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View Full Version : Build log? #2: Time for a concert.



Dan Gleibitz
11-28-2016, 01:00 AM
I planned to wait until next year before starting a new project, but I came down with builders' bug. I'm going to have a crack at a concert ukulele or four. Trying to apply what I learnt from #1, and working more carefully and methodically.

Why concert size? Because I want one, but have never even played one. Also because I discovered that while many guitar B&S sets are barely enough to squeeze a tenor uke TB&S out of, many are large enough to make two whole concerts, or 5 concert tops & backs and a set of sides.

I've scored some great bits of wood. Silver Wattle, Tasmanian Myrtle, Tassie Blackwood and a piece of Victorian Blackwood with a stunning ribbon pattern. It looks like a crumpled silk sheet. Pics another day. Necks will be Queensland Maple and Blackwood.

Today I finished drawing the plan and my wife taught me to cut templates with her laser cutter.

95968

lauburu
11-28-2016, 09:11 AM
My next wife will have a laser cutter
Miguel

Dan Gleibitz
11-28-2016, 11:26 AM
Ha. Reminds me of "...please send photograph of boat and motor".

Any advice on cutting this? I can fit three backs or tops (pictured), or two back and side sets. More if I could find somebody with a good big bandsaw and steady hand...

95972

Rrgramps
11-28-2016, 02:50 PM
My next wife will have a laser cutter
Miguel

...and mine will build ukuleles, play them, and sing too. We'll be in a band together. She will figure out how to fit 6 tenor ukulele tops with sides on a board sold for sopranos.

sequoia
11-28-2016, 07:18 PM
Ha. Reminds me of "...please send photograph of boat and motor".

Any advice on cutting this? I can fit three backs or tops (pictured), or two back and side sets. More if I could find somebody with a good big bandsaw and steady hand...

95972

Nice looking wood. I would suggest a bandsaw to cut out your shapes. You do have a bandsaw Dan? Nice tool to have around. Buy one if you don't have one. Cheap on the used market. Alternatively (and I've actually done this), just cut out with a sharp coping saw. Works OK. Primitive but works. Your arm is going to get very tired. This is what they did before bandsaws were invented.

Dan Gleibitz
11-28-2016, 08:50 PM
Thanks Sequoia, I do have a bandsaw. It's the cheapest and worst thing ever, like Fisher-Price built it and then decided it was too good so they put weights in random spots on the wheels. It vibrates so hard it would walk out the shed door if I hadn't bolted it down, and throws a belt if I so much as fart near it. But it'll do while I save for a real one.

I guess my question was: should I squeeze 3 tops out of it or two plus sides?

I think I'll stick with what I did on #1, matching top and sides, contrasted with matching back and bindings because I like how that worked. But I doubt I can find another piece of Blackwood that matches this bit, to make the sides. So I'm leaning towards ditching one of the tops (lower centre) and using that bit for sides instead.

Andyk
11-28-2016, 11:17 PM
Hi Dan,
If it was mine then I would opt for two plus sides. But if in doubt ... flip a coin and let lady luck decide (then if you are disapointed with that then go for the other)

Michael N.
11-28-2016, 11:20 PM
Depending on your luck that wood might bend OK, it could be a nightmare. The worst I've had was Birds eye maple, which is slab sawn and I couldn't tame it. It's why I like to use quarter sawn straight grained wood for the sides. Even some of that can corrugate but it's usually a lot better than slab sawn wavy grain stuff.
I don't think a coping saw would have enough throat depth to cut them out. I use a long reach fretsaw. With a good quality blade, with the correct tooth pitch it's pretty easy work. Slower than a bandsaw but it's hardly a big time sink.

Rrgramps
11-29-2016, 06:31 AM
I guess my question was: should I squeeze 3 tops out of it or two plus sides?

I think I'll stick with what I did on #1, matching top and sides, contrasted with matching back and bindings because I like how that worked. But I doubt I can find another piece of Blackwood that matches this bit, to make the sides. So I'm leaning towards ditching one of the tops (lower centre) and using that bit for sides instead.

Is there room for one back and a set of sides? If so, then a spruce or cedar top would complete the box and look attractive.

lauburu
11-29-2016, 09:27 AM
1. Use a bandsaw to cut them out (visit your local cabinet maker on a Friday afternoon with a dozen Boags)
2. Use them as backs
3. Use quartersawn blackwood for sides and top
4. Hang on to that wife with the laser cutter
Miguel

Dan Gleibitz
12-02-2016, 08:30 PM
From top to bottom:
1] Not the best or fastest way to resaw, but...
2] hey, it worked!
3] A few more laser cut templates
HTTPS://I.imgur.com/AzZHVJt.jpg

Rrgramps
12-03-2016, 11:28 AM
Way to go, Dan!
Hand saw...can't believe it. Templates -- by wife's laser cut ...you lucky dog.

Have her cut a 1st and 7th fret profile while she's at it. That is, if she can't laser carve the whole neck for you.

Dan Gleibitz
12-03-2016, 12:46 PM
Thanks Rrgramps, I am lucky.


Have her cut a 1st and 7th fret profile while she's at it. That is, if she can't laser carve the whole neck for you.

Good idea. I've got neck profiles partly sketched - you can see the fingerstyle one with thumb groove on the left heel template. Just need to add a couple of lines and change the colours and they'll be ready to cut. Not planning to laser the neck though as I enjoyed carving the last one with a knife. If the thumb groove proves too difficult to carve manually I might do it on the CNC machine. Or ditch it.

Dan Gleibitz
12-03-2016, 10:57 PM
Disappointing progress today as I got distracted installing a new front door.

So I decided to make up some ground by lazy cutting the mold and some spacer clamp thingies. There's a little vid on the instagram link in my signature.

https://I.imgur.com/DNdLtgC.jpg

I should have made this slot-together style like those dinosaur kits we used to build back in the 80s. As it is, I'll just glue solid wood spacers between the layers, with m6 inserts in the appropriate spots. And I'll script up something that can make a cut-ready slot together mold from any outline shape I throw at it.

cml
12-04-2016, 02:33 AM
Very nice to see your progress Dan! Do keep the updates and pictures coming:). You're building more than one concert this time right?

cml
12-04-2016, 05:42 AM
Just watched that video...damn that is neat =)!

Rrgramps
12-04-2016, 05:47 AM
Like the style/design you are using for the concert form. I think the thru-bolt is better than hinges and latches for minimizing issues with stretching and is tighter, providing less tolerance for play between the halves. Also, the one-piece stretcher is nice too, and although a step in the right direction, still needs refinement when opening the sides (if retention is still desired).

I have the same type stretchers, and when I use the form for reference to trim the ends of the sides; I clamp the sides in to spread em. I haven't resolved that issue. But it is nicer to use a one-piece like you have, because you can pick it up, set it in place, and adjust it quicker.

Dan Gleibitz
12-04-2016, 03:11 PM
Very nice to see your progress Dan! Do keep the updates and pictures coming:). You're building more than one concert this time right?

