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cml
03-26-2016, 08:50 AM
I recently started a build after being inspired by another thread here in the lounge, and here is my progress report for anyone interested (I think at least Al is :)).

There's been a couple of weeks since my last time in the workshop but I was able to put in an hour today as well. Last time I roughed out the body from a pine board, which can be seen in the attachments. Today was all about making a turn around because I did not want to use a tattoo grip. With a grip I would be limited to what I could find on ebay with regads to string spacing

Instead I went a different route and had to improvise a bit. I took a screw and cut out some groves in it for the strings. Since I dont have access to a lathe, I used the drill press and a quick solution with a saw blade. Worked like a charm :)! After that I cut out the bridge from a bent aluminium profile and roughed it out to the shape it should be. Still needs to be fine tuned when I get the plastic tubing that will be the saddle.

That's basically where I am at, and I cant do anything else until I get deliveries from various sellers on Ebay. Tuners, fretwire and pickup are all arriving between now and April 26th.

Still need to figure out a way to use the drill press for setting the frets, without making a tool like I've seen here in the lounge. Any suggestions would be very welcome :)!

8972589726897308972789728.

Cheers,
CML

Inksplosive AL
03-27-2016, 09:14 AM
This guy just uses a cheap Harbor freight hammer. I have used the same hammer modifying my Ruger LCP. ;)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K2GIB4uz3U

DanielHulbert
03-27-2016, 03:00 PM
Looking good. Keep it up.

Sven
03-27-2016, 08:12 PM
I once made a video that I posted on youtube, showing how I press the frets into necks with a clamp. It would be very similar because on those ukes I don't have separate fretboards.

Here, I found it:

http://youtu.be/RthpRCyEAnM

cml
03-27-2016, 10:52 PM
Very helpful videos, they will help alot. Fretting is what I think will be the biggest challenge with this build for me...
To be prudent, I'll do a test run before attempting it on the uke :).
Do you guys think a hacksaw blade is too wide to cut the slots with?

Cheers and hope you all have been enjoying easter!
//CML

Timbuck
03-28-2016, 03:28 AM
Still need to figure out a way to use the drill press for setting the frets, without making a tool like I've seen here in the lounge. Any suggestions would be very welcome :)!

8972589726897308972789728.

Cheers,
CML
Just use a flat headed bolt in the drill press, or a piece of hardwood dowel...once youve pressed one end in you just shuffle it along the crown pressing as you go :)

Titchtheclown
03-28-2016, 09:56 AM
Do you guys think a hacksaw blade is too wide to cut the slots with?


//CML

It depends on the hacksaw blade and what you do to it. Here is a link to some tests i did.

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/forum/topics/things-that-work-as-fret-saws-and-some-that-don-t

cml
03-28-2016, 07:46 PM
Thanks Ken and Titch!

Titchtheclown
03-28-2016, 10:59 PM
No worries. Some people over think or under use what they have. It appears that most things sold as dovetail saws will work but the variety of things that will work if you fiddle with them a little bit is enormous. Just cut a test slot and try it out. If it is too wide ckeck out how wide the steel is and if possible hammer it flat or give it a rub with a file or diamond stone. If it is not wide enough widen the set if you can.

I just spent a half hour or so sharpening and adjusting the set on my dovetail saw and now it is doing exactly what I want it to (a 0.7mm kerf) the kerf does tend to narrow a bit with use but by use I mean I have done a good 40 or so fretboards in Australian hardwoods before I noticed a problem.

Timbuck
03-29-2016, 03:01 AM
When you've finished this Electric Travel Uke ...Are you going to make an Electric Travel Amp to play it thro' ;)

Andyk
03-29-2016, 05:14 AM
When you've finished this Electric Travel Uke ...Are you going to make an Electric Travel Amp to play it thro' ;)

or go for something like this instead:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nux-GP-1-Guitar-Plug-Headphones/dp/B00EHK8HA4

Disclaimer: not used one of these. Not intending to use one of these. Expect that 10 investment to providde a crap sound. Description on Amazon says it produces a "British sound" ... is that a northern or southern British sound I wonder...

cml
03-29-2016, 05:46 AM
Haha, I wish I could build one Ken!

On a more serious note, I went for the very unserious amp here:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MINI-3W-GUITAR-AMP-AMPLIFIER-Bass-Guitar-Practice-FREE-SHIPPING-UK-/141362501816?hash=item20e9dc98b8:g:oTUAAOxy8HlSagl r

I expect stellar sound and quality for my investment ;).

