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greenscoe
08-27-2016, 11:36 PM
A while ago I bought a tatty Victorian chest of drawers to use the mahogany for uke making. One of the top drawer bottoms was made of a very wide pine board, close to being quarter sawn. I removed the centre part containing knots and joined the 2 remaining parts. The result is a top which looks as though itís bookmatched.

Iíve used it on a tenor uke. It's the first uke Iíve made with a new mould which results in a rounder and I think prettier instrument than previously.

The back is bookmatched mahogany from the chest of drawers. The neck is laminated from the drawer side which I believe to be Spanish cedar. The sides are made from sapele. The box is shallower than previously at just under 3 inches. The neck is joined as always with a tapered dovetail.

I have no drum sander, so the back, sides and top were all planed and scraped from 5- 7 mm to final dimensions. My attempt at bending recycled mahogany sides failed: old mahogany can be very brittle, hence the sapele sides.

The uke is finished in Tru Oil and fitted with Worth brown strings.

First impressions are that itís well balanced across the strings, loud, crisp and clear with lots of sustain

Born in 1951, we had little and I was brought up on the Ďmake do and mendí ethos: that explains why this drawer bottom couldn't have just become kindling for my woodburner!

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Iulia
08-28-2016, 01:49 AM
That's amazing, I would love to be able to build stuff like that .....

cml
08-28-2016, 02:35 AM
A while ago I bought a tatty Victorian chest of drawers to use the mahogany for uke making. One of the top drawer bottoms was made of a very wide pine board, close to being quarter sawn. I removed the centre part containing knots and joined the 2 remaining parts. The result is a top which looks as though it’s bookmatched.

I’ve used it on a tenor uke. It's the first uke I’ve made with a new mould which results in a rounder and I think prettier instrument than previously.

The back is bookmatched mahogany from the chest of drawers. The neck is laminated from the drawer side which I believe to be Spanish cedar. The sides are made from sapele. The box is shallower than previously at just under 3 inches. The neck is joined as always with a tapered dovetail.

I have no drum sander, so the back, sides and top were all planed and scraped from 5- 7 mm to final dimensions. My attempt at bending recycled mahogany sides failed: old mahogany can be very brittle, hence the sapele sides.

The uke is finished in Tru Oil and fitted with Worth brown strings.

First impressions are that it’s well balanced across the strings, loud, crisp and clear with lots of sustain

Born in 1951, we had little and I was brought up on the ‘make do and mend’ ethos: that explains why this drawer bottom couldn't have just become kindling for my woodburner!

9373193732937339373493735

It's beautiful! I really like the rosette, it matches the uke very well!

Pete Howlett
08-28-2016, 03:01 AM
Excellent. Pity the entire piece could not have been made from reclaimed wood. Lovely work. We are finding spruce top tenors are producing great instruments. It certainly is the future given the price and availability of koa. We are having particular success with walnut/englemann, myrtle/englemann and have just started to look at mahogany so this was very timely. Well done. Proportions look great. How about a sound sample?

Jim Hanks
08-28-2016, 03:24 AM
That is really cool that you can look at an old chest of drawers and see the uke hiding inside of it. Well done. :shaka:

Yankulele
08-28-2016, 04:24 AM
That's quite lovely.

I also find it interesting to hear old mahogany is brittle. I have some I have been saving. I will be wary.

Thanks for sharing,

Nelson

Vespa Bob
08-28-2016, 05:40 AM
I really, really like what you've created there! From the beautiful shape to the understated but elegant color matching of the individual components, it's stunning! Great workmanship, too!

Bob

stevepetergal
08-28-2016, 05:46 AM
Born in 1951, we had little and I was brought up on the ‘make do and mend’ ethos: that explains why this drawer bottom couldn't have just become kindling for my woodburner!

Wood fuel is a good thing. I like the ukulele more.

johnson430
08-28-2016, 06:35 AM
Very nice job. I would love to hear a sound sample.