Hi cml, glad to see you're still around! Yes, I had planned to tackle 4 at once. But my new tonewood supplier was generous - he threw in several extras including a spare set of guitar sides (enough for a uke back and sides), an extra back half (enough for 2 x 1 piece backs/fronts) and an electric drop-top half of unknown species (enough for 3 tops). Between that and the successful resawing pictured above I've ended up with enough timber for 10 - 12 concert ukes. So I've given myself a stretch goal of 6 finished concert ukuleles by April. Then I'll pick my favourite and give the rest away.


I have the same type stretchers, and when I use the form for reference to trim the ends of the sides; I clamp the sides in to spread em. I haven't resolved that issue. But it is nicer to use a one-piece like you have, because you can pick it up, set it in place, and adjust it quicker.

Good to hear. Sometimes trying to get the smaller stretchers (is that what they're called?) in the right place made me wish for an extra pair of hands. I thought I'd try a one piece because they look cool in pictures. But I guess I'll still need a couple of little ones so they fit out the soundhole...

cml
12-05-2016, 12:34 AM
Nice, you'll learn tons with this build I'm sure. You're also making my fingers itch to start my own second build...I drew out templates for a new mold yesterday. We'll see.

Never left btw, just haven't posted a lot lately, but I did keep reading ;).

Rrgramps
12-05-2016, 06:10 AM
What machine does she use for laser-cutting?

Dan Gleibitz
12-05-2016, 09:30 AM
It's an Epilog Mini 24. Pretty good machine, but expensive to buy and repair. Its best asset is software, which is easier to use and more reliable than the rest, and handles 3D carving pretty well. The downside is belt drives and an optical strip positioning system. Ball screws would be better for precision and maintenance.

The newest generation of Chinese built CO2 cutters looks good. We're eyeing this for a second machine:
http://www.reddotmachinery.com.au/prod_laser_cutter_engraver_marker_omnisign_plus_pr o_4500_4_150w.html

Higher power, higher precision, low repair costs and easy servicing, for 40% lower up-front cost. And it cuts metal up to 1mm or so thick. Just need to check out the software/print driver side.

Dan Gleibitz
12-10-2016, 11:55 PM
It's a busy time of year what with all the hay-fever and crickets, but I've made a bit of progress. Rather little actual building for a build log, but it is what it is. I've been playing around with different inlay methods (hand, CNC, laser), different wood types, different things to glue my fingers to and ruin any chance of my prints getting recognised by iDevices. :rolleyes:

HTTPS://I.imgur.com/rq6UceE.jpg
Link: https://i.imgur.com/rq6UceE.jpg

From left to right:

* Tasmanian Myrtle with Silver Wattle inlay, plus sides. I'm going to use Silver Wattle for the back, binding and fretboard. The headstock plate has a coat of CA on it for fun and because I watched a Beau Hannam YouTube and wanted to test it out as a grain filler/clear my sinuses.

* Silver Wattle top and back with figured Blackwood inlay (offcuts from next right). One piece because I was feeling lazy and had oodles to spare (I'll have enough left over to make a couple more bookmatched when I get bored). This will get Silver Wattle sides and Blackwood binding, fretboard and bridge. I'll carve a bunch of bridges from the figured Blackwood offcuts and glue one to this.

* Blackwood with Silver Wattle inlay (offcuts from previous) and bridge. I freaking love the wood on this; when finished it has a ridiculous 3D effect. But... I dunno. It's my least favourite so far. It just feels too busy. This wood was designated as an electric guitar drop top, but I took enough ~quarter sawn bits to make 4 tops/backs and the rest for inlay, headstock plates and bridges.

* And finally, Bunya Pine with figured Blackwood inlay (again, offcuts from previous). This one is all bonus. My last wood order was just for the Tassie Myrtle (far left). The chap threw in an extra 1/2 dreadnought Myrtle soundboard and a full bookmatched dread Bunya Pine soundboard. I cut the Bunya p into 2 x 1-piece tops (one shown here) and 2 x bookmatched tops. Plus a couple of head plates and miscellany. I love how it looks, especially with the Blackwood inlay, and it sounds like a Xylophone when tapped. I've got a good feeling about this one. It'll get Blackwood sides, back, binding and fretboard, and I'll swap the bridge shown here for one from the figured Blackwood offcuts.


I laser cut slots and spacers for my mold and glued it together. It seems pretty sturdy, but time will tell. If somebody wants to guinea pig it for me, let me know here or via PM and I'll flat-pack and send one to your design.

https://i.imgur.com/4tCXQxu.jpg

Lessons learned:

* I need a better way of jointing tops and backs. I'm using a long straight-edge with sandpaper and it's getting me close, but not close enough. Witness: the lovely piece of Tassie Myrtle that won't be securely joined until it gets a heel block and fretboard (which will hopefully cover the void).

* Cyanoacrylate is the best thing ever invented.

* I need to master the hand plane. They're great when somebody else has perfectly sharpened and set them up, but useless trash when I try. I think I'll need hands-on lessons for this because YouTube hasn't helped.

* Curlypete from eBay Australia gives me wood.

* I need a drum sander. My ineptitude with hand planes has left me with 3 options for thinning wood: belt sanding (slow and inaccurate), CNC surfacing (very slow but very accurate), hand sanding (ludicrously slow and moderately accurate).

* Cyanoacrylate is the worst thing ever invented.

Over to you. Please let me know if you have a favourite so far so I know what to add for my stretch goal (6 by April). Or let me know if you love/hate the ribbon rosette. Or if you want to suggest a super cheap but reliable drum sander that doesn't involve building one myself. Or if if you think I'm a dingus who needs to shush. Or....

You get the drift.

cml
12-11-2016, 03:39 AM
Great progress Dan :)!

My favorite of the tops is the bonus one, in Bunya Pine. I too think the blackwood one is too busy for a top, probably better as a back?
I think your inlay looks good, but for me personally, I would go with a classical round rosette ;). But that's probably just me being boring.

Rather than a drumsander, have you checked out the thickness planer from StewMac? I used it to good effect with my build, and if you have a drill press, this takes up no space.
Why is CA the worst thing ever (and best :P?), other than being extremely toxic?
Also, a handplane is a great tool. Get a good old one. But for many tasks, I used a knife instead. But I'm not traditional here I think, I just used what worked for me. Also, I know how to sharpen a knife, which helps :)!

Btw, your mold is looking terrific. I think you have a real winner there, and something that you could probably either sell yourself, or license out to stew mac. Flat packed molds, ready made? Yes please is probably the answer for many waiting to start their first build...:D

Yankulele
12-11-2016, 04:08 AM
Great progress. Beautiful wood, cool design. I guess I'm not loving the ribbon rosette, but that is really a matter of personal taste.

For sharpening, you might try this site: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/WoodworkTechniques/index.html

He's a fellow Aussie, from Perth, with a lot of info about woodworking with hand tools.

Nelson

lauburu
12-11-2016, 09:12 AM
Wow. The wife has a CNC machine and allows you to bring stuff into the house. What a lucky man you are.
Miguel

Dan Gleibitz
12-12-2016, 10:44 AM
Thanks for the encouragement and honesty. Zero for two on the rosette is good to know. I'll see how the new owners feel about them on the finished instruments and rethink them for future projects



My favorite of the tops is the bonus one, in Bunya Pine. I too think the blackwood one is too busy for a top, probably better as a back?

