Archive for the 'Uke 1201 – Koa Tenor Redux' Category

If I can’t take scrutiny I can’t improve

January 27, 2013

I sent my uke to a fellow who applies lacquer finishes to guitars and ukes as a service (read: $$$) to guitar builders who avoid finishing their own.  I got a call last week essentially letting me know the uke wasn’t ready for lacquer application.  I could tell he was a bit nervous having to inform me of this situation.  He was kind enough to say this is typical of the dance he goes through with new clients, but that his interest was only in producing the best finish possible.

He will put post-it notes on the uke with a description of the issue for each post-it.  He implied there would be many post-its.  In the past, I may have felt that this was an insult to my building ability.  But today, I consider it a healthy critique of my process and understanding of how detailed I need to take an instrument before it is ready for finish work.

I’m standing by, awaiting the return of my uke, so I can detail it down to “finish ready”.

Uke 1201 – Fretboard Installed

November 18, 2012

Uke 1201:  Frets were radiussed then cut to length and placed in a holder.  Except for fret 2 and 11, the frets were hammered into place.

121118fretlaying

The fretboard was dry fit to the neck, and index holes drilled into the 2nd and 11th fret slots to hold the board in place for gluing.

121118fretboarddryfit

Glue was applied to both the fretboard back and neck, then pressed into place using index pins.  The clamping is a big old rubber band wrapped around the neck several times.  The fretboard extention over the body is clamped down with a simple C clamp.

121118fretboardglued

Uke Products Received

November 17, 2012

I’ve got this publishing plugin which supposedly posts my blog entries to Facebook.  It craps out occasionally, so some of my posts go un-Facebooked.  Today, I received a shipment of Uke parts needed to finish the uke.  Bridge, tuners, nut, saddle and frets in the gift box, so I’m about to resume uke finishing.

121111headprefinish

121111ukeprefinish

Uke 1201 – Box constructed

August 28, 2012

The box is constructed, and we have an intact uke.  This morning I removed the kerf clamps.

120828kerf

The back was radiussed to 15′ in a sanding dish.  The back was trimmed to outside the side line and the braces were finish sanded.  Using the uke workboard, the back was glued on and held in place with spool clamps.  It was allowed to dry for 2 hours, then the scarf was removed using a laminate router.

120828backon

Before tackling the binding, I will install a butt graft.  Still pondering the binding options.  Remind self to bind before gluing on fretboard.

Uke 1201 – Dry fit fretboard

August 27, 2012

Finished attaching top and kerfing.  Back bracing is clamped in and glued and home made back reinforcement strips have been glued in.  I tapered the neck and profiled the soundhole end.

120827fretboarddryfit

120827frontview

120827topjoinedtosides

Update: Uke Parlor Hybrid

August 26, 2012

Yeah, Guitar Camp was awesome, and now I’m home counting the days before I start back teaching.  I took a uke and an OM to camp, and as usual garnered a lot of interest from fellow campers who claim they “must have one”.  On the last day of camp advice is given to those of us returning to the non-camp world.  One bit of proper advice was, “Wait three weeks before accepting a proposal of marriage from a fellow camper.”  Same goes for committing to a new uke or guitar.

I’ve resumed where I left off before camp.  The Hybrid for Jim has a first coat of pore filler (an epoxy resin) and is lined up for the spray booth.

120826sidefinishing

I’ve installed all binding on the Myrtle Parlor.

120826topbinding

I then did what all good builders should do, I burnished my cabinet scraper.  Ah, what a difference!  Several smooth strokes across the top, and the binding is trimmed flush with the top.

120826bindingscraped

I’m so in love with my first uke.  I played it at camp and caught the bug.  The uke I’m working on now is really for me (so I’m differently motivated).  The top is braced, the tonebars are installed and the neck and top have been joined.

120826neckstabilizer

The neck has been stabilized with a graphite rod which lives under the mahogany strip in the center of the neck.

120826topbracing

First the bracing and bridge plate were installed.

120826tonebars

Then the tone bars.