On the other hand though, it's tiny, so it'll match the uke.

cml
04-10-2016, 08:37 AM
There's been a couple of weeks, and I've had delivery of some of the items needed for the build. Fretwire and tuners showed up so I decided to give that a go today!

A little mishap when drilling one of the holes, but was able to clean that up nicely. Tuners fit like a charm.

Fretting is what I was dreading with this build, it looks so easy when someone who knows his/her stuff does it but I knew it would be difficult for a beginner. I was right, and I am glad I did a few practice runs on scrap pieces of wood. All in all it turned out pretty okay I think, they are pretty level - but not perfectly so.

At this stage I am guessing that one should do fret leveling, which I dont forsee any issues with, but the step after that I have no clue how to go about - i.e. crowning. I dont own a crowning file and buying one just for this build seems a bit excessive. Any ideas on how to do it without one, or would I be better off leaving them as is now?

9010790108901099011090111

Cheers and have a nice evening folks!
//CML

cml
04-11-2016, 06:53 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLL8vbDhluo&nohtml5=False

Problem solved?

cml
04-27-2016, 05:14 AM
I could really use some help from you fine folks...

I am in the process of applying coats of tru-oil, and I just finished coat no 4 a few minutes ago. How many coats do you reckon one should do?
Google didnt give me a straight answer, on a guitar forum I read as many as 12+ coats, a video from mya-moe said 4 coats, and a mandolin luthier said that even 1-2 could do the job...

What's your advice? :)

sequoia
04-27-2016, 05:27 PM
I've only used the stuff on gun stocks and I can say it takes many, many coats. Four coats and you are just getting started. The key is many very THIN (thin!) coats. Resist the temptation to slather the stuff on. Patience is key. This is not an instant gratification process. You are done when it is done. I would say 12 plus coats is not unrealistic. But that is 12+ thin coats. However, gun stocks are not ukuleles: Beware over doing it. Too much and it could kill the tone. Good luck!

cml
04-28-2016, 06:41 AM
I've only used the stuff on gun stocks and I can say it takes many, many coats. Four coats and you are just getting started. The key is many very THIN (thin!) coats. Resist the temptation to slather the stuff on. Patience is key. This is not an instant gratification process. You are done when it is done. I would say 12 plus coats is not unrealistic. But that is 12+ thin coats. However, gun stocks are not ukuleles: Beware over doing it. Too much and it could kill the tone. Good luck!
Thanks for your input Sequoia!

Aye, thin layers are the key as well as wiping away all excess - learnt that from the video from Mya Moe. I've been using just a few drops on a lint free paper towel to apply it, then wiping off excess with the grain. The results are actually starting to look really nice, coat no 5 went on today and even before that it looked "done". Gordon says Mya Moe uses four coats so I guess that is enough to protect the uke, the rest is just a preference on looks I think. I am guessing I'll have to decide when I think it looks good and stop there, it might be tomorrow when no 5 has hardened or it might be in a week at coat 12...we'll see :)!

I know it's not an instant gratification process, finishing takes time (heck, each coats needs to harden for 24 hours ;)), and tbh I am quite glad this whole project has been that way. Too much stuff today IS instant gratification so it's been quite nice to have a project that has spanned a few months. It's been very rewarding to have something to work with, on and off these last few months! I do look forward to when it's done though, of course.

There hasnt been too much interest in this thread (most replies are my own) which I guess is because it's not very interesting for professional builders ;), but for me personally, it's been a learning experience and it's been great to document the progress - if only for myself! I will of course post pictures when it's ready though to close the circle and "complete" this thread as the uke is finished.

PS. Here's the video where Gordon talks about Tru-Oil application btw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ocS4F6ShNI DS.

Croaky Keith
04-28-2016, 07:43 AM
Probably a few readers like myself who have nothing to add, as I/we haven't made one, but I/we are reading your posts. :)

joebok
04-28-2016, 11:17 AM
It is looking good! What are you using for the pickup? I have a Risa "stick" ukulele, looks like you have come up with a similar approach. It is great for travel, and for quiet jamming when the wife and kid are sleeping.

Inksplosive AL
04-28-2016, 03:45 PM
Still here still watching and reading just staying quiet as you seem to have a handle on everything. I await pictures and results in sound.

Still want to build me a mini soprano BC Rich but I'm also trying to scrape together the funds for a Bass uke.