I think you're right. I'll use another piece of that Blackwood for the Bunya back and keep the rest simple. Maybe Bunya sides with Blackwood binding.

I made another bookmatched Bunya top with Myrtle inlay and back last night. The pink and cream look good together too.


Rather than a drumsander, have you checked out the thickness planer from StewMac? I used it to good effect with my build, and if you have a drill press, this takes up no space.

I'll have another look at them, but my drill press is wonky and probably not up to the task.


Why is CA the worst thing ever (and best :P?), other than being extremely toxic?

Best because it sticks anything to anything. Worst because it sticks everything to everything. The way it wicks into gaps is brilliant. I glued the mold together by just putting a dot on every join. But the other day we had a thunderstorm so I stuck a freshly inlaid top up my shirt to get it from the shed to the house without getting rained on (water does bad things to curing CA). Thirty seconds later it was securely glued to my chest hair...

sequoia
12-12-2016, 05:36 PM
so I stuck a freshly inlaid top up my shirt to get it from the shed to the house without getting rained on (water does bad things to curing CA). Thirty seconds later it was securely glued to my chest hair...

Well good thing you didn't put the top in your pants.

Dan Gleibitz
12-14-2016, 11:14 PM
Made a couple of bridges tonight out of the curly Blackwood offcuts. Even my newbie eyes can see the grain on these parts couldn't hold a top/back.

My workflow is something like this:
* draw outline in Corel Draw
* export to SVG
* load into Tinkercad for 3D modelling because it's free and easy - I just use simple Boolean operations to shape it.
* export the 3D model to STL
* load into Meshcam and set up the toolpaths. This turns the 3D model into a series of commands that tell the CNC machine where to go and when and how fast based on the size and shape of the workpiece, cutting bit etc.
* export toolpath to gcode
* load gcode into CNCUSB which is the app that sends the commands to the CNC machine
* mount the workpiece to the CNC bed. I just screwed this down, but I'll use double sided tape or superglue or clamps for other jobs.
* home the machine and press play
* make sure it's working, then go thin a couple of sides and drink a beer
* unscrew workpiece, sand the 1/2mm of base I left to hold it, touch it up on the belt sander
* hand sand then give it a quick coat of finish

https://i.imgur.com/cs5J9R8.jpg

cml
12-14-2016, 11:30 PM
Very nice!
How's tinkercad to work with? I'm a former design engineer so quite used to creo,catia etc :).

Dan Gleibitz
12-14-2016, 11:49 PM
Heh. Tinkercad is not comparable to real CAD software. It's more like playing with kids wooden blocks. But it's very easy, very quick and makes perfectly watertight models for 3D printing or carving. It's pretty impressive for web software - Tinkercad.com will get you there.

It gets frustrating when I try to make complex models from scratch. I was working on a 3 layer ~1/2 scale Gibson 335 today (inspired by FVGuitars thread), and wishing for something more capable.

But it's perfect for jobs like this bridge. It's just one shape with 10 other shapes subtracted from it.

sequoia
12-15-2016, 06:24 PM
Pretty darn impressive. A couple of fine looking bridges. I want one of them thar CAD thangs. Not gonna happen.

PS: Nix on the polka dot background. Detracts from the look....

UkieOkie
12-16-2016, 05:54 AM
For a different opinion; i like the rosettes and busy tops. Great work so far Dan.

Dan Gleibitz
12-17-2016, 01:36 AM
Today I scarfed, cut, stacked and glued 3 and a half necks (I cut the 4th short, so it'll need a bit of work to fit a neck, but it's still doable). I used a mitre saw for the scarfs, first cutting a biggish block at 90 degrees and using the ends as a guide to ensure a straight scarf.

2 Blackwood, 1 & 1/2 Blackheart Sassafrass.

I routed a channel down the middle (or thereabouts) using a trim router and edge guide. Only screwed up 2 out of 3 channels. :cool:
Glued 6mm x 4mm carbon fibre rods into the channels.

https://I.imgur.com/UKnmKTs.jpg

The last photo is another freebie. My last order came with a bunch of offcuts and extras, including a dirty dull brown 900 x 35 x 8mm stick labeled 'Buloke binding stock'. Apparently Buloke is the hardest wood on earth (by Janka test), so I wasn't going to try slicing that on my crappy bandsaw. I planed and joined it down the middle instead to make a fretboard, keeping the end for a couple of bridges.

It turned out nice. Tough to sand, but the end result is worth it. The photo is straight off the sander at 180 grit and it's almost shining already. I never knew wood could be like that.

Then I ate some cake (not pictured).

Dan Gleibitz
12-17-2016, 01:43 AM
For a different opinion; i like the rosettes and busy tops. Great work so far Dan.

Thanks UkieOkie. I like the ribbon rosette too, I'm just disappointed in my execution of a few of them. I think I could have done a better job on a simple circle. I'm keen to see how & if everything works together on the finished instruments.

Dan Gleibitz
12-17-2016, 01:53 AM
A question for the more experienced builders: would it have been better to glue the CF reinforcing rod in later, before gluing the fretboard?

I'm thinking that the wood will continue to release tension as I cut and carve more bits off it, and it may be better to have to rod sustaining the final equilibrium of the wood rather than potentially in conflict with it. Does that make sense?

Dan Gleibitz
12-17-2016, 06:25 PM
Couple of necks roughed out (very rough!) and ready, then after a bit of knife carving and some sanding on the heel of the Blackwood.

https://i.imgur.com/zNWKcIS.jpg

Can anybody spot the join in the back of the headstock? :rolleyes:

Any suggestions on how to stop the back of the carving knife (Mora #6 I think) from blistering my thumb?

Sven
12-19-2016, 12:46 PM
You can put some athlete's tape on the thumb. Keep the knife very sharp and the effort will be less mora makes fine knives.

Dan Gleibitz
12-20-2016, 01:07 AM
Thanks Sven, I'll try taping my thumb. And sharpening the knife. I really enjoy carving with the Mora and it's quickly become my favourite tool. I've even asked Santa for another short one for Xmas.

I've half a mind to leave the neck on the one I'm keeping rough carved instead of sanding it out smooth.

No progress today apart from figuring out jigs to help shape the heels and thin the backs of headstocks on the belt sander. I finished carving the first two necks last night. This morning I took delivery of a lovely stack of new wood - to try some one piece Blackwood necks and some stacked out of Tasmanian Myrtle (which is really lovely timber). I don't know what happened to my plan to stick to softer wood.

I'm going to spend my modest Xmas bonus on a spindle sander because they look handy as heck.

Sven
12-20-2016, 07:31 PM
I've half a mind to leave the neck on the one I'm keeping rough carved instead of sanding it out smooth.
Do it! As in keep it un-sanded. I built two ukes once without touching them once with sandpaper. All the wood was hand planed and the neck and bridge were carved. You could see facets and tiny undulations but the surfaces were hard and smooth as glass, thanks to my Mora knife. I sharpen it Scandinavian style, a chisel like edge with no secondary bevel at all.

Dan Gleibitz
12-20-2016, 09:19 PM
That sounds delightful. Do you still have it? Any pictures? I'll definitely do it.

