View Full Version : Newbie question

12-29-2014, 02:56 PM
Hi folks,
I'm sure you get asked this quite a lot so please be gentle with me :o. Also just to be perfectly clear, i'm not asking for free plans. What i would like to know is where can i find design info for tenor and baratone ukes, is there a book you could reccomend or a website i can buy the info from.

12-29-2014, 03:03 PM
What are your woodworking skill levels? Hana Lima 'il has lots of great info for first timers


Hope this helps

PS. Aloha and welcome to UU!

12-29-2014, 03:21 PM
Hana Lima 'il has the best prices for plans I've found online. There web sight is hard to navigate though. Here's the link straight to there plans section.

You can also look here for some free tenor plans:

12-29-2014, 03:49 PM
Thanks for the advise and links, much appreciated. To answer your question Vanflynn, my woodworking skills are ok. I'm not by any means an accomplished craftsman but I can produce some reasonable bits and pieces when i put my mind to it. I made a concert uke earlier this year (neck, back and sides are maple and the sound board is Tassie oak) and currently have four soprano necks glued up ready to be shaped. On a recent trip to Tasmania i was able to buy some King Billy Pine which i am planing to use as soundboards for future builds (I have a rather large extended family, all of whom play ukes and guitars).

12-29-2014, 05:17 PM
Nice looking uke! The one thing about the Hana Lima plans is that they are Spanish heel. (At least the concert is)

Keep us posted

12-29-2014, 05:59 PM
Here is Stew-Macs template for a tenor which I have used for good effect. A sturdy, servicable plan. Not sure what it is based on (Martin?). I've changed the bracing and moved the soundhole a bit just for fun...


12-29-2014, 07:05 PM
Here are CAD Plans for Martin:
4 sizes plus pineapple shaped. (they are not free)
Also available is/are plans for the side bender.

Paper plans for the Martin Tenor (cheaper) and many other instruments
are available here :

There are also lots of plans via google image search

12-30-2014, 02:20 AM
If you're looking for actual design information as in Research and Development I'm not sure there's too much documented research available. The Uke is such a simple instrument that most builders use existing designs coupled with a bit of intuition for "new model" development. As far as information that could be of use to a new builder, I have some general construction info on the Tenor Uke page of my website:


12-30-2014, 03:42 AM
Nice plans

12-31-2014, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the plan links and advise, i ended up buying a couple of plans from Hana Lima. I can get all of the design info i need from the plans and as you say Rudy, work from there. Have any of you bought or read the Big Red books series. Id'e be interested to hear your reviews.

12-31-2014, 12:53 PM
One of the best things you can do is go back and read all the UU previous threads all 102 of them. there is a wealth of information. Be careful as a beginner to believe everything you read about Luthier. Lots of disinformation out there. Also try the OLF forum they have a lot more action and they even have a Ukulele section although its not that active. Hana lima is great if you want to build in the Spanish Style. Its an easier way to learn then bolt on or dove tail although it has its limitation as well. As a beginner get the Cumpiano book on Steel string guitar construction. A lot of the books such as Sermogyi and the Gore/Gilet books (which I prefer) can be too much information in the beginning. HanaLima has a how to booklet on the spanish style as well. There are quite a few other Forum boards to check out as well.

12-31-2014, 01:22 PM
One of the best things you can do is go back and read all the UU previous threads all 102 of them. there is a wealth of information......

Best advice ever. I have done this, and have a whole spiral notebook full of notes from it. Just a treasure chest full of info in those old threads.

12-31-2014, 03:55 PM
As a contributor to the Big Red books I'd say that it will take you years to suck the marrow out of all that information. But if all you want to build is ukes, then the UU archives are the way to go. Ukes are just a sliver of the luthiery world, but if you are happy there your money is better spent on tools and wood. You have no idea how hard that was for me to say.

01-01-2015, 11:04 AM
Thanks for your time and advise fellas, i will check out those achives and the books you mentioned. I have an interest in luthiery in general and would like to be able to make a range of instruments one day. The whole process is fasinating for me so places like this forum are a great place to learn and pick up tips and tricks. I started with the ukulele as it is a relatively simple instrument and it's size lends itself to my garage workshop quite well. I spent the day yesterday re-sawing some King Billy and Huon pine with a mate. We ended up with some beautiful pieces which i hope will turn into beautiful little soprano ukes :)