120826necktotopjoin

Finally, the neck and top can be joined.

Guitar 1002 – Ready for final sanding

July 11, 2012

Both guitar 1002 and the Girdis completion project are ready for final sanding.  This will be a 220 grit finish of every surface in preparation for the sanding sealer, pore filling, lacquer spraying.

120711readyfor220

In other news, I have been working inlays for Guitar 1202’s headstock and Uke 1201’s fretboard.

120711headplatewithshell

I spent a lot of time trying to place the fretboard shell in a random pattern.

120711neckandfretboard

Uke 1201 – Sides Bent, Top and Back Joined

July 5, 2012

The top and back have been joined, and the rosette installed.

120705topandback

120705rosette

Sides have been bent (yes, koa burns easily), and installed into the holder.

120705sidebend

120705sideholder

Today, I expect to receive more graphite rods which will be inserted into the neck.

I also tackled routing out the channel for the shell for the headstock for Guitar 1202.  The yellow tempera was painted on to show the scoring of the edge for an easy visual of how far to rout out.

120705shellchannel

Guitar 1202 and 1203 plus Uke 1201

July 3, 2012

Did a little neck work today on Uke 1201.  I used the table saw to cut the spanish heel slots and to nibble away at the heel profile.

120704nibbledneck

Also for both 1202 and 1203, I installed the rosettes.  The OM has a teflon strip which is removed before pressing in the abalam.  The parlor has a pre-manufactured herringbone.

120704rosettes

The abalam is pressed into the gap left by the teflon then flooded with CA glue.  The shell shown below will be added to the headstock to mirror what’s on the fretboard.

120703rosetteandheadinlay

Before routing out the channels for the headstock shell, the plate has been glued to the headstock.

120703headplate

July 2012: A Summer Plan

July 2, 2012

Welcome to summer.  I am making plans for making progress.  This summer, I have few commitments and grand plans.  I spent several hours cleaning and organizing in preparation for dedicated building time.  Over the past months, I have allowed my workshop to gather clutter and for the garage to collect dust and debris.  The shop has been decluttered and I have located and made an inventory of all things which are required for the 5 guitars and 1 uke which are under construction.  I gutted the garage, loaded the truck for a dump run, swept and vacuumed and repositioned all the power equipment.

120702garagewas

Rob Girdis Parlor – The snakewood bridge has been rough shaped and awaits finishing.  The tuners have arrived and all additional components for completion have been procured.  Once Guitar 1002 is ready for the spray booth, this guitar will be sealed, filled, then lacquered.

120520gotohebony

120520snakewoodbridge

Guitar 1002 – Frets are installed and finish sanding has begun.  Every day I do a bit more, until I can’t stand it any longer.  It’s oh so close to being ready for the spray booth.  I’m at that stage where I think I’ve got it fair and square, but there’s always more sanding to be done.  I must resist the urge to finish it as is, yet dogged by future regret.

120702fairandsquare

Guitar 1201 – Necks for 1201 and 1202 have been chanelled for truss rods and graphite stabilizers have been epoxied in.  The top has been braced, and braces (mahogany) for the back have been preshaped for installation.

120702topbracing

120702carbonneckinserts

Guitar 1202 – Top joined after planing down to .110″.  Next step install rosette and cut soundhole.  Then bracing then box construction.

120702topjoin

Guitar 1203 – Top join is next.  Awaiting ordered graphite bars for the neck.  Once the Myrtle (1201) comes out of the mold, I’ll be able to thickness the sides and bend.  This will be a double cutaway, and my thinking is I’ll build inserts for the mold.

Uke 1201 – Only the neck has been tackled.  I’ll look for idle gaps between steps of above guitars to thickness/join the back and top followed by thickness/bend the sides.

There’s no end to what I can work on additionally.  I have a dovetail repair, some ziricote screaming to be a guitar, some master grade walnut, some bubinga for a uke, and some ovangkol.  And….there’s several exploratory repairs that I owe to friends.  All this to do before Guitar Camp Week 3, August 11th.


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