Nobody would describe mine as smooth as glass, but it has the ultimate hand-made charm and feels amazing. On the left is one straight off the knife, still a bit to go but it's all eye and feel from here. On the right for contrast, I'm testing a machined neck design out of Tassie Myrtle with a soft graduated thumb groove in the back for fingerstyle.
It's a slow, noisy, annoying and charmless process, but which will make the better ukulele?

HTTPS://i.imgur.com/1F0tYBt.jpg

Today I roughed out the fretboard inlay designs on the computer. Each uke gets the name of the person I'm making it for (whether they like it or not :D) and a basic border. That's all my family (whether they like it or not ;)) and one for the forum's resident poet (whether he wants it or not :))
Next I'll print the designs, hand edit them for a more organic look, scan the sketches and redraw them in Corel Draw for routing. That's a CNC job, ain't got time to cut 6 by hand.

Edit: for the CNC folks, yes I know I've mucked up the step over value!

Sven
12-20-2016, 10:26 PM
Fanx for the interest Dan, and it made me go back and look at the project. I must do it again I think, as the results were very good. I use my drum sander and other sanding methods on most of my builds but the zero sanding project made me discover some techniques that are not only faster (for me) but also cleaner and yielding better results. Downside is my plane collecting habit is out of control but don't tell my wife.

I don't have them any more, I donated them as raffle prizes for a couple of uke festivals in the UK. Both ended up with talented recording artists but I don't know if they've used them for recording. It was my piccolo model with 280 mm scale length, very cute and sounds swell but perhaps a bit cramped on the fretboard for flashy runs.

If you want to see you can follow this link to my blog and all entries labelled Zero sanding. The curse of blogs is upon you though, all posts will appear on the screen in backwards order.

http://argapa.blogspot.se/search/label/Zero%20sanding

And I think that neck looks very good, I'd have it as is.

Cheers / Sven

Dan Gleibitz
12-24-2016, 02:45 AM
Found a little bit of downtime today to try a couple of one piece necks. I'm a fan. With the right tools they'd be significantly quicker and easier than stacked necks. That waste bit is big enough to cut a couple of fretboards (wood type depending) and/or some bridges. I figure this Blackwood is good for both. Not on the same necks though.

https://i.imgur.com/OHEHnMB.jpg

One of these has gum pockets and other 'defects', which I'm quite fond of.

I had a minor victory with my crappy bandsaw. After knocking the blade off seven times in quick succession, each time scaring the crap out of me, I'd had enough. So I tore the rubber bands off the wheels, cranked up the tension and miraculously the vibrations halved. The only way the band can come off now is if it snaps completely.

Sanded through a fingernail with the belt sander. Lesson learned (grow stronger fingernails).

My spindle sander arrived, along with the first set of components for a dust extraction setup. The sander will make headstock and heel shaping a doddle.

I'll get to the actual build part of this soon, I promise. I've nearly run out of components to make.:D

Dan Gleibitz
12-25-2016, 08:52 PM
Fretboard inlay experiment today. Blackwood border and a couple of small birds out of wood chips and sawdust on a Silver Wattle board.

https://i.imgur.com/SqsOgme.jpg

It's a bit rough, but I could be generous and call it intentionally organic. ;)

cml
12-31-2016, 03:54 AM
How's your progress:)?

I managed to mess up a rosette and dent a top today. Good day...:rolleyes:

Rrgramps
12-31-2016, 09:09 AM
I'm just loving this thread, with all the mistakes made and most corrected. Makes me want to jump in and add my mistake-ridden, slow as molasses builds; of which I've been keeping a secret. LOL.

The successes, on the other hand, are raw blessings, dripping with ideas; some innovative, some unorthodox, and all dripping with inspiration and innovation that seems to be found in the younger folks, and those that are young in ukulele building experience. Your usage of CNC though, makes me jealous, and almost angry enough to bop you in the head because I can't afford one. LOL. But there's an ocean between us, and I'm an old, short little cronie who could do you no harm. Heheh

Gosh Sven, I like your build site, and it's you whom I remember reading about; getting a pretty nasty cut from carving a neck with a knife. :(:(:(

Dan Gleibitz
12-31-2016, 02:05 PM
How's your progress:)?
I managed to mess up a rosette and dent a top today. Good day...:rolleyes:

You're building again? Excellent. Sorry about that top though.

Progress is slow. It's almost the middle of summer here which normally means hot and dry, but this last week has been hot and damp. Humidity in the 70s and 80s with temps of 33 to 37 (which would typically cause humidity to drop below 20%). So no gluing and too hot for much.

My drop saw has gone mental and keeps trying to kill me. My bandsaw has started spitting blades again, and no amount of fiddling will get it tracking straight. My carving knife got a little dull so I took to it with the finest stone Bunnings had, and now it's a lot dull. The laser tube needs to take a 2 week vacation to the USA for regassing and repair.

I was going to start bending sides yesterday, but I'd reached a mood that would have guaranteed failure. So instead I came inside, googled "reliable bandsaw under $1000" then had a nap.

The current state of play is 4 necks cut and carved, 6 top and back sets, 2 sets of sides, 5 bridges, 1 fretboard finished but not fretted. It's New Year's Day so I'm a bit fuzzy, but I'll set up the bending iron this morning and try for a couple of sides later.

Dan Gleibitz
12-31-2016, 02:25 PM
The successes, on the other hand, are raw blessings, dripping with ideas; some innovative, some unorthodox, and all dripping with inspiration and innovation that seems to be found in the younger folks, and those that are young in ukulele building experience. Your usage of CNC though, makes me jealous, and almost angry enough to bop you in the head because I can't afford one. LOL. But there's an ocean between us, and I'm an old, short little cronie who could do you no harm. Heheh

Ha! Thanks.

CNC is fun, but not nearly as useful as you might think. There are few ukulele building tasks it can do that can't be done ten times quicker with a sharp chisel or knife, especially if you factor in the time to make and process the 3D model. The main exception is routing for rosettes and inlays.

I'm currently modelling a 3 piece sandwich design for a hollow body electric uke. It's a fun project, but I'm battling the software. I spent 4 days learning Fusion 360 after watching Allen's video, but it's buggy on my computers so I moved to Onshape which runs well but lacks some critical shaping functions.

mountain goat
12-31-2016, 10:38 PM
Wanted to echo Trent's words and say how awesome this thread (and your original build thread) is, Dan. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of the journey. The ukes are going to be beautiful. I'm learning vicariously and very much looking forward to the next update, hangover and humidity notwithstanding. Cheers!

cml
01-01-2017, 12:34 AM
Hah, me building again is probably an exaggeration...more like me thinking about it. I figured I'd finish a top I started with the last build, but messed it up. Still, it's fixable. Some routing to remove the failed rosette, and steam to fix the dent.

Dan Gleibitz
01-01-2017, 02:02 PM
Thanks for the kind encouragement mountain goat.