~redacted as too personal~

I first thought I wanted a steel stringed solid but after hearing the difference between steel and nylon or fluorocarbon strings I think I'm going that direction eventually.

~AL~

Inksplosive AL
04-28-2016, 03:50 PM
Oh fret leveling and recrowning can be done with homemade tools and files made safe or not.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?89687-Blueprinting-Smiley!

cml
04-29-2016, 06:59 AM
Thanks for the support fellas!

Joe, I am using a cheap piezo pick-up from Ebay.
Al, they are level and recrowned already but thanks! I used the technique from the video I posted earlier.
Keith, thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!

It'll be done tomorrow, the finish looked really good today so will be assembling soon!

cml
04-30-2016, 06:20 AM
It's finished!

I am pretty darn pleased with how it turned out :D! There are a few scratches and dings and I made a few mistakes while building but I managed to cover them up mostly so unless you know they're there they arent too visible.

I must say, fret leveling and recrowning was much easier than I had anticipated - nothing to be scared of doing yourself. The turnaround I came up with myself, its made from a screw that I've made grooves in using a drill press as a lathe. The benefit from this is that I could decide on string spacing and not be forced to use a tattoo grip (which also is pretty difficult to find).
Intonation is good and it's actually pretty loud even without an amp. This will be perfect to practice with while my baby daughter is asleep. It sounds pretty ok plugged in as well, but the amp is nothing to write home about so it's a bit difficult to evaluate.

Specs:
Pine body, stained with walnut brown
Tru-oil finish
Friction tuners
Ebay pickup
Aquila super nylgut strings

Also, big thanks to Daniel Hulbert for the original design idea!

cml
04-30-2016, 06:21 AM
More pictures!

Croaky Keith
04-30-2016, 06:37 AM
Looks good! Glad to hear it plays well. :)

N.B. What you call a 'screw' we call a 'coach bolt' in the U.K.

DanielHulbert
05-01-2016, 01:35 PM
It looks great cml! I love it.

joebok
05-01-2016, 02:45 PM
NICE! The color and finish look great. Congrats!

cml
05-01-2016, 09:30 PM
Thanks everyone!

Keith, we call it coach bolt here in Sweden as well, but I figured it was a swedish word and that it didn't have a direct translation :-).
The name is a bit strange though as the definition of a bolt is that it doesn't have threads while the definition of a screw is that it does!

Booli
05-02-2016, 01:09 AM
Holy Crap that l@@ks AWESOME!

The color of the stain is VERY nice and your photos make is look as nice, if not better than a RISA stick.

How does it PLAY? :music: I think we need a video demo LOL.

KUDOS to you cml for a job well DONE! :):rock:

cml
05-02-2016, 08:42 AM
Many thanks Booli, glad you like it as well :)!

It plays well and intonation is great actually (bit suprised myself, but I was very careful with leveling, recrowning etc), very happy about that. Regarding a video demo, I dont feel confident enough in playing for that I'm afraid...maybe one day in the seasons :)!

Vespa Bob
05-02-2016, 05:07 PM
Well done, thanks for sharing your experience! I may try something like that myself one day.

Bob

cml
05-15-2016, 04:10 AM
Well, I took some time yesterday and made a small sound sample for this. I am very much a beginner which is reflected in my playing, but it should give you an idea of how it sounds. The video was recorded with the ukulele UNPLUGGED, so no amplifier (simply because the one I have is crap and also because I play this uke mostly in the evening when my daughter is asleep anyway).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BL8n5aLEAY&feature=youtu.be

Booli
05-15-2016, 05:20 AM
Well, I took some time yesterday and made a small sound sample for this. I am very much a beginner which is reflected in my playing, but it should give you an idea of how it sounds. The video was recorded with the ukulele UNPLUGGED, so no amplifier (simply because the one I have is crap and also because I play this uke mostly in the evening when my daughter is asleep anyway).

AWESOME!!!

Sounds loud enough for practice even without being plugged in...

You should be proud of such an accomplishment, making this instrument from scratch...

I would try to make a tenor like this, but time and patience are in short supply for such a project for me right now - but I can live vicariously through you and enjoy the instrument you have made - Kudos again brother! :)

Croaky Keith
05-15-2016, 05:43 AM
That was a lot louder than I was expecting to hear, so you have an excellent little uke to be proud of. :)

cml
05-15-2016, 06:22 AM
Thanks guys!