PDA

View Full Version : T is for Top and B is for Back



sequoia
12-30-2015, 05:08 PM
I've taken a couple weeks off since it is "that time of year" (party! party!) and way too cold to work in the shop. Today I went out and put in an end graft. I did a great job of making the decorative piece and cut everything in perfect and then realized that I put it in backwards forgetting and not looking at which was top and which was back. The broad wedge is up and narrow part is down (towards the back side). I wasn't thinking. Rusty.

86922

Now, about a year or so ago, someone posted the same thing with the wide wedge up and the skinny side down and I remember thinking: How could a person do such a thing since everyone knows design says broad side down. There are good reasons for this design-wise. Anyway, I'm going to say to say I meant to do it this way. Lesson learned: After a vacation from uke building, work slower and think! Doh!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-30-2015, 06:59 PM
I've never heard of that "rule". I've always installed my end grafts with the wide part toward the top. Guess I've been doing it wrong all these years.

sequoia
12-30-2015, 07:40 PM
The "rule" comes from an ancient design idea that a triangle sitting on its base creates a feeling of stability in the viewer (think the pyramids of Egypt) and a triangle sitting on its edge creates a feeling of tension in the viewer (think of pyramids sitting up side down). The human brain on a primitive level wants to know what is up and what is down. This is an old rule and has been exploited forever depending on how the artist wants to evoke a feeling of tension or stability. There really is no right or wrong here. It just depends on the emotion the designer wants to evoke. The conservative way is to evoke stability. The dynamic way is to evoke tension. This orientation of triangles works in all sorts of design ideas. I think the Greeks figured this out about 5,000 years ago. Check it out Chuck. Powerful stuff even if you are an intuitive designer. Most people expect "up" to be the top side (the pointy side of the triangle pointing up) and "down" side to be the back side (the base side).

Futurethink
12-31-2015, 12:59 AM
I understand (and teach, in my graphic design classes) that principle. I like to call them principles instead of rules, because so many of the principles contradict one another. For instance;
--People tend to see the largest element first
--People tend to see the area with the greatest contrast first
--People tend to see the area of most saturated color first.

You can make the largest element have so little contrast with the background that the viewer sees the brightly colored smaller element first. Designers play these principles against one another all of the time. Finding the right balance to direct the viewer's attention according to your goals is part of the fun/challenge of design.

Another thing to consider here is how often people will view your 'ukulele when it is sitting flat on a table. Often it will be held for playing, which puts the triangle/wedge element at an angle. Sometimes it will be viewed as you open the case, and you'll only see part of the triangle.

Unless it's meant to align with a skunk stripe of the same width on the back I wouldn't think that what you did could be considered wrong.

DennisK
12-31-2015, 01:22 AM
Huh, I always thought wide toward the top was the most common. I only used wedge shaped tail grafts on my first two guitars, but I did them that way. The first one merges into the backstrip all nice. But if I ever do a 3 piece back with narrow wedge shaped center piece, having a wide-bottom tail wedge could merge to that nicely too.

As for the stuff about emotional response to triangle orientation, what if you're looking at the back of the uke and tip it so you can see the sides and tail graft together with the back?

mzuch
12-31-2015, 03:27 AM
The wide end of the tail graft goes toward the top to mirror the shape of the neck heel, which also is wider at the top than the back.

Dan Uke
12-31-2015, 04:13 AM
The wide end of the tail graft goes toward the top to mirror the shape of the neck heel, which also is wider at the top than the back.

that makes sense to me. I've seen it the other way and it looks odd.

jcalkin
12-31-2015, 05:16 AM
During my first months at Huss & Dalton I routed an end graft with the wide end down. I announced "I just made a custom guitar!" I was joking, but I didn't get a laugh. "You have to fix that," they said. So I routed it wider than normal to get the wide end toward the top, then made a custom graft. It was a lot of fuss for an insignificant detail, I thought. I used to inlet end grafts by hand on my own instruments, the direction dictated by how I happened to pick up the graft. I can't believe that either direction would upset anyone. I guess I'm not sensitive enough, but my first thought is always, "Screw those stupid rules!"

Vespa Bob
12-31-2015, 05:20 AM
I had to get up and take a look at my wedge shaped end graft and sure enough, the wide side was at the top! That's the way I think it looks best.:)

Bob

resoman
12-31-2015, 05:29 AM
I've done them both ways and I prefer the wide at the top but it's not a big deal to me.
John, I'm with you on the rules. Made to be broken IMO :rulez: NOT
Happy New Year to Y'all !!!

Pete Howlett
12-31-2015, 05:45 AM
Rule? Are you in your right mind? I better stop now before the designp police arrive and insist I install end grafts....