I bent two sets of sides using a bending iron. First up was some Silver Wattle. On my last build I turned one of the Blackwood sides into brittle toast and snapped it before realising that it bent well at 6 on the dial and didn't need/want maximum heat. So I reckoned 6 would be fine for its cousin. Nope. It wouldn't budge. These sides are thickish, at around 2.3mm, but they wouldn't soften at all until I cranked the heat to max. The first gave me some trouble on the tight bends where some runout grain wanted to lift instead of bend, but those bits will glue and clamp back to invisibility. And it just didn't want to hold its shape. The second bent perfectly in five minutes. They're bookmatched and near identical, so go figure.

The next set (in the photo they're setting in the form) is Blackwood and they bent easily and held shape well. I think I rushed the second one and wrinkled it at the waist. Should sand out okay, but avoidable if I'd thinned it further and taken my time.

Next up is shaping the heel and tail blocks then I'll give these sides another quick go on the iron, trim the top and tail, and glue them together.

https://i.imgur.com/HYVej1T.jpg

sequoia
01-01-2017, 06:37 PM
Looking good Dan. I notice that you haven't cut and butted your sides yet in the mold. It is funny, but this should be an easy operation for me. Instead I find that each side is always slightly different and the center point is slightly different. I know this shouldn't be in a perfect world, but there you go. It is damn close, but this begins the problems of asymmetry. I have yet to build the perfectly symmetrical uke. Close, close, by a couple mm, but not perfect. I chalk it up to coming off the bending form slightly different. Does it really matter? I don't think so.

Dan Gleibitz
01-01-2017, 08:47 PM
Yep. I cut them long for bending and trimmed. Then cut and shaped some blocks out of random scrap. I can't say I've had any trouble aligning the sides. I'm sure this reflects my wide tolerances rather than the quality of join. :D
I don't fuss with the end join because it'll get routed out for a graft anyway, just make sure the fronts sit square.

Silver Wattle is gluing up but the Blackwood is done:
https://i.imgur.com/IuaWPF0.jpg

This might seem silly, but I've just realised that concert sized ukuleles are tiny!

Dan Gleibitz
01-03-2017, 10:50 PM
Gluing some kerfed lining thingies in tonight. I bought these because that seemed heaps easier than cutting two hundred perfect kerfs and they're cheap. But being guitar sized (~750 x 18 x 6mm), they seemed a bit extreme for a little uke so I cut them in half. Also, yes I'm in the kitchen, because... well, you should see my shed. :D

https://i.imgur.com/BzK1hAH.jpg

I borrowed the paper clips from work, but only enough to do half of one uke at a time.

Edit: still trying to work out what I want to do re. back radius. I don't have a radius dish. I half calculated/half guesstimated the last one and it came out half okay. I thought about CNCing a 10' radius dish tonight, but didn't. I'm tempted to just arch them front to back instead. We'll see.

Edit edit: when I said CNCing a 10' radius dish, I meant a 400x300 piece of MDF, not a 3 metre one. Phew. That would be a skate park. Come to think of it, I could just drive down to the skate park and glue one of my big sandpaper discs to a ramp... Hmm, BRB!

cml
01-04-2017, 08:11 AM
Concerts arent tiny, wait till you have a soprano in your hands! Especially vintage ones are really really small!

Firetail
01-04-2017, 10:02 AM
You could always buy a 15ft radius dish from John at http://www.labelx.net/catalog/
He is north of Melbourne at Wandong.
He does my pearl inlays as well.
Alan

Dan Gleibitz
01-04-2017, 11:40 AM
Thanks for the link Alan. On his Facebook page he said he made a 10' dish for the Australian Guitar Making School. I'll have a go at making my own tonight and failing that will ask him to make one for me. I love looking through all the inlay jobs he's done.

Biednick
01-04-2017, 01:14 PM
Thanks Sequoia, I do have a bandsaw. It's the cheapest and worst thing ever, like Fisher-Price built it and then decided it was too good so they put weights in random spots on the wheels. It vibrates so hard it would walk out the shed door if I hadn't bolted it down, and throws a belt if I so much as fart near it.

There's a great article over in the International Association of Penturner's library about upgrading benchtop band saws. Pen turners tend to be very particular about their saws for the complex segmented pen blanks they make. I can't link directly to the article from my phone, but it's in the first post in this thread:

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f139/iap-library-tools-jigs-77368/

Maybe something in there can help, though it doesn't talk much about the issues you describe.

Dan Gleibitz
01-04-2017, 08:58 PM
Hey Biednick, I learnt some good tips from your link, then followed that down a bit of a rabbit hole. Absolutely fascinating. I never before understood that rollers and pulleys should bulge out in the middle to hold belts on. Now I do, and I kinda understand why! Thanks!

Rrgramps
01-05-2017, 05:50 AM
Looking good Dan. I notice that you haven't cut and butted your sides yet in the mold. It is funny, but this should be an easy operation for me. Instead I find that each side is always slightly different and the center point is slightly different. I know this shouldn't be in a perfect world, but there you go. It is damn close, but this begins the problems of asymmetry. I have yet to build the perfectly symmetrical uke. Close, close, by a couple mm, but not perfect. I chalk it up to coming off the bending form slightly different. Does it really matter? I don't think so.
Getting symmetry and perfect butt joints has plagued me for two sets of sides lately. I'm using a SM iron to bend on, and that may be one of the symmetry problems.

I cracked one set bending with my Fox-y Bending Machine, and scorched another set on that machine, so I switched to the iron, and it doesn't destroy my sides. For me, the machine doesn't have a tactile feeling as to when the wood is pliable, it doesn't let the operator see the wood during the bend, and does not let the operator see the condition of the sides until the wrap(s) are taken off. But, the results seem to be more symmetrical with the machine -- if everything goes right.

Thinking about going to a Spanish neck; because in addition to hiding the butt joint at that end, it also holds the rims up tight to the neck with less sanding for a good fit, and the graft will conceal the joint at the tail end. Wish i was better, but I'm not. LOL

Dan Gleibitz
01-06-2017, 01:38 AM
A little update. Still haven't made a radius dish. It was too hot in the shed yesterday (33 Celsius outside, 40+ in the shed, which is over a hundred yankeedoodles IIRC). And tonight is Friday.

So as a stop-gap I modelled the back plate in 3D and made a 1:1 scale plan so I could transcribe it onto the sides. It was only later that I realised the same can be achieved by drawing concentric circles and sitting the body on top of them. :rolleyes:

I'll take Timbuck's advice from the other thread and use the finished model to make a template on flexible plastic.

I drew it on, cut on the waste with a fine little pull saw and glued in the kerfing. I'll still need to sand it to the radius one way or another. Love how the kerfing really holds the sides in shape at this point.

https://i.imgur.com/0axPX8H.jpg

There's quite a lot of arch to this. I think I cranked the radius down to around 5' (3000mm diameter) before I was happy with it. And yet it ended up with <1mm variance either way in side profile between the end and the waist, then a quick curve down to the shoulder.

Anybody know how tight you can make the radius before you need to modify the back join/joins?

Bonus points if you spot the glaring mistake in the final photo...

cml
01-06-2017, 02:06 AM
Looks pretty darn neat to me. Is the line at the waist a crack possibly?
Anyway, you are bad influence. Now working on my new mold, bah ;).

Dan Gleibitz
01-06-2017, 02:16 AM
Looks pretty darn neat to me. Is the line at the waist a crack possibly?

