potion today. Some rottenstone, a drop of soap, and some White Spirit.

Add a piece of felt.

And then apply potion to felt and start polishing ukulele.

Image

Image

Back and sides completed now. Neck mostly finished. So just neck to finish tomorrow and then the front and headstock face. And looking OK so far :)

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue May 07, 2013 11:23 pm

Have you seen the price of Elbow grease!!!!!

More Polishy Walishy stuff today. Going over the front and headstock with the rottenstone mix. Cleaning up. Then grabbing the Brasso and going over everything again.

It's close, very close now. But do I go back to the 2000 grit wet & dry and do some 'spot fixing' from 1st principles? Or do I roll up the sleeves and Brasso it into submission? Decisions decisions...

Image

Image

Oh... just remembered. I need to make a truss rod cover of some sort. I've got some thick Ebony veneer lying around if there's nothing else suitable.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Frisonic » Wed May 08, 2013 2:26 am

Looking great and on a roll 8-)
Frisonic
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3287
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Refugee currently in transition.
Still strictly project but lately on the run.

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Folderol » Wed May 08, 2013 12:41 pm

Lovely shine on that.
Probably the same for Andy :D
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6856
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK
Just because you know what I'm talking about, it doesn't mean I do!

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed May 08, 2013 11:47 pm

Another polishing day today. Did some more spotting with the 2000 grit wet & dry and Olive oil lubricant. Then cleaned up before going over the entire instrument with the rottenstone again.

And then I got out the cotton pads and Brasso and went over everything twice.

Result? Well, there are a few small spots where it could be better. But that would mean ladling on a load more shellac and then working through the grades of wet & dry to achieve perfection before polishing with more rottenstone and Brasso. But we aren't looking at anything major here, and besides, Sod's Law tells us that within a month of finishing general wear and tear would generate enough dinks and marks to catch the eye at least as much.

Image

Image

Image

And now all that remains is to fit the machine heads, the nut, and the strings. Then mark the correct intonation ready to cut and fit the saddle. So here are most of the bits that are needed.

Image

The nut is already rough cut and ready to fit. I'll pull out the fret press to press in the tuner bushings. And then I can drop in the tuners and adjust the post heights. Then I can mark out the nut slots and test fit the strings. With the strings fitted I'll use some temp saddles to mark the correct intonation for each string at the bridge and use the Dremel and saddle jig to cut a saddle slot. Then it's just a matter of fitting the saddle to the slot and profiling it with the correct intonation.

And then this uke is finished. And I promise to grab a decent recording for you all to hear. Then it's time to source the parts for the new back for the second uke and get that finally finished too.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Fri May 10, 2013 12:22 am

First job of the day, fit the tuner bushings. So step one was to grab my Fret Press and then to look at how to make best use of it. A little experimenting found that I had a Star drive Hex bit where the Star drive was just smaller than the standard 6mm Hex. The Star drive tip passed through the bushings, but then opened up wide enough for the shoulder to press through. Everything was in place, and once held in the press it all looked good.

Image

Once it went in neatly it was just a matter of doing the other 3.

Image

The Gotoh tuners have Height Adjustable Posts. So I took a few minutes to get the post heights correct. A few more minutes with a drill for some pilot holes. And all 4 tuners were neatly fixed in place.

Image

Image

All looking good. And tomorrow I just need to make sure the nut is neatly seated, cut the slots, trim it to final size, and cut the slits to depth. Then I fit the strings, mark out the intonation points for each, and fit the saddle.

Finish the nut and saddle, and the uke is finally finished.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Folderol » Fri May 10, 2013 8:12 pm

:D that's all.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6856
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK
Just because you know what I'm talking about, it doesn't mean I do!

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat May 11, 2013 12:10 am

Easy start. Fit nut and mark the string locations. Cut start slots with saw, then take them deeper with the nut slotting files. Fit strings.

Image

If you look carefully you can see the Allen key used as a temporary saddle :)

Then it gets frustrating GGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!

The StewMac saddle slotting jig for the Dremel and router base is brilliant. Let's you line up the saddle slot VERY accurately and lets you cut a very neat slot with a perfectly flat bottom. Ideal. However, it's designed to sit on a guitar, not a cute little ukulele so is just too big to use as designed. OK, flip it around 180 degrees and it will work.

Image

Now I just need to work out how to assemble everything neatly and securely. If I had a proper workbench it would be easy. Screw down some padded supports for the uke body, screw down a couple of rails for the jig to sit on. Job done. Ten minutes work with a bandsaw and some scrap wood, easy.

OK, a petty problem, I know. And I'll come up with a solution in the next day or two. But still another small frustration and delay :frown:

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Folderol » Sun May 12, 2013 7:53 pm

I notice a considerable use of soft cloths lately :)
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6856
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK
Just because you know what I'm talking about, it doesn't mean I do!

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sun May 12, 2013 10:56 pm

Yep, plenty of protective cotton. And that carpet on the bench gets a regular vacuuming too.

And decided on the course of action. Monday or Tuesday should see it finished. And then I'll find a volunteer from the local ukulele group to play it while I grab a recording.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Frisonic » Mon May 13, 2013 12:49 pm

zenguitar wrote: ... then I'll find a volunteer from the local ukulele group to play it while I grab a recording.

