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jakethesnake
11-25-2014, 09:41 AM
I've lurked the UU forums for a little while ever since picking up the ukulele, and have found them incredibly useful. I'm finally popping my posting cherry to ask for some advice.

My UAS has gotten to the point that I'm ready to take on my first build and make my dream uke. I'll have the guidance and help of a luthier friend who has built mostly guitars and dabbled with smaller instruments. We're in the process of planning the details of the build before sourcing the majority of the woods locally, but it will be a cedar top super tenor with black walnut back and sides (I'll post all the details once they're decided on (and progress pics of course)).

My goal with this uke is to build an instrument that has a little something from various places I've been, my favourite being Maui. I've seen sand used on Kanile'as for position markers and logo inlays on the headstock, but never in soundhole rosettes. I have black sand from Waianapanapa beach (which is essentially very small lava pebbles) that I'd love to work into the rosette, as well as white sand from Kaanapali beach that I want to use as contrasting position markers on the ebony fretboard.

What I can't seem to find online is any information regarding the use of sand for inlays; does anyone here have any experience with it? I'd love some advice on the best way to do the inlays, and am curious if there's any potential cons of using it in a soundhole rosette?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Jake

ModlrMike
11-25-2014, 10:47 AM
I've also been interested in sand inlays, but I've not found much info out there. The product most mentioned is Inlace (http://www.inlaceonline.com/). They've got some nice stuff on that site. I think the reasonable approach would be to pre-treat the channels with a thin coat of shellac to prevent bleeding. Then a very light layers of sand and use either water thin CA glue or epoxy. Gradually build up the inlay until you're near the surface and then a final coat of your binding agent. CA glue sands relatively easily if you don't let it cure too long. I'm not sure about the epoxy.

Anyway, that's how I would do it. I think this might call for some experimentation.

resoman
11-25-2014, 03:12 PM
There was a guy named joeguam that had a build thread posted here some time ago and I think he did some sand inlay on his thread. Do a search for him and you might find some on how he did it

Jim Hanks
11-25-2014, 04:14 PM
I remember that thread because of the water buffalo :-)
Here it is - http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?96379-Build-Thread-StewMac-Tenor-Ukulele-Kit/page12

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-25-2014, 04:52 PM
id say ca glue or epoxy.

Actually, probably ca glue to solidify it, then a layer of epoxy 1 or 2 mm thick on the top

Kekani
11-25-2014, 04:57 PM
I'd say if you're using sand sourced from Hawaii, keep that instrument away from me (and my family, friends, et al).

Otherwise, what Beau said.

tangimango
11-26-2014, 12:59 AM
Lol kanilea uses the fine powder sand from lanikai beach.
I'd say if you're using sand sourced from Hawaii, keep that instrument away from me (and my family, friends, et al).

Otherwise, what Beau said.

Kekani
11-26-2014, 05:58 AM
Lol kanilea uses the fine powder sand from lanikai beach.

In retrospect, at least its not coral, or God forbid, Lava.

Personally, not something I'd play with.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 06:30 AM
In retrospect, at least its not coral, or God forbid, Lava.

Personally, not something I'd play with.

Haha. I've often thought of sneaking a small piece of lava in the box when I ship an uke to a particularly difficult customer! ;)

davidrboy
11-26-2014, 07:04 AM
733697337073371

I'm just this far along on my first uke.
Here's how I did it. It looks really pretty good.

Routed the channel. Bent and glued in the black paper purfling with water-thin CA. Filled halfway with sand (from my old home -- the North Shore of St. John USVI). Soaked with CA and hit it with kicker. Filled second half and piled up a little proud. Soaked again with CA. Hit it with kicker. Sanded it flat.

If I had it to do over, I'd shellac the channel first and do it all in one layer then soak it heavily. I had a few bits chip out wherethe two layers seperated when I was sanding it. But it was an easy enough fix to fill a couple spots (you can see one fill if you look carefully in the last photo -- that was before I resanded). Sand is nice like that.
I'd also try to be generally tidier. With everything. But it's my first one...

Also, I left in the bits of shell and seaweed etc, and it looks cool up close for it's organic imperfections.

davidrboy
11-26-2014, 07:05 AM
73372I did the same thing on the fingerboard for the position dots, but in one shot. (The neck's not attached yet.)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 07:25 AM
I think the concern here is to keep the sand at a level somewhat below the surface and to flow whatever adhesive (I's use medium ca) on top of it and into the cavity. I don't want sand anywhere near me during the finishing process.

davidrboy
11-26-2014, 07:30 AM
I think the concern here is to keep the sand at a level somewhat below the surface and to flow whatever adhesive (I's use medium ca) on top of it and into the cavity. I don't want sand anywhere near me during the finishing process.

Would you mind clarifying why Chuck? My collective experience total is "1" right now, so I'm doing a lot of guesswork. I figerred that the sand is basically a solid block of CA at this point, and that it will be sealed further by whatever finish I apply. I'd love to hear what I've not considered. I am having a blast building this uke, for the record, but my self criticism is pretty tough to bear.

CORRECTION: My collective experience level is "<1" -- this uke isn't done yet.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 08:50 AM
Would you mind clarifying why Chuck? My collective experience total is "1" right now, so I'm doing a lot of guesswork. I figerred that the sand is basically a solid block of CA at this point, and that it will be sealed further by whatever finish I apply. I'd love to hear what I've not considered. I am having a blast building this uke, for the record, but my self criticism is pretty tough to bear.

CORRECTION: My collective experience level is "<1" -- this uke isn't done yet.