Ducksoup
08-28-2016, 09:21 AM
Very nicely done! I really do like the more rounded sides, just looks more elegant to my eye. I'm also anxious to hear a sound sample if you can do it. Never thought of pine for a top. You'd just about have to use old, reclaimed boards because you probably couldn't find any new pine with a tight enough grain pattern.

lauburu
08-28-2016, 11:50 AM
I love the use of re-purposed wood for making ukuleles and am building a small stash of ex-furniture mahogany for my not-too-distant retirement. Your uke is a nice job and a far more noble use of the wood than becoming kindling. +1 for the sound sample
Miguel

greenscoe
08-29-2016, 11:45 PM
I appreciate all your positive comments on my top drawer uke.

I hope it encourages a few budding builders lurking on the forum to have a go: tonewoods and power tools aren't necessary to get started making instruments.

Here is a soundsample: I suspect all you will hear is my poor playing-sadly I'm not musical.


https://soundcloud.com/ukes-1/top-drawer-tenor-uke

Dan Gleibitz
08-30-2016, 12:26 AM
I hope it encourages a few budding builders lurking on the forum to have a go: tonewoods and power tools aren't necessary to get started making instruments.

Mission accomplished! It's a beauty.

Tell me more about the tools and method used for thinning the pieces. I've used hand planes, but only for crudely trimming large items (doors, lumber etc.). I've no clue how to choose or use scrapers. Any tips?

chuck in ny
08-30-2016, 02:10 AM
the top came out very well. nice instrument.

greenscoe
08-30-2016, 05:55 AM
Mission accomplished! It's a beauty.

Tell me more about the tools and method used for thinning the pieces. I've used hand planes, but only for crudely trimming large items (doors, lumber etc.). I've no clue how to choose or use scrapers. Any tips?

To be clear, I am not suggesting that just about anyone can buy a few tools and start making ukes. However, those who have hand tools and know how to use them should be able to make instruments if they have the time and patience to do so (for me a tenor is 50-70 hours).

Before starting, I would recommend any potential maker spends a few weeks researching the subject. There's a lot of info on the forum, in books and on YouTube. Many of the skills and techniques used in uke making are similar to those used in classical guitar making which is well covered on YouTube.

To address your question: Thinning timber using a plane and scraper requires that the wood is secured and that tools are kept sharp (learning to sharpen tools is not difficult to learn and is essential). Care is needed with grain direction to avoid tearing, so its often best to plane across the grain. A scraper is simply a thin piece of steel with a small burr which removes wood: again YouTube shows how this is used and sharpened. An effective thickness gauge can be made from a dial (clock) gauge.

Those without basic hand tool skills should try to meet with those who do and be shown how to use the tools. Again YouTube is a great source of info on tool use/sharpening (it's difficult to impart knowledge with a few sentences).

Dan Gleibitz
08-30-2016, 12:46 PM
To be clear, I am not suggesting that just about anyone can buy a few tools and start making ukes.

Too late. This is happening! :D


Before starting, I would recommend any potential maker spends a few weeks researching the subject. There's a lot of info on the forum, in books and on YouTube. Many of the skills and techniques used in uke making are similar to those used in classical guitar making which is well covered on YouTube.

Not much about thinning tops/backs/sides by hand though.

Do you clamp the wood to the work surface, or tape it, or use some kind of jig?

For scrapers, should I get the thin bendy type and a burnisher or a StewMac Ultimate style (or would either do)?

I'll make a thickness gauge out of a mini dial version with a larger laser cut C frame.

Thanks again for the tips.

greenscoe
08-30-2016, 02:02 PM
Dan

Lots of ways to do most tasks. When thinning wood, some use Irwin F clamps, some use tape, some a board with a couple of 1.5mm strips attached at right angles to hold the wood. Some use a normal sized plane, others a small block plane.........

I've only used the thin bendy scrapers, and I use a Stanley no 80 (other brands are available).

There are lots of videos where makers talk about making classical or flamenco guitars and show how they do it. If you are patient and watch lots of these you'll see different tools and jigs in use and see completely different things being done by different makers (including snatches of plate thinning and scraper use). You need to soak up all these ideas and decide which you will follow. I did recommend spending a couple of weeks researching. Heres just 2 of many I've watched (there are some in Spanish but the pictures tell the story)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hDeqianIXo&list=PLwWPW45Yo6PZqgSQqIaKtw-fUWqi3Q5GT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvVYuBqg6xU

And this is a uke build, but he has lots of power tools including a thickness sander

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdT6C4sn9pI