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View Full Version : First "build" - okay, it's a Grizzly kit...



bbycrts
04-10-2009, 06:15 AM
My 3-year-old daughter is fascinated by my ukuleles. I decided that for the fun of it and just a little bit of experience I would do a Grizzly kit. I have just a couple little questions...

1) the neck/body joint doesn't quite match up - the curve in the heel of the neck where it butts up against the body has a bit longer radius than the body curve. I read about putting sandpaper on the body and sanding to match the curves. What grit would you recommend?

2) she really wants the uke to be red. I picked up a can of red spray lacquer - will this one-coat it or will I need multiple? Do I sand between coats?

3) the fretboard is badly bowed - it's a plywood board. Do I need to worry about it, or can I figure that once glued and clamped it will be fine?

Thanks - sorry for the trivial questions. I know this won't be perfect, and really, I'm making it knowing that a 3-year-old may not be gentle with it, but I want to do the best I can with this kit for my Emma.

Now - a real kit is on its way to me (a tenor) - sides are pre-bent and that's about all. I'm sure I'll have more questions as time goes on with that one!

mwaller
04-10-2009, 06:34 AM
Congrats on your 'first!'
I've built two Grizzly kits - they're a great way to get a taste for building with little cost or downside.
1) Use something coarse, like 100 grit. On soft wood like mahogany, the finish will be plenty smooth for gluing. If you go finer, you'll be sanding all day.
2) To get a good smooth finish, you'll have to fill the grain before putting on your lacquer. There are many ways to do this. One popular product is ColorTone Waterbase Grain Filler, available from www.stewmac.com. It's a paste that you work into the grain, then sand when dry. Lacquer generally does require multiple coats with sanding in between. Perhaps someone more experienced with lacquer can chime in here.
3) The fretboard provided in the Grizzly kit is very soft and flexible. The neck is not. So long as your neck is straight, you won't have a problem. Plenty of clamps, rubber bands, and/or tape to ensure good contact the full length of the fretboard.

Where did you find the tenor kit? I'd love to check that out!
Good luck!
Mika

Dominator
04-10-2009, 07:03 AM
Where did you find the tenor kit? I'd love to check that out!
Good luck!
Mika

Since the sides are pre-bent then I'm guessing he got it from Pete Howlett right here at UU. Just a guess.

mwaller
04-10-2009, 07:07 AM
Since the sides are pre-bent then I'm guessing he got it from Pete Howlett right here at UU. Just a guess.

If so, I'm very jealous :-)
Mika

bbycrts
04-10-2009, 07:14 AM
Since the sides are pre-bent then I'm guessing he got it from Pete Howlett right here at UU. Just a guess.

Actually, I found it on eBay - turns out there's a tonewood supplier here in Oregon (central - Bend to be exact) and he put up some ukulele side/back sets and just last week put up a few kits with pre-bent sides. The kit I'm getting is myrtle with a Port Orford cedar top (the benefit of living in the state where the stuff grows, I guess). All necessary wood pieces are included - kerfing, binding, neck parts, head plate, preslotted fret board, bridge blank- I'm sure I'm forgetting some. Tuners and strings aren't included. Can't remember if fretwire is...

Price seemed good, and when I contacted the seller (Kevin Murray) to ask if he could put together more kits if I'm successful with this one, his response was "Just tell me the kinds of woods you want and I can put them together without any trouble!" Seems like a real nice guy. Worked for Breedlove (based in Bend), but I think now does his own thing supplying tonewood and parts - and building his own custom guitars and maybe even ukes on commission.

Here's his web info:

http://www.bluemtnacoustics.com/

Jon

mwaller
04-10-2009, 08:04 AM
Cool! Let us know how you like the kit!
Mika

Dominator
04-19-2009, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the information Jon.