Bzzt! Nope, that's just a pencil line so I knew where to bend the waist. Thank goodness!


Anyway, you are bad influence. Now working on my new mold, bah ;).

Great! Build log? It's a bit quiet around here and I really enjoyed your last one. What size & style are you going to build?

cml
01-06-2017, 02:22 AM
Great! Build log? It's a bit quiet around here and I really enjoyed your last one. What size & style are you going to build?Maybe, but this will be a much longer build. It'll be a new tenor. My last one wasn't braced enough on the top and has since completion developed a belly. Still sounds good but it annoys me.

sequoia
01-06-2017, 07:00 PM
My last one wasn't braced enough on the top and has since completion developed a belly. Still sounds good but it annoys me.

Don't get too excited, they will do this naturally and things are OK. You say it sounds good. More important is how does it play and how is the intonation and action. If everything is fine why be annoyed. Maybe look at it as settling in a little bit. I really believe that if the top didn't belly a little bit then things might be over braced. But it has to be a "little bit" and you didn't send pictures or measurements. Also keep in mind I believe that we become a bit OCD with these things because we get so close because we built them and we know. The ukes I've built have always dipped about... I don't know... 1 to 3 degrees once string tension is added and the instrument settles in. Then there is a little "dipping" and then there is nasty "bellying". Sure you can completely put an end to any dipping by locking in your fan bracing to the transverse brace and the heel block. Problem solved. But how does it sound? I'm no luthier (I just play one on TV), but over braced ukes make my teeth grind. Sure the thing is structurally great with not a micrometer of dipping, but they sound like shit. No resonance. No projection. Like playing a canoe paddle. This is where the art comes in.

PS: Press on! Onward?! Towards the perfect ukulele!

Dan Gleibitz
01-06-2017, 07:44 PM
My figgerin' suggests that butting the fan braces butted against (or even just very close to) the cross brace should be enough to prevent or minimise the dipping. A bit of belly must be near impossible to avoid though, even if immeasurably small. But if I can stop the inward part of the rotation, the outward part has to be dramatically reduced.

I'm often wrong, but anyway that's my theory.

I need to make some bridge plates.

https://i.imgur.com/Gbkh3Pn.jpg

sequoia
01-06-2017, 09:14 PM
In my opinion this is exactly what not to do. Sure it is structurally strong, but we are not building bridges or buildings here. Just me, but I don't think these supports should be tied off to the transverse brace.

Dan Gleibitz
01-06-2017, 11:01 PM
I don't think they need to be tied off either, just close enough to prevent rotational force from pushing the top in. It's not the joint that stops the rotation but the top, so no trouble for vibration as far as I can figure.

I just put a mirror inside my favourite uke (very light, loud and resonant) and they've used 3 fan braces that terminate a few mm from the cross brace. The ends are scalloped but still quite strong where they end.

greenscoe
01-06-2017, 11:07 PM
The number of fan braces, their dimensions and shape, whether or not to use a bridge patch and the amount of bridge rotation that is acceptable, are all topics regularly discussed here.

I find using Google as a search engine to finds threads on this forum is more useful than the internal search facility. Here is just one of several threads I found by Googling 'tenor ukulele fan bracing dimensions'.

Compared with my soundboards, yours looks overbraced. Getting this right is what we amateurs spend much time trying to master. The photo isnt one of mine, its a tenor sized 5 string instrument being made by a pro I visited in Madeira.


http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?43508-Sound-Board-Bracing

Dan Gleibitz
01-06-2017, 11:49 PM
Compared with my soundboards, yours looks overbraced. Getting this right is what we amateurs spend much time trying to master. The photo isnt one of mine, its a tenor sized 5 string instrument being made by a pro I visited in Madeira.

Thanks greenscoe, I'll take that on board. I haven't glued anything yet so there's a little more to come off yet. Not much though. The iPhone camera adds pounds too - the fans are only 3mm thick.

The 5 long braces in the photo are interesting. I do note that they end close to but not touching the cross brace.

Edit - I managed to dig up a photo of the bracing I used on my tenor:
https://i.imgur.com/m17ymmr.jpg

I'm really happy with how it sounds, but am still keen to experiment with different styles. I've got a bunch to play with here so I'm going to try X bracing, Michael N's ladder brace design, and maybe something completely different.

gerardg
01-07-2017, 01:15 AM
Yes, many ways, many trails,
and very difficult to have rules.
And all that is good.
Good to choose.
Intuitive feeling sound as good "scientific" gate.
Nice work.

Gammo
01-07-2017, 03:06 AM
Hi Dan. I'm assuming East Gippsland is as hot as Melbourne at the moment so I don't envy you being in your shed. I do envy the amazing project you're working on though. Love all the Aussie wood you're using as well. You're creating something truly unique.

Dan Gleibitz
01-07-2017, 08:13 PM
Thank you gerardg and Gammo for the wise words and encouragement. Yes, the heat makes things difficult. I've been doing a lot inside the house, but even here glue is drying crazy fast.

Here's a photo of my attempts at a couple of different top bracing styles. Fire at will! :D

https://i.imgur.com/HpKqgRo.jpg

gerardg
01-07-2017, 10:05 PM
My point of vue about bracing :
Keep in mind that table should going to have its own table life.
Yes, table life...
So, table should have deformations to live.
If no deformation around the bridge,
table don't live.
Too thick, too much bracing.
Of course, deformation with limits.
Not too much deformation.
The importance is to strike the right balance.
Keep in mind, too, with table deformation,
because saddle bridge lean forward,
compensation is shortened ...
Humpf, not easy to speak american, find right words ...

Dan Gleibitz
01-08-2017, 01:29 AM
Humpf, not easy to speak american, find right words ...

I appreciate it though, and understand. Il ressemble la posie!

My (current) philosophy on bracing is born out of loudspeaker study, which is in many ways very similar and in other ways very different. It may be wrong in some/most/all parts, so let me know!

Here goes.

The main function of the bracing (at least that south of the soundhole strut or struts) is to provide stiffness to the thin top. The top isn't thinned to make it floppy, it's thinned to make it light. Lighter = faster and more responsive to excitement from the strings via the bridge.

In speaker land, most speakers are built from very thin paper or similar rolled into a cone. The paper is light enough to move quickly and with low inertia in response to excitement from the coil. The cone provides strength and stiffness - a flat piece of paper would produce a blubber of distorted mush.

But the top needs to remain flexible, and the bracing shouldn't dampen the movement of the top more than necessary, which is why it is thinned and gapped and shaped.

And lastly comes the structural stuff which is super important but not I feel the key to effective bracing.

So I'm looking for a stiff but light system that effectively transfers sound across the soundboard and doesn't lock in to damping elements unnecessarily. And tall and thin braces over short and wide. A 5mm x 2mm brace will do the same job as a 4mm x 4mm brace but with a third less weight. A slightly taller triangle is even more efficient. As for the structural stuff, I'll just have to wait and see.

Yankulele
01-08-2017, 04:16 AM
Hi Dan,

Looks like you're going deep here. I have nothing to add myself. But, have you read David Hurd's book, "Left Brain Luther?" Available here: http://ukuleles.com/?page_id=56 Most of it has proven too dense for me to wrap my brain around, but it might be instructive for you.