What I mean is ideally ALL of the sand would be buried beneath the surface. One little grain of sand exposed would ruin my finish in a heartbeat during the sanding and buffing process. If you are not doing these procedures then never mind. Also, how do you level sand with the wood? With sandpaper? Make sure you use a flat, hard sanding block when doing so so that you don't sand the surrounding wood lower. I, too, am doing guesswork here but I've thought a lot about how it could be done. (I've had multiple requests for doing it but I won't because that's Kanilea's thing.) My advice would be to fill the cavity half way or so with sand then float ca glue on top. Personally, I'd want the sand to be buried.

davidrboy
11-26-2014, 09:01 AM
What I mean is ideally ALL of the sand would be buried beneath the surface. One little grain of sand exposed would ruin my finish in a heartbeat during the sanding and buffing process. If you are not doing these procedures then never mind. Also, how do you level sand with the wood? With sandpaper? Make sure you use a flat, hard sanding block when doing so so that you don't sand the surrounding wood lower. I, too, am doing guesswork here but I've thought a lot about how it could be done. (I've had multiple requests for doing it but I won't because that's Kanilea's thing.) My advice would be to fill the cavity half way or so with sand then float ca glue on top. Personally, I'd want the sand to be buried.

I wish I'd have picked your brain on this earlier. But I'm kindof a "jump right in" sort of fella.

I ran in through a thickness sander to get it back down close to level. Then sanded with a large flat hard block. Tell you the truth, sanding it went pretty easily. It is a solid block of glue and sand, but it wasn't all that hard (obviously, much harder than the surround WRC). And it didn't pop out individual grains of sand at all, but produced a very fine and pillowy powder the consistentcy of baking flour. And sanding with really fine papers brought out lots of relectivity in the polished grains. Still, I wish I'd have at least considered doing it the way you suggest. Lucky for me I'm only doing a hand rubbed oil finish, and don;t have the concerns I would if I were buffing out a gorgeous gloss finish (which I wouldn't know how to do anyway).

I'd be curious if you'd thought about how to get the sand to be level or close to it sunk down a milimeter or two below the surface?

Anyway, it's my first uke, and I'm pleased overall with how it looks. And I absolutely appreciate the opportunity to get pointers and comments from the fine folks in UU. I'd never have had the guts to even try to build one without years of pouring through the Luthier's Lounge.

73382

Steveperrywriter
11-26-2014, 09:50 AM
I recall that Terry and Perry at Covered Bridge Ukes did some sand inlay work.

TjW
11-26-2014, 10:01 AM
I wish I'd have picked your brain on this earlier. But I'm kindof a "jump right in" sort of fella.

I ran in through a thickness sander to get it back down close to level. Then sanded with a large flat hard block. Tell you the truth, sanding it went pretty easily. It is a solid block of glue and sand, but it wasn't all that hard (obviously, much harder than the surround WRC). And it didn't pop out individual grains of sand at all, but produced a very fine and pillowy powder the consistentcy of baking flour. And sanding with really fine papers brought out lots of relectivity in the polished grains. Still, I wish I'd have at least considered doing it the way you suggest. Lucky for me I'm only doing a hand rubbed oil finish, and don;t have the concerns I would if I were buffing out a gorgeous gloss finish (which I wouldn't know how to do anyway).

I'd be curious if you'd thought about how to get the sand to be level or close to it sunk down a milimeter or two below the surface?

Anyway, it's my first uke, and I'm pleased overall with how it looks. And I absolutely appreciate the opportunity to get pointers and comments from the fine folks in UU. I'd never have had the guts to even try to build one without years of pouring through the Luthier's Lounge.

73382

My completely uneducated guess here is that it would depend on the kind of sand. Biogenic sand might be quite a bit softer than sand that's mostly silicon.

Kekani
11-26-2014, 10:12 AM
Haha. I've often thought of sneaking a small piece of lava in the box when I ship an uke to a particularly difficult customer! ;)

Based on the lack of comment, I think only you and I realize the gravity of your statement. That"s pretty funny though.

When I was out in the field, I'd get lava about once a year which I would send to an office up the hill from you.

lauburu
11-26-2014, 10:41 AM
Must be a Hawaiian joke. Care to explain?
Miguel

Kekani
11-26-2014, 10:58 AM
Must be a Hawaiian joke. Care to explain?
Miguel

Oh, this is no joke. Suffice to say you do not remove anything from the land that doesn't belong to you (which is pretty much everything). Sickness, "bad luck", etc. What is taken needs to be returned, or the bad shit won't stop.

Believe or don't, doesn't matter, until it matters. Ask Chuck if he would support diverting the lava flow to save homes. I already know his answer.

Pueo
11-26-2014, 11:08 AM
Haha. I've often thought of sneaking a small piece of lava in the box when I ship an uke to a particularly difficult customer! ;)

Hahaha good one!

bluesuke
11-26-2014, 12:21 PM
I think the biggest thing is that you dry the sand. We put it in the oven on a low temp for a couple hours to take all the moisture out before we do any inlay with it.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 12:28 PM
Oh, this is no joke. Suffice to say you do not remove anything from the land that doesn't belong to you (which is pretty much everything). Sickness, "bad luck", etc. What is taken needs to be returned, or the bad shit won't stop.

Believe or don't, doesn't matter, until it matters. Ask Chuck if he would support diverting the lava flow to save homes. I already know his answer.

Yeah, I've seen too many things happen not to be a believer. Same thing goes when visiting a sacred place. Gotta bring a gift or you'll get humbug. I got stories.
I wonder how many pounds of lava the Hawaii post office receives every year that's been returned from the Mainland? And no, no one here who has a Hawaiian soul is in favor of diverting the lava. Would you try to stop a rainbow? Any diversion talk comes from recent haole transplants. Aloha also means respect.