View Full Version : casual luthier

chuck in ny
07-16-2015, 12:09 PM
my ebay favilla baritone needed work with a very high action. i'm not fussy about string height but these were so high as to prevent any facility with the left hand. the frets were bowed along their length low in the middle and the neck had a small bow again high at both ends.
i detached the strings from the headstock and started in with a 6" diamond stone, then decided it needed more precision, and jointed a 13" board flat, wrapped sandpaper on both ends, and was able to hold the pieces of sandpaper with both hands to take down the worst of it. it isn't a perfect job but most of the mischief is out of it and there is no further room to go with the next step a refret.
the saddle needed persuasion to release after 65 years in the same spot. it was easy enough to take down with 320 paper on a flat surface, doing a few thousandths at a time and checking both ends and the middle with a dial caliper. a sixteenth got knocked off and there is room to go further. i was able to make some headway at the nut with the right shape, oval, of needle file and some eye and technique. the right angle was held and the bone lent itself easily to shaping. there's a little more room to go on the next foray maybe when it gets frets. i will think about it before taking anything away from the original. the tuning pegs are half a pain in the butt but they're original with the plastic intact and they're something else that can stay.
i put living water strings on and they are mellow on this uke. maybe they can get changed to something brighter just a tad more sparkle, any suggestions welcome.

07-16-2015, 02:41 PM
Southcoast lights

chuck in ny
07-16-2015, 03:12 PM
good suggestion phil thanks.

07-17-2015, 03:33 PM
Wow, this sounds very technical. Nice to see someone fix their own uke, rather than dump it and buy new! WTG

chuck in ny
07-17-2015, 07:08 PM

not too technical just some doing and common sense. there was difficulty but in general the job went smoothly.
you can't get history back and that's why some vintage instruments are worth the bother. this no label no serial # uke was getting made on W 16 st. in the same time frame chuck was being made in beth israel hospital on E 19 st. the lure of the bygone era is a powerful pull along with wood from forests that have vanished.
the uke plays well enough needs a different sound with strings and so forth, that will work itself out, and i can look forward to re fretting at some point along with some crack fixing. it is an old warrior.