Nelson

Dan Gleibitz
01-08-2017, 04:21 PM
Hi Yankulele. Thanks, I've read some of his articles and now I've ordered the book. Might be a bit too heavy for me too though.

I toyed with the idea of building a solid testing rig with a top clamping system to enable different tops to be quickly swapped and a tailpiece clamping system to allow easy string detensioning, and a floating bridge, and a couple of good microphones to enable serious audio analysis...

But then I figured I just want to have fun, not do science. As long as I end up with a wooden box with strings that makes me smile I'll be happy.

gerardg
01-09-2017, 08:02 AM
... As long as I end up with a wooden box with strings that makes me smile I'll be happy.
Like sound of these words ...
" Dead Poets Society " ... :rolleyes:

Dan Gleibitz
01-10-2017, 01:49 AM
Smallest update yet! Tonight I cut and fitted end grafts. Silver Wattle for the Blackwood and vice versa. I cut and carved the slots by hand with a knife. The first ended up a little rough, second one (pictured) a little better.

I have a dremel with precision base. I might try that next time.

https://i.imgur.com/5WyzQ0d.jpg

I need to extend the heel blocks on these two. I cut them to size, daftly forgetting the back slopes and arches away from the heel.:rolleyes:

sequoia
01-10-2017, 06:30 PM
Definitely an ambitious end graft... Puzzled why you cut it so wide at the bottom and top until I realized that it was going to be routed out and covered by the routing channel for your bindings. Pretty good job by hand. That little, ahem, minor thing in the lower right can be filled and be made completely invisible. No one will ever know except you... The linings seems to be glued a little bit proud of the sides there. Gonna need all the lining you can get with that wide binding. Gonna be fine anyway, just always want as much meat as you can get with plenty to spare. Looks like you got plenty to spare with those thick sides. Lookin' good.

Dan Gleibitz
01-11-2017, 12:57 AM
All good observations sequoia. No need to worry about the depth of the binding rebate on this one as I'll cut it 1.1mm deep into 2.2mm sides. But I'd better have a rethink for my thinner sides, thanks for saving me future pain.

Any tips for filling little flaws? I've not yet managed to satisfactorily hide a mistake. Every method of filling seems only to highlight it. Sawdust methods are difficult - dark dust goes too dark, light dust goes too light. Timbermate shows up like neon because it's too flat. CA fill makes the smallest gaps obvious (and yet it's the least offensive thing I've tried so far).

No pictures tonight. Just cut and thinned a couple of backs and sketched the back braces onto some bits of wood. I'm a little concerned that the back plates might not want to comply with the amount of arch I planned.

cml
01-11-2017, 05:11 AM
I had pretty good results with sanding dust and white glue mixed to a paste.

sequoia
01-11-2017, 07:33 PM
I had pretty good results with sanding dust and white glue mixed to a paste.

Ah yes. But the glue and sawdust method always dries just a little darker than the surrounding wood which gives away the fix. I think it was Beau that said that you always need to go a shade lighter on the sawdust wood than the actual. Easier said than done. Recovery is always part of the fun. I would submit that if we didn't make the mistakes in the first place there would be no need for recovery. Yeah. Right. Back to real world reality... I would also say that dyed wood purfling covers many sins because dyed wood can be made to blend with CA glue to fill the gaps. It is an illusion, but it works unless you look very close. The dimensions are slightly off but the eye won't pick it up.

Dan Gleibitz
01-13-2017, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the gap filling suggestions, I'll experiment with white PVA.

Today I got my first soundbox sealed up. I'm not completely happy. I had a bit of a battle with my clamping system (but a trip to the hardware store tomorrow will fix that), and made the mistake of gluing the back in first. Despite my reservations about the tight radius I'd decided on, the back behaved okay. But once glued, it put a lot of strain on the sides and they didn't want to stay straight. So this one is slightly askew around the top shoulders. I'll be able to bring them close to matched with some careful but heavy sanding. But from now on I'm gluing fronts first.

https://i.imgur.com/lN335gn.jpg

Edit: I sanded out the right shoulder (left when viewed from the front) and now they match nicely, at least enough that my eye can't see any asymmetry. It's amazing what the eye can see - it was less than 1/3rd of a millimetre out. The perspex template was incredibly useful for identifying what needed taking off.

Meanwhile, I was disappointed to discover my Blackwood top, the one with the X bracing, had curled rather badly. The middle had sunk, mainly across the grain, but also lengthways. Now, I knew this wood was dicey and was always half expecting it to fail, but it had stayed very stable since I braced it, despite sitting it a room with windows open day and night and big swings in humidity.

So I set some weights on it and got to thinking. What had caused it to curl today, a pleasant moderate sunny summer day? I was thinking humidity of course, but I knew I'd glued it up at a stable 45ish %, and humidity when I noticed the problem was at 50%. It had been lower during the day, but not by a lot (minimum was 35%). It had sat unweighted, mostly leaning against a wall, through bigger swings over the last week. Then I realised that where I left it this morning sitting face down would have exposed it to the harsh summer sun on the back side and bracing. I think it was rapid expansion of the back due to heat rather than slow shrinking of the front due to humidity that made it curl.

I thought about ditching it but decided to give it another chance. This thing rings out like a xylophone when I tap it! It's now flat again and sitting weighted on the sides I made for it. Tomorrow I'll glue it together then expose it to some serious abuse for a week. If it sinks or gives other trouble I'll cut it off and replace it.

Dan Gleibitz
01-14-2017, 08:00 PM
It's been a day of ups and downs... for this ukulele. For me it's been all up. A good day!

https://i.imgur.com/ljzGUAH.jpg

I glued this up late in the morning. After lunch I watched the humidity drop. The top followed suit. Significantly, by almost a millimetre and a half. I don't know if you can see it in the top left photo.

That means yesterday's hypothesis was wrong. The problem here is just humidity (glued up too wet), combined with a too thin top made out of some very unstable wood. I think the extra large bridge plate is contributing too.

So it's pretty much a write-off. But when I touch/tape/scrape the top, he whole body resonates in a way yesterdays does not. It feels and sounds very close to my reference uke - the one I'd die happy if I could match. So I'm liking the X bracing and will make it my default. Hopefully the next feels as alive.

Where to with this failure? I may as well finish it and keep it. At best it will become a rainy day uke. At worst, a pretty hygrometer. :D

cml
01-15-2017, 12:05 AM
Just had a thought, are you adding a side port on one of the six ukes? I think I'll do that on mine.

I think these look good, too bad about the humidity. You could also rout the top off, rather than finish something you're not happy with.

Dan Gleibitz
01-15-2017, 01:04 AM
Just had a thought, are you adding a side port on one of the six ukes? I think I'll do that on mine.

I've been thinking about it. I'm not too keen on the usual oval, but I sketched a few alternatives and they all looked bad. I look forward to seeing yours.

There are a few other things I'm keen to try. I'm disassembling an iRig Acoustic pickup to poach the Mems microphone and electronics so I can mount it permanently in one. And working on a DIY MiSi style mic + super capacitor setup that will cost under $20 if I can pull it off.