Andy :beamup:

Every village should have one! This is now officially an exciting week :)
Frisonic
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3287
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Refugee currently in transition.
Still strictly project but lately on the run.

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue May 14, 2013 11:52 am

Frisonic wrote: This is now officially an exciting week :)

And a frustratingly wet week too. Waiting for the weather to ease so I can get the uke on the bench and fit that saddle. It's all marked out ready to go, just need a dry day to cart everything to the the bench in Mark's garage, knock up some support for the jig, and make some ebony dust.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue May 14, 2013 11:32 pm

And still raining !!!

I took my frustration out on the mandolin. Frets removed this afternoon. But it is fighting back far more than expected. I applied some SERIOUS heat to the fretboard but it just won't separate from the body. I bought it from a widow in the late 70's, it had belonged to her late husband and I do recall that she told me that he converted it (or had it converted) from an 8 string to a 12 string in the 60's or possibly earlier. Right now I'm starting to wonder what on earth was used to glue it back then. The fretboard is weeping resin under heat (and it smells great) but a hot knife is making no impression whatsoever. Looks like the next step is to apply a fresh Stanley knife blade and a hammer!!!

Lets hope the weather improves tomorrow so I can deal with a sensible ukulele instead.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Thu May 16, 2013 12:41 am

Typical !!!

I commit to taking on the freezer in a fight to the death (defrosting with the aid of the steam cleaner) and the weather makes a turn for the good !!!

But arrangements have been made, and the bridge will be slotted tomorrow afternoon. HURRAH

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Fri May 17, 2013 1:09 am

And so it came to pass that the sun shineth all afternooneth. So I packed everything that was needed and made the epic stroll up the road to Marks house where there was space on the workbench.

And with coffee on hand I found the bag of cork padding and worked out a nice clamping arrangement.

Image

Image

Frustratingly, I could have done this at home if my bench was 6" deeper !!

Anyway, then it was time to line up the router cutter. I had marked the location of the temporary saddle (the allen key) by making scalpel marks either side at the bass and treble sides. The jig allowed me to align the back of the saddle on base and treble sides with the router bit.

And after some fine tuning I could make the first cut.

Image

After a few passes, going deeper each time, I had to widen the slot. Easiest way is to use feeler gauges to measure the width of the 1st cut, then compare that with the saddle and see how much more you need to add. One important thing to remember is that you fit the saddle to the slot, not the slot to the saddle. So I picked a feeler gauge that added enough extra width without getting as wide as the saddle blank.

And once I had the gauge I used that to space the jig for the second cut.

Image

And after checking and double checking, I made the second cut with a few passes of the Dremel.

And here it is all finished.

Image

Tomorrow I fit the saddle and nut finally, shape them, polish them, and tune up.

And then I need to find the local tenor Uke champion to grab a recording.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Frisonic » Fri May 17, 2013 3:16 am

zenguitar wrote:And so it came to pass that the sun shineth

Andy :beamup:

And as the sun sort of rises over smelly old London I learn even more about how luthiers put fretted stringed instruments together. Somehow I have no worries that it's going to play and sound as it ought. Very cool Andy 8-)
Frisonic
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3287
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Refugee currently in transition.
Still strictly project but lately on the run.

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat May 18, 2013 12:03 am

Trimmed the saddle slightly over width, then 'Old School' thicknessing followed. Ages spent sanding the saddle blank to the correct width to fit the slot. And, lets be honest, it hurt :frown:

Then I roughly profiled the saddle with a curve to match the fretboard radius.

And at that point my hands hurt too much to do much more. So I strung the uke up and brought it up to pitch and decided to let the strings settle down to pitch before doing anything else.

Image

Image

So, almost done. And some test strumming shows plenty of tone and volume on tap. And more importantly, I know what needs to be done to get it finally finished.:D

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 8603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Folderol » Sat May 18, 2013 8:00 am

Woo! Strings! The uke's a real instrument now :bouncy:
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6856
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK
Just because you know what I'm talking about, it doesn't mean I do!

Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Kev Adams » Sat May 18, 2013 1:16 pm

zenguitar wrote:Mixed up a potion today. Some rottenstone, a drop of soap, and some White Spirit.
Add a piece of felt.
And then apply potion to felt and start polishing ukulele.
Andy :beamup:

Andy- could you tell me more about this polishing mixure (or is it a Zen master's secret??)
How exactly do you mix it, what sort of soap, proportions of each ingredient and so on?
Would it serve to polish down a violin which has been revarnished with an oil based violin varnish?

I'm a self-taught violin repairer. I've happily learnt most of the skills of violin making and repair, and bow rehairing, all to my own and to my customers' satisfaction and I've made a couple of violins. However, the one thing I've always struggled with a bit is finishing. You can read as much as you like, but there's nothing like getting as much personal advice as possible.

I've got a couple of nice old student violins to hand which were so badly distressed I decided to strip and revarnish them. I'm about to polish them down, and I'm intrigued by your 'potion'.

I've loved dipping into this thread, can't wait to hear the recording! :)
User avatar
Kev Adams
Regular
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:00 am
Location: MK UK
Retired, hurt Bandcamp

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users