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Hluth
03-11-2015, 01:11 PM
I’m starting a new thread for finishing the “New Tenor Build” because finishing is so different than just building a ukulele. I will be using CA filler for the first time on this one and might need some help from more experienced finishers (I have been using a water based fill that works okay but it takes too long to do).

The build portion of this ukulele took a little more than 7 days to complete, but I could have saved as much as 20 hours if it wasn’t a new design and I didn’t have to go back and re-do some things. An instruments life begins when the top and back are both glued on and it’s immediately evident what it will sound like. Technically, this one is right between F and F#, which is my target. Most ukuleles are a G or an A. I try to avoid this because those notes fall on two of the open strings. When it’s done, I plan to ask Thom Pallozola (Flea Bitten Dawgs) to come over and do a video for me.

Photos1-5: sanded and ready for finishing.

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sequoia
03-11-2015, 02:10 PM
Lovely instrument. I especially like the wood figure on the sides near the end splice. Reminds me a mountain scene. Very three dimensional.

M3Ukulele
03-11-2015, 06:24 PM
Very nice design. Can't waiting to hear sound sample. Neck is joined at 15th fret?

Hluth
03-12-2015, 01:47 AM
Joined at 14 th fret

Hluth
03-12-2015, 08:12 AM
The masking tape for the bridge is registered with the bridge, cut out and stuck on the top. The first coat of CA filler is wiped on. This seems pretty straightforward. Sand in between, and more coats until filled. I think I’m going to like this a lot more than my other filler. Anybody know any drawbacks to filling this way other than staying upwind of it?

Photo6: Tracing the bridge onto masking tape

Photo7: cutting out the profile about 1/16” inside the line.

Photo8: Using pins to register it to the top.

Photo9. First coat of CA filler wiped on.

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Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-12-2015, 01:08 PM
Assuming you're using lacquer, just make sure you use a good "sticker coat over the CA glue. Lacquer doesn't like to stick to CA particularly well.
Also, I'm afraid you'll be gluing your tape onto the sound board.

dustartist
03-12-2015, 10:13 PM
I wouldn't use CA on a spruce soundboard. Doesn't need filling. Hopefully you are just shooting lacquer on the top.

Hluth
03-17-2015, 12:04 PM
Thanks, Chuck, what do you mean by "sticker coat"? The mask is a 16th smaller than the bridge all-around and will be cut along it's edge with an X-Acto knife before removing. After that I'll pin register the bridge using it as a template for the final cut, the remaining 16th inch of finish will be removed with a small chisel.

Hluth
03-17-2015, 12:08 PM
I've always used shellac as a sealer for the top, but often get the softer early wood washboard effect in the lacquer on red spruce when all is said and done. I'm wondering if CA might prevent this.

Allen
03-17-2015, 04:01 PM
No, it won't prevent this. And getting that washboard effect is a good thing. Means that the finish is nice and thin.

Hluth
03-18-2015, 09:11 AM
I'm thinking that maybe it could be because the sandpaper is cutting deeper into the softer portion of the wood--doesn't take much for lacquer to find the slightest irregularity. I know a violin maker who lives nearby who shakes his head about using sandpaper. He maintains that the wood should be scraped to get a flat smooth finished surface. I'll really should give that a try before using CA.

Sven
03-18-2015, 10:05 AM
Last year I made two ukes completely without using sandpaper. They turned out great, and some of the methods I had to use stay with me on the instruments I make now. The surfaces on the top, bottom and sides were directly from a hand plane. The neck was scraped. But some sanding does make life a lot easier.

dustartist
03-18-2015, 03:53 PM
What Allen said. Don't worry about the top. If you are worried about the sandpaper cutting too deeply in the soft parts use a hard backing block when you level it. Like I said before, CA and spruce really don't play well together, and no one I know uses any kind of grain filler on spruce tops. The lacquer will shrink back and show a little grain, but that is desirable. Don't sweat it...

Hluth
03-24-2015, 10:36 AM
Still waiting, will most likely sand out the lacquer early next week, then setup and how to make a pinned nut.

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hollisdwyer
03-24-2015, 02:50 PM
That's going to be a beaut. The lower bout looks large. Will it fit a standard tenor hard case?

Ken Franklin
03-24-2015, 03:30 PM
Sorry, I'm a little late to this party, but I use CA for finishing all the time. On spruce tops I do brush a wash coat of shellac first so that the CA won't look blotchy. The problem with what most people do to apply CA is fuming. All you have to do to solve that is get the right kind of CA. I've used Bob Smith Industries Gold foam safe before and it works fine but it's expensive unless you become a dealer. Now I use Starbond odorless CA which comes in 16 oz. bottles with some smaller bottles and fine tips. The nice thing about CA is that there is no barrier between the pore fill and the topcoat. Also, repairs are easier because it's the same material. It burns in so there is no fisheye and you won't have to wait to buff. You can do it the next day. Also there is no long off gassing odor. I do shellac the neck first too because the CA can look uneven on end grain.