I think these look good, too bad about the humidity. You could also rout the top off, rather than finish something you're not happy with.

Thanks, I'm still keeping the option open to cut off and replace the top. I have a fine Japanese pull saw that would do it without losing much wood at all. But the way it sounds now makes me curious about how it will turn out. I'm bolting the necks on with a metal dowel so I'll string it up without gluing the fretboard down and at least hear how it sounds. And then decide, or maybe just keep it like that until it goes completely bad.

cml
01-15-2017, 01:31 AM
I've been thinking about it. I'm not too keen on the usual oval, but I sketched a few alternatives and they all looked bad. I look forward to seeing yours.

There are a few other things I'm keen to try. I'm disassembling an iRig Acoustic pickup to poach the Mems microphone and electronics so I can mount it permanently in one. And working on a DIY MiSi style mic + super capacitor setup that will cost under $20 if I can pull it off.



Thanks, I'm still keeping the option open to cut off and replace the top. I have a fine Japanese pull saw that would do it without losing much wood at all. But the way it sounds now makes me curious about how it will turn out. I'm bolting the necks on with a metal dowel so I'll string it up without gluing the fretboard down and at least hear how it sounds. And then decide, or maybe just keep it like that until it goes completely bad.

How about a side port shaped as Australia:D? Im sure you can manage with your CAD background!

lauburu
01-15-2017, 08:56 AM
working on a DIY MiSi style mic + super capacitor setup that will cost under $20 if I can pull it off.
If you're successful could you pls post the recipe. Words of one syllable and lots of pictures for those of us who find electronics a mystery. Thanks in anticipation
Miguel

Dan Gleibitz
01-27-2017, 01:53 PM
Will do, Miguel.

I've been slack. I needed a bit of time to think about things, read up on things, revisit my motivation. And the tennis has been awesome.

I had a go at making a vertical binding jig for the router. That didn't work out. I'll buy the eBay version next week. I hand routed the binding channels instead using a trim router and my DIY router bit (bearing from a tiny flush cut bit on a slightly larger flush cut bit). Then I filed the back channel to get it close to parallel with the sides. This morning I bent a bunch of binding pieces. I broke the first three for luck, then the rest went easy apart from one that had a bit of a knot. Again, Blackwood for the Silver Wattle, and vice versa.

The edges are black because I cut a heap of 6mm strips on the laser cutter before sending the tube away for repair, leaving the ends intact with the notion that I could bend 6 at a time. That only half worked; I still needed to break them apart to get each one close to accurate.

Oh, and I routed the channels to about 6.2mm, just to keep things interesting. :rolleyes:

https://i.imgur.com/bTXrDtQ.jpg

Sorry about the crappy photos.

Edit to avoid bumping:

One done and partly sanded.
https://i.imgur.com/QGGpwz9.jpg

My method: hold, wick in instant CA, hold ten seconds, unglue fingers, move along a few centimetres, repeat. Then wick strong CA into the other side. Last time I tried using fabric tape stuff like everybody says to do and it was a disaster. This is easy, and gets a terrific tight fit. On the front side at least.

cml
01-28-2017, 11:10 AM
Looks fantastic Dan, I'm amazed at your fast progress and how nice your ukes look.
I too will try the CA approach this time. While I got a nice fit last time with tape (lots and LOTS of tape :P), and a little cover up, I like to see if I can do better. CA seems to work fine. I hope to have some bindings on my uke in a few weeks as well.

Dan Gleibitz
01-29-2017, 01:06 PM
Why is CA the worst thing ever (and best :P?), other than being extremely toxic?

Time to revisit this question.

I always thought this stuff was an irritant at worst. But last night after inhaling rather a lot of CA fumes, I suffered an unpleasant allergic reaction. Not the normal runny nose and weepy eyes (nothing wrong with a good flush of the sinuses!), but something akin to asthma plus fever plus flu. Squeaking, wheezing lungs, shortness of breath, total nasal blockage. It's going on 16 hours now and I'm still all stuffed up. Last night was miserable and sleepless.

Apparently this is a thing, and might be something that gets worse with exposure: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1034/j.1398-9995.2001.056005446.x/pdf

I'll buy some 3M organic vapour cartridges before using CA again.

I'm happy with how the uke looks though. Pictures later.

Edit:
https://i.imgur.com/yNITL25.jpg

sequoia
01-29-2017, 07:14 PM
I've never had the reaction that you report Dan, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. The paper you cite seems to refer to industrial workers who are exposed to this stuff all day, day after day for long periods. It is definitely an irritant. My only reaction (so far) has been the burning eye thing which goes away quickly. I wear goggles which seems to cure the problem and also protects my eyes. Also I believe "Hot Shot" makes a CA glue that doesn't have the fumes or at least that is what I saw on an O'Brian video... Here is another scary thing to think about: I was talking with a chemist in a bar about CA glues and said that sometimes when I use accelerator that I see a puff of what looks like steam. He casually said that what I was seeing was cyanotic acid gas or as we non chemists call it: Cyanide. Hmmmmm....... Cyanide = Not Good. Even I know that.

cml
02-10-2017, 08:26 AM
I hope you've recovered Dan! We want an update :).

Dan Gleibitz
02-10-2017, 03:43 PM
Thanks cml, by the third day I was all better. Then last Saturday I did it again, despite very minimal exposure to the glue. On the upside, my mask arrived on Monday. :rolleyes:

I'm just finishing up the inlay design for a couple of fretboards so I can set them CNCing this afternoon while I finish sanding and trimming the necks and drilling bolt holes.

cml
02-11-2017, 08:09 AM
Looking forward to seeing your progress. I'm waiting and waiting for my shellac. Did I say I was waiting? At least the darn flakes are now sent with a trackable parcel ID.
Oh well.

Dan Gleibitz
02-11-2017, 11:27 PM
Next time just let me know - I reckon I could get you a bag of shellac flakes in under a week.

I came dangerously close to making some progress this weekend!

On Saturday my CNC machine ate a very nice piece of Blackwood. It was supposed to make a fretboard, but instead came out looking like a piece of Swiss cheese that had been chewed by a Rottweiler. So I spent this morning pulling the machine apart and rebuilding it. But then I was all out of fretboard blanks, and the band saw is still cactus, and I couldn't find my good hand saw... so I borrowed a rusty blunt one from my neighbour and set to work making a piece of thick plain Blackwood into a stack of thin plain Blackwood boards.

The machine did its thing, albeit slowly because I managed to design the most inefficient toolpath ever. Meanwhile I finished sanding the neck, pore filling with CA (yeah, I know). Didn't get the faceplate glued on or the other end drilled or trimmed though. Put a final fill coat on the Silver Wattle body.

I'm experimenting with a bit of colour on this fretboard, and looking for shortcuts as usual. So I'm using dry pastel pigment for the inlay, set in CA (...). It's early yet but all indications point to success. Pics tomorrow.

https://i.imgur.com/nw4mVkS.jpg

Hmm. I've got all the bits together... I could get this one finished next weekend if I pull my finger out.

cml
02-12-2017, 01:25 AM
Exciting! Get it done :).

cml
02-25-2017, 03:20 AM
Dan, how are you doing? Any updates? I'll be adding an update to my log later tonight probably.