View Full Version : kerfing

01-23-2015, 08:20 AM
Ive been trying to make my own kerfing but I cant seen to get it to bend. Ive tried 5/16x 1/4 with relief cuts ever 16 th or so. Ive tried 1/4 by 3/8 with the same relief cuts and the bottom edge chamfered. Ive soaked them in water Ive steamed them tried a hot pipe but to no avail they always seem to crack or break. I probably should just buy the them from LMI But I feel like I should be able to make this simple part myself. Any advice would be appreciated. By the way I used both Mahogany and bass wood.

01-23-2015, 09:05 AM
I'm a hobby maker. I've made my own kerfing out of ramin, pine, mahogany and basswood (whatever I have). I always make it a strip at a time (18") and chamfer it before cutting the slots. At first I used to cut it with a handsaw (patience required). Then I started to make it using my jigsaw upside down in the vice with a little stop set to avoid cutting straight through the strip. I recently bought a used bandsaw and now use this, again with a little stop placed behind the blade to prevent cutting through the strip. Trial and error is needed to set the stop correctly so that the slots are deep enough and the kerfing will bend.

You don't say how you are making the kerfing but I suspect you aren't cutting the slots deep enough so it won't bend and then snaps when you apply force. You can always use a hand saw to deepen the slots as and when you come to use the kerfing should you find it doesn't bend. I would suggest that slots every 1/4" should be satisfactory.

When I get organised, I'll be making lots of kerfing at one time on a table saw using a sled and jig, which is then cut into the individual strips. Heres one example of how to do it.


01-23-2015, 01:16 PM
Thanks. I'll be busy this weekend devising some sort of jig. After seeing this I believe I was not cutting far enough thru. Thanks again

Gary Gill
01-23-2015, 01:43 PM
I saw the kerfs on a bandsaw using a jig with a consistent depth stop. I leave as litte as .040" material. I wet each piece and carefully bend one around a form. Binder clips hold it in place while it drys. Sometimes they break. My linings are reversed kerf.

01-23-2015, 09:29 PM
I dedicate one day just for making mahogany kerfed linings..I usualy end up with enough strips to build about 30-50 sopranos, I use the band saw end stop, and indexing jig, method..I also wet and bend the strips on the hot pipe just before fitting them...sometimes I get the odd bad strip that breaks due to knots, grain run out, or worm holes, and I scrap these co's it's time wasting and annoying trying to fit them in bits and pieces :( I like e'm to be all in one full length right round the rim... Mild case of OCD I suspect. ;)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0001-17_zpse13de3ad.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0001-17_zpse13de3ad.jpg.html)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0052-3.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0052-3.jpg.html)

Michael N.
01-24-2015, 12:34 AM
I used to do the kerfed stuff on the Bandsaw. These days I prefer to use a Japanese hand saw and accept that it's going to take a few minutes longer than my previous bandsaw method. Then again I can leave the radio on and I don't have to put up with the noise, bandsaw + dust extractor = loud noise.

01-24-2015, 11:23 AM
I made a jig for the band saw and used some salvaged lathe I found in the garage. I just made mine square about 1/4 by 5/16 I think Ill try to chamfer the edge next time. 1 lath yielded four strips I just stood it up sand cut the whole length of 1 1/4 lathe and ripped it in the band saw .---- 75345753467534775348[/ATTACH[ATTACH=CONFIG]75366

01-24-2015, 05:12 PM
I just buy my kerfing (mandolin) and I'm very happy with it (lazy? yes). However, to add something to the discussion, it comes with an extremely thin piece of backing (fiber-plastic-paper???) of maybe 1/64th inch which stabilizes the stuff and allows it to be bent into crazy bends without breaking. Homemade kerfing makers might consider this. Thin water-color paper glued on for instance? Just a thought.... I will continue to buy mine.

01-24-2015, 05:22 PM
It wasn't to bad once I figured how to to cut it. Soaked for a few minutes and bent right into place. This uke building can be a little addictive. My wife wonders when I'll be in from the shop and I'm already trying to figure out the next one. I'm even eyeballing a tree in my yard that need to come down for potential parts. When I cut fire wood. I see ukuleles in the logs. I think I need an intervention.

01-24-2015, 05:33 PM
When I cut fire wood. I see ukuleles in the logs. I think I need an intervention.

All you have to do is stop. Take up yoga or golf. Less frustrating and cheaper too... But think of all those specialized tools you now own. No, Michael, you must continue. There really is no stopping. If your wife questions your sanity, just tell her you are on "a quest" for the perfect ukulele. I'm sure she will understand.

01-25-2015, 11:54 AM