Hluth
03-25-2015, 07:55 AM
The lower bout looks large. Will it fit a standard tenor hard case?

The lower bout is 10" - larger than standard, but I will have a case for it. I get cases made at the Ameritage custom shop (GWW cases) and all you have to do is send them a template of any size or shape. The wait is pretty long--up to 4 months. but it's worth it. Below is a case made by GWW that I stock for my M style ukuleles. The price for these is $95 ea. with an order for 6 or more.

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hollisdwyer
03-25-2015, 06:18 PM
The lower bout is 10" - larger than standard, but I will have a case for it. I get cases made at the Ameritage custom shop (GWW cases) and all you have to do is send them a template of any size or shape. The wait is pretty long--up to 4 months. but it's worth it. Below is a case made by GWW that I stock for my M style ukuleles. The price for these is $95 ea. with an order for 6 or more.

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That is the quality of case that I would want for that fine an instrument. May I suggest though that you provide them with strap attachments.

Hluth
03-26-2015, 12:38 PM
I use Starbond odorless CA which comes in 16 oz. bottles with some smaller bottles and fine tips.


The nice thing about CA is that there is no barrier between the pore fill and the topcoat.

Thanks Ken, sounds like good info. What viscosity do you use for filling? And, do you not put a shellac sticker coat between the CA and the lacquer?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-26-2015, 10:15 PM
Just because you can't smell the ca glue doesn't mean it's not doing any harm to you. Personally I'd rather have the odor so that I know when to back away.

Ken Franklin
03-26-2015, 10:25 PM
Thanks Ken, sounds like good info. What viscosity do you use for filling? And, do you not put a shellac sticker coat between the CA and the lacquer?

The Starbond odoless only comes in thin viscosity but that's fine. It spreads evenly that way. You just have to be careful not to let it run. According to a Starbond rep I talked to the thin odorless is mostly used in 3D printing,

When I say there is no barrier between the pore fill and the top coat I mean that it's because they are the same product so there are no adhesion problems. If you just wanted it for the pore fill then you should do a shellac coat before lacquer. But I don't see an advantage to using lacquer.

Ken Franklin
03-26-2015, 10:36 PM
Just because you can't smell the ca glue doesn't mean it's not doing any harm to you. Personally I'd rather have the odor so that I know when to back away.

I don't think anyone should be using CA or lacquer without the proper respirator. It's not the odor that's the problem with most CAs, it's the fuming that can get in your eyes even with a respirator. That's why I use the non-fuming Starbond CA. They call it odorless but the real advantage is that it doesn't give off the terrible fumes of most CAs. And unlike most lacquers that I know of it doesn't gas off for days.

Hluth
03-27-2015, 08:12 AM
I found Starbond here in different viscosities and colors: http://www.ptscoshop.com/cyanoacrylate-adhesives.html

On my next pore fill, I think I'll seal with a coat of thin, then fill with thick with the hope that it can be done with fewer coats. I tried using CA as a finish a couple of builds back, and just didn't like the "plastic" look of it. Lacquer may take longer but you just can't beat the way it looks.

Just double checked and as Ken said, thin is the only one available in odorless

Hluth
04-07-2015, 06:15 AM
The ukulele is buffed out and ready for assembly and set up. Here’s my method for setting the bridge on a lacquer top.

Photo11: Cut around the perimeter of the masking tape (it’s 1/16” smaller than the bridge all around).

Photo12: Peel off the masking tape.

Photo13: Set the bridge using pre-drilled pins and cut the lacquer all around using it as a template.

Photo14: Cut out the remaining 1/16” wide strip of lacquer using a small chisel.

Photo15: The bridge set in the lacquer and ready for gluing.

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Hluth
04-09-2015, 10:36 AM
These pictures show how I set up my ukuleles.

Photo1: Gluing on the bridge. A jack like the one shown is adjusted and place inside the ukulele, and then pressure is applied from the top with go bars.

Photo2: The neck is glued on using a bar clamp

Photo3: Making the pinned nut: 1. the nut blank is fit in the slot and a pencil flattened on one side is used to mark height and width, 2. final fit of the nut flush on the edges and a few thousands above the frets, 3. The location of the pin holes is determined, then drilled, 4. the front edge of the nut is rounded for proper break over, edges rounded and pins inserted.

Photo4: Any high frets are leveled and relief is checked at the 5th fret. I use a piece of 22 lb. bond paper for this. The paper is .004 thick and if it easily slips under a straight edge at the fret, then the relief is about .005”.

Photo5: A .095” shim is placed at the 12th fret and an aluminum straight edge tapered to an edge at one end is used to mark saddle height (the aluminum makes a light grey line on the saddle). The saddle is trimmed a little high and checked again.

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sequoia
04-09-2015, 07:11 PM
Photo5: A .095” shim is placed at the 12th fret and an aluminum straight edge tapered to an edge at one end is used to mark saddle height (the aluminum makes a light grey line on the saddle). The saddle is trimmed a little high and checked again.

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Lovely clean work. I especially like the last step. Very clever. Why didn't I think of that?