Archive for the 'Uke 1001 – Bubinga Tenor' Category

Uke 1001 – Bubinga Sanded

December 22, 2010

I’ve been working on Guitar 1001 all day, but took a little time to sand down the back of the uke to see how this Bubinga stuff is going to look once finished.


Uke 1001 – Test Uke advances past the quarterfinals

December 11, 2010

I think I’ll give this uke a name, other than Test Uke.  I’ve always resisted anthropomorphizing my possessions, as it puts too much pressure on them.  They lament, they worry, they feel like they just can’t live up to a name.  But, fuck ’em.  I’m going to call this uke Stutter.  Stutter just can’t seem to finish a phrase.  Each step has one little thing that could be better.  Sure, if you stand back everything looks great.  Get a little closer, and you feel bad for the little feller.  Because of Stutter, the world will be a better place.  Every uke that comes after Stutter will have learned from him and be better for it.

I believe, actually, that Stutter will sound great, and be fun to play.  Maybe his name will change, and be more about his looks than his voice.  Until then, he’s Stutter.


I installed the fretwire after shaping the soundhole end of the fretboard.  I’m using a mandolin fretwire, hoping to see if this gauge would be better than a standard guitar fretwire.  The next uke will use standard, and I can compare.

Using the amazing rubber band, I glued the fretboard to the uke, and didn’t even need to index.


Uke 1001 – Bound and Banded

December 4, 2010

I am using a plastic cream for the binding and a BWB for the top purfling.  I’ve learned many things building this first uke, and the binding/purfling channel challenge is one of them.  Spanish heel neck makes hand chiselling around the neck and heel necessary.  I’m just not as smooth as a router bit.

Before binding:


First, install the back binding.  No purfling here.


The top has the purfling.  Using vinyl cement is sure a lot cleaner than white glue.


The giant elastic band has proven really effective.  The binding comes out completely trim with the body, with no gaps.

Uke 1001 – Mission Accomplished

November 28, 2010

Like GWBush, I’m a bit premature in claiming mission accomplishment.  But, I have accomplished the major construction piece of my first uke.  It’s a box with a neck.



Before I move on to the binding install and the fretboard install, I’ll get back to Guitar 1001 which is awaiting the neck shaping before moving on to the finish work (water based lacquer finish).

Uke 1001 – Body kerfed and closed up

November 28, 2010

Heads down work today.  After cracking a side, repairing and letting set, I applied a 15 foot radius to the back and glued on the kerf.


A few hours later, I sanded down the kerf and glued the back on and secured with spool clamps (left over from my first guitar build).


In another hour, I’m back down to the man cave to release the clamps and trim back the overhang.  It should actually look like a uke.

Uke 1001 – Sides glued to top

November 27, 2010

The top is glued to the neck before attaching sides.  The top nestles into the top of the neck, which is a one piece spanish heel design.  The top and neck are indexed with pins to keep the top from skating when gluing and clamping.



Once the neck and top are joined, the sides can be glued using a special workboard designed for the soprano uke using a spanish heel.  The top and neck are laid face down on the workboard, which has two waist clamps to push the sides together, into the spanish heel slots and against the heel block which has already been glued in place.


After one side has been glued and clamped, the other side is installed.  Spool clamps hold the sides against the top, and C clamps hold the sides against the heel block.


Kerfing will be added to secure the joint between the top and the sides.


Uke 1001 – Installing braces and bridge plate

November 26, 2010

The braces and center patch for the back plate have been installed.  The braces are radiused to 15 feet to give the back a dome shape.


The top’s soundhole has been cut, and bracing, tone bar and bridge plate have been installed.


Uke 1001 – Progress on neck

November 16, 2010

Neck nibbling, tapering, shaping and installing of the headstock veneer.





Uke 1001 – Rosette

November 5, 2010

Time to fall back.  Since I’m gaining an hour this weekend, I’m sure I’ll get a lot done.  The uke sides are sitting in a mold, the back is waiting to be thicknessed, and the top is ready for bracing.


Uke 1001 – Bent sides into the Holding Form

November 1, 2010

Side bending went swimmingly.   Did a little cleaning up of a few minor flat spots from the bending which are a result of the sides being a wee bit thicker than ideal.  The holding frame works really well and I’m considering building for guitars as well.


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