View Full Version : Solid body thickness and fret template?

10-28-2015, 12:03 PM
Hi all.

Just wondering about 2 things and was hoping for some help given the excellent feedback from my pickup questions.

In short, if I was making a ukulele out of strips of wood, or all one solid piece, could i get away with 1 inch thickness for the whole thing? (not including electrics etc of course)

Secondly, Iack the tools or experience to accurately measure and cut frets, however I have seen paper templates that can be printed - yet cannot find any. I have searched online and they suggested a program (the name escapes me) but it didnt have a ukulele option.


10-28-2015, 12:22 PM
If you do not have the proper jigs and tools to cut frets I would strongly suggest you go here.
I cut all of my own frets but if I get behind and need some in a hurry I buy from Bob, they are very reasonable.

10-28-2015, 12:40 PM
Agreed that Bob is a very good and reliable source. Also, take a look at the Mainland site:

http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/category.sc;jsessionid=230E54478D0CF094BC5A13EA902 C603C.m1plqscsfapp03?categoryId=8

I bought one of these boards for my very first build and it worked out fine.

10-28-2015, 08:46 PM
Thanks guys. For my first build I have already bough a pre-made one as you have suggested however the one I am planning for my next build I intent to put the fretboard as part of the neck itself - again a bit like a Tahitian ukulele. As such, I would need to cut this myself

10-28-2015, 09:14 PM
Go here for a calculator and printable template:


10-28-2015, 10:18 PM
I use the stewmac fret calculator, simply put in the scale length you want, the number of frets and the instrument type and away you go. Remember to click the compensated bridge option or you will lose tuning as you go up the frets. This produces a list of the fret placements from the nut to the hundredth of a mm. I round them up/down to something I am actually able to mark and then tape a ruler to my (as yet un-tapered) fretboard and make a mark for each one. I then use a square to extend those across the fretboard. I made a little square sawing jig that takes the fretboard and keeps the the cheapo "japanese" pull saw straight. Concentrate and you are fine. I can't imagine printing something out (are printers accurate to 100th of a mm?) and cutting to that is going to any more accurate.
Maybe have as go on a piece of scrap.

10-29-2015, 03:00 AM
You can find printable pdf templates for several scale lengths, as well as 3 different fret calculation programs (including the excellent wFret that prints out an accurate template for anything you desire) on this page of my website:


The ukulele page also has additional information.

10-29-2015, 05:35 AM
Hey Randy, I've been using that same Kobalt miter saw for quite a while now. Works great and was pretty cheap on sale!

10-29-2015, 02:41 PM
Hey Randy, I've been using that same Kobalt miter saw for quite a while now. Works great and was pretty cheap on sale!

Good to hear, Terry.
I used a converted small tile saw on a custom rail setup as a fret saw for a long time. This one is a bit better, but I was ready for another home brew fret saw when I found this one. Very reasonably priced, so it was the proverbial no-brainer.

10-29-2015, 08:13 PM
Thanks all.

Anyone have any ideas for my other question about the thickness I should go for with the body. I think 1 inch at a minimum would be ok given I'm only using nylon strings but I may very well be wrong.

10-29-2015, 09:16 PM
Check out Dan hulbert's pages

Cigar Box nation will show you everything from a one string stick on a box diddly bow to winding your own pickups.

There are also a few things on instructables.com