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-31-2015, 06:02 AM
Most people expect "up" to be the top side (the pointy side of the triangle pointing up) and "down" side to be the back side (the base side).

Really? Thank God I'm not like most people then. I'm usually happiest doing things that are contrary to ordinary. :)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-31-2015, 06:06 AM
Whatever works

Kekani
12-31-2015, 06:49 AM
Might be a Hawaii thing - I've been doing it upside down all along. After all, Chuck is on the island that houses the southern most point in the USA.

You'd think it be an Aussie thing because the toilet runs backwards there anyway. . .

And lately - I have an ambidextrous endgraft now, which is harder to pull off imo.

Timbuck
12-31-2015, 08:30 AM
Wot's an end graft...and wot do's it do ? ;)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-31-2015, 09:59 AM
Wot's an end graft...and wot do's it do ? ;)

The object is to hide a shoddy seam and apparently it's function is to determine which side of the uke is up or down. ;)

Sven
12-31-2015, 01:51 PM
sequoia, you do have the funniest opinions. And so many of them! Your end graft looks good to me, happy new year.

sequoia
12-31-2015, 11:37 PM
The object is to hide a shoddy seam and apparently it's function is to determine which side of the uke is up or down. ;)

Your killing me Chuck. Shoddy seams indeed... Anyway, I was just having a little fun with the upside down triangle design thang. You guys are great. I love ya. Happy New Year!

PS: There is evidence that the end graft does influence the sound of the ukulele and functions beyond a mere design element.

ProfChris
01-01-2016, 01:33 AM
PS: There is evidence that the end graft does influence the sound of the ukulele and functions beyond a mere design element.

Ooh, can I guess? Is it hidden in a sacred text, accessible only via numerology? :D

erich@muttcrew.net
01-01-2016, 02:29 AM
Most people expect "up" to be the top side (the pointy side of the triangle pointing up) and "down" side to be the back side (the base side).

Good thing you're not running an ice cream shop - when you tell people the pointy end has to go up.....

Michael N.
01-01-2016, 04:09 AM
Wide part to the top. That's how it was traditionally done on romantic guitars.

erich@muttcrew.net
01-01-2016, 05:09 AM
Wide part to the top. That's how it was traditionally done on romantic guitars.

and has been done on classical guitars, jazz guitars, western guitars ....

BlackBearUkes
01-01-2016, 08:32 AM
It matters not which direction the trim is pointed. I did notice that the graft seems a bit too wide for a uke IMO. The wider the graft, the less the side wood is glued to the bottom block. I would think you would want most of the side wood glued down with little trim. Trim is just trim, and I can't believe it would offer anything for sound production, just decoration.

sequoia
01-01-2016, 11:12 AM
The part about the trim adding to the sound of the ukulele was just my poor attempt at a joke and was written at 2:00 am after coming home from a New Year's Eve party.

All kidding aside however, your observation that the wide trim could weaken the side wood to tail block joint is no joke and I tend to agree you. Where once you had one seam you now have two seams and less glued area for the sides. If you count the joints in the 3-ply decorative purfling, you now have 8 seams instead of 1! I am confident however that there is still plenty of integrity in the joints that there will be no structural issues. But you are right; there was a sacrifice in structural integrity all for the sake of art and mere vanity and that is not sound lutherie.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-01-2016, 03:15 PM
I rout the area for the end graft and don't take it down as far as the end block. If anything that "might" make the joint even stronger.

sequoia
01-01-2016, 04:33 PM
My only really serious joint failure building ukes actually happened at this end block to side connection. It was early on in the building phase before top or back went on and was easily remedied by sanding and re-gluing. No foul no harm done. But it did bring home to me that there are a lot of forces acting here on some small wood real estate. It did not involve an end graft but there were three things I did wrong:

1) I under glued. (I tend to be stingy with glue because I dislike excessive squeeze out and I'm just naturally a stingy person. Just the right amount of glue is so, so important and an underrated skill)
2) I over clamped. (I tend to over clamp sometimes just because I can goddammit. Another one of my sins which I still fight. Back-off Ukeboy, backoff)
3) I horsed the sides into a mold after only waiting 3 hours (Titebond should have 24 hours before stressing) and to boot it was a cold day in the shop thus the whole thing gave away.

That is good advice Chuck, but I cut my rabbet(? wrong word. what is that cut called???) with a sharp dove-tail saw and have to cut all the way through to the end block so I can chisel out the waste. Your way would be much, much stronger and no joke, this is an important joint that has to not give away under any circumstances whatsoever. This might be an instance where dangerous fast spinning sharp pieces of steel (routers) might be justified, but I'm sticking with my saw.