View Full Version : Third tenor complete

01-30-2016, 07:08 AM
This is my third ukulele. On this round I wanted to figure out how to add bindings to the process, so I started with a practice build to accompany one I was doing out of quarter sawn cherry. (I read Pete singing English cherry's praises, so I thought I'd give it a go with some of our own ((surely less refined)) native black cherry.) I wasn't sure I would ever finish this one, as I expected to make a lot of mistakes along the way. As it turns out, I didn't butcher it too badly and was able to take it to completion.

Sound board: Douglas fir
Back and sides: Black walnut
Neck: Sapele mahogany and walnut
Bindings: Curly maple
Purfling: Black walnut and bird's eye maple
Rosette: Bird's eye maple
Fingerboard, bridge, headstock veneer: Pau Rosa (I think: a friend brought it back from Africa years ago, and doesn't know what it is)

I finished it with true-oil, which I found a joy to apply, but leaves me suspicious of its durability.

South Coast strings. Radiused top and back. I think it sounds pretty good.

Comments, observations, critiques and suggestions all welcome.



01-30-2016, 07:52 AM
Nice looking instrument. Can you add a sound file?

Jim Hanks
01-30-2016, 08:53 AM
Very classy! I'd like to see a closeup of the headstock. Love the look of that poached African wood. :p

01-30-2016, 09:11 AM
I would like to offer you a couple of suggestions if I may. Its a nice looking and well constructed uke, but for a more professional look, you want to taper the sides. The photo looks like they are all one dimension top to rear. I would suggest to make the sides near the neck at 2 1/2" and the bottom to be around 3". You can use any dimension you wish, my numbers are just a suggestion. Second, I would make the bridge less wide in front of the saddle, you don't need all that wood, 3/16" should be plenty for strength. Again, these are just my thoughts and you can ignore them if you wish, but you did ask. Good luck.

01-30-2016, 11:05 AM
87892Miguel and Jim, thanks for the kind words. I don't really think I can add a sound file. My playing is not worthy of public consumption.

Actually, that is exactly what I'm looking for. I see what you mean about the tapering. Part of the learning process on this one was figuring out how to use my radius dish. In the process of doing that, apparantly I neglected to taper.

I like your observation about the bridge. I hadn't really thought about that, but now that I look at it, I agree. Thank you.


Michael Smith
01-30-2016, 05:34 PM
Nice work.

01-30-2016, 06:18 PM
A fine looking ukulele. Great attention to detail. Can't wait to see #4. There is going to be a #4 right?

01-30-2016, 06:43 PM
Very nice. Binding that even I can like (don't like plastic binding). I like Tru-oil finishes as well. I don't know how durable they are but (to me) the beauty of it is that it's easy to reapply more if necessary.

01-30-2016, 08:39 PM
I think you've done a very competent job on this one, with some rather advanced features too. Well done.

I agree with Duan (Black Bear Ukes). It's little details that really help improve the overall look and feel of the instrument. Even though they might not be readily apparent, when they are right, they're right. And if not, then we might not be able to put our finger on it (except those of us that do this for a living) but, something will always look just a little "not right".

It's hard to see from the photo's if the sides have been shaped in a radius dish to match the radius you say is on the back. Certainly on my instruments you can see this. I build with the same depth of sides from tail to neck block to start with. The sides however change in depth because they are shaped to fit the dome that is built into the back.

Have fun with it.

01-30-2016, 10:45 PM
A very good looking uke and a credit to you if its only no 3 (rosette, purfling, binding, back strip etc. all executed well). You've produced a nice shaped box (nice curves) though I too would like to see tapered sides. Its a good choice of woods. I like Tru Oil but don't think it gives enough protection to softwood soundboards: you might consider using a can (lacquer or polyurethane) to spray just the soundboard.

I look forward to seeing photos of the next one.