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View Full Version : #6 Western red cedar, curly claro walnut, with padauk binding and fretboard



Matt Clara
09-21-2014, 03:03 AM
First time with a rosette inlay, first time with an arched top (25' radius) and domed back (15' radius), first time with perfling, second time binding. Also, first time with a slotted bridge, where you tie a knot in the string and slide it in a hole in the backside of the bridge? Yeah, I need to replace that as string spacing is off. Other than that, it's a good build (for #6--still room for improvement!), and I learned a lot. Also, first time with peghed tuners. Not sure I like them, kinda fiddly. Oh, and a Spanish cedar neck--first time for that, too.

http://i.imgur.com/zCf9omg.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/MSCFxd3.jpg)
That's my toughest audience, right there!
(view full res http://i.imgur.com/MSCFxd3.jpg)



http://i.imgur.com/ckAcgh6.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/vedGD6t.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/vedGD6t.jpg)

http://i.imgur.com/zwgT8g9.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/ltITliv.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/ltITliv.jpg)

http://i.imgur.com/nG2DXG9.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/rANGfAK.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/rANGfAK.jpg)

Sorry for the semi-crappy image quality. Need to quit using the camera on the cell phone for these!

Matt Clara
09-21-2014, 03:04 AM
And here's one with the peghed, in case anyone is interested:
http://i.imgur.com/dA2jVxn.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/GRzgU26.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/GRzgU26.jpg)

Jim Hanks
09-21-2014, 03:48 AM
Looks good Matt! That's quite a headstock! How did you come up with that design?

jcalkin
09-21-2014, 04:01 AM
Nice work! Super flashy, I like that.

ericchico
09-21-2014, 04:10 AM
Looking good. A lot of first on this one, great job

Doug
09-21-2014, 04:30 AM
Very nice Matt. What finish did you use. Lots of shine.

Doc_J
09-21-2014, 04:48 AM
Matt, that's gorgeous. Looks like you have all the skills down pat!

Any way we could hear this beauty?

Gary Gill
09-21-2014, 04:55 AM
Looking good.

auntieuku
09-21-2014, 04:58 AM
Wow! It's gorgeous. (Also, am I the only one who can kind of see the Virgin Mary in the wood grain on the right side of the back?)

Timbuck
09-21-2014, 05:19 AM
Good work there Matt..I see you're getting well into bling ;) nice finish as well...I'm not 100% happy with the Peg-Heds, I've fitted 4 sets up to now and I always seem to get 3 pegs turning nice and smooth and the 4th one stiff ....fitting them ain't too difficult now I've since bought the propper tapered reamer.

Matt Clara
09-21-2014, 05:49 AM
Wow! It's gorgeous. (Also, am I the only one who can kind of see the Virgin Mary in the wood grain on the right side of the back?)

It's my daughter's monster high doll. She wanted it in the picture, too. The reflection was a compromise, and an Easter egg, too! But not the Virgin Mary... :)

Matt Clara
09-21-2014, 05:57 AM
Thanks for all the comments, guys! Ken, I've got the right reamer, but I managed to ream one in crooked. Took a Forstner bit, drilled it out, plugged it, refinished the head stock, drilled it and reamed it again! Much better this time, but what a pain in the neck. Doug, the finish is the last of the Behlen's stringed instrument lacquer I had, but then polished up to a nice gloss. I didn't fill the grain, so some of the polish ended up in the pores, but I've got most of that out now. I've since seen the medium super glue method of grain filling--will definitely be using that from now on. Doc, I'll see about making a quick audio recording. It has a nice bright sound, very crisp.

greenscoe
09-21-2014, 09:06 AM
Congratulations on a really lovely uke. You certainly seem to have mastered rosettes/purfling and binding. How many hours do you think you spent making this? Are you pleased with the way it sounds? I'm interested as my latest tenor ( no 7) was also in walnut/ western red cedar and sounds good.

tobinsuke
09-21-2014, 10:37 AM
Matt,

Beautiful work! And nice job on all the firsts. I love the shape of he headstock and the end of the fretboard.

Matt Clara
09-21-2014, 11:27 AM
Thanks for all the "you've mastered" this or that comments, but I assure you, at the risk of sounding self-deprecating, I've mastered nothing. I've got my foot in the door at the academy, though, metaphorically speaking, and I'm not taking no for an answer, so, I'll get there. Jim asked where I got the headstock design: I think I came up with it myself, Jim, but I recently designed a new body shape only to find that several other luthiers are using a very similar shape, so a better answer is, I probably saw it somewhere and made something like it!

Huke60
09-23-2014, 02:43 AM
wow great uke and I love the finish what type of finish is it
well done :D

Habanera Hal
09-23-2014, 06:40 AM
Very nice work, Matt. Congatulations on a fine build.

iBankai145
09-23-2014, 03:30 PM
Wow! The claro walnut looks amazing!

Nickie
09-23-2014, 03:57 PM
Very nice work. Love the binding. Very shiny!

Inksplosive AL
09-23-2014, 05:30 PM
I know that shape cut into the headstock back from my old beer drinking days before twist off tops. You might be onto something with a little reinforcement you'll have a ukulele that can open a beer bottle.

http://transitionvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Beers-Not-Bombs-Aviator.jpg

I'm sitting here mouth agape at the use of different woods, very nice.

~peace~

little timber
09-26-2014, 03:19 AM
looks like you nailed the finish, do you mind my asking about the finishing process you used on this one?

Matt Clara
09-26-2014, 03:37 PM
looks like you nailed the finish, do you mind my asking about the finishing process you used on this one?

On the sound board I used cyanoacrylate (super glue, aka, CA glue), although it wasn't originally my intention to do so, but there was a slight gap on the rosette I needed to fill, and the thin super glue I was using got away from me a bit and on to the surface of the western red cedar, which it penetrated pretty quickly, so rather than try to sand it away, I applied it to the whole thing and then sanded smooth. The result is a nice smooth hard surface. Western red cedar doesn't have much in the way of pores to begin with, so it doesn't need pore filling, but the CA glue really got it dead level in a hurry. On top of that (and over the whole uke) is a coat of Zinsser dewaxed shellac, which was there to keep the glue from the binding sticking to or penetrating the wood. That got pretty much sanded away, but I gave it another wash coat before I finished with Behlen stringed instrument lacquer using an inexpensive Earlex sprayer. Because the Earlex doesn't atomize the lacquer very well, to get a thin wet coat that doesn't lead to too much orange peel texture, I had to thin the lacquer quite a bit (about 40%) and ended up putting eight coats of that on the instrument at about four coats a day. I gave it a little over two weeks to cure and then wet sanded it with a small block and 400, 600, 1000, 1200, and 1500 grit sand paper, carefully wiping it down with a bit of clean rag between each sanding, and then finished it off with the medium and fine colortone polishing compounds purchased from StewMac, along with the foam buffers there, which you put in your drill press. Then it's pretty shiny. :)

little timber
09-27-2014, 06:24 PM
Thank you for that, I do have to try the ca glue pore filling. Did you stain the walnut black and then sand back to make the curl pop or was it just that nice looking without any special effects?

Matt Clara
09-28-2014, 03:16 AM
Thank you for that, I do have to try the ca glue pore filling. Did you stain the walnut black and then sand back to make the curl pop or was it just that nice looking without any special effects?

It's pretty dramatic figure without any stain added, although the work I did on the photo in computer may have enhanced it a bit.