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Rrgramps
02-25-2017, 10:32 AM
I've stalled along enough, and my lurking here has garnered me just enough knowledge to start building one of these ukuleles thangies. Let's see if I can get'er done.

I really like the rope joining method, but newspaper, although not hard to clean up, just added a step that I decided to experiment with later. Packing tape on the board underneath the plates worked even better, and the plates didn't stick. I've tried newspapers and wax paper on top, with satisfactory results for either.

Im using an old spruce top from a guitar build I started in 2004, but never finished. Sides, bottom, and neck are mahogany or sappele. Can't remember. Hah
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cml
02-25-2017, 10:49 AM
I use oven baking paper. It's non stick =).

I'm sure your uke will be stunning Trent!

Rrgramps
02-25-2017, 11:26 AM
I use oven baking paper. It's non stick =).

I'm sure your uke will be stunning Trent!

Thanks, but I'm starting off plain. I've used your threads for beaucoup information. Shiny packing tape is non-stick too, and I added it to the bottom of the rope spreaders. Now, neither top nor bottom side of the glue line sticks, and there's no extra pieces of paper to handle. Plus, I'm careful about using excess glue in the first place.

Also, the glue line is almost fully visible on the top side. Who knows what can happen under opaque paper, like the rare issue of a raised edge. :p

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Rrgramps
02-25-2017, 11:43 AM
I'm using some herringbone purfling for the rosette, just because. :D I've added another pic with the fretboard and bridge laid on the top, just to get an idea.
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sequoia
02-25-2017, 06:16 PM
From the look of your shop and your tools and your progress so far you are going to do just fine. Looking good. My only comment is that the outlines for the fan bracing look way too robust. Beware over bracing.

Rrgramps
02-25-2017, 06:21 PM
From the look of your shop and your tools and your progress so far you are going to do just fine. Looking good. My only comment is that the outlines for the fan bracing look way too robust. Beware over bracing.
Thanks

Braces are finalized at 5/16"wide by 1/2"tall. My outlines for them are 3/8" wide. Prior to gluing them in, the outlines will be erased, and only the centerline will be used for alignment. It's just too hard to erase that close to the braces; although they probably will not be seen without a mirror.

Rrgramps
02-28-2017, 04:47 PM
Added braces with a 25' radius on lower end and gradually flatter at the top brace, for the fretboard. Braces shifted a little when the glue was wet, so I tried shaking some salt into the glue for traction. Heard it was a good idea, but I'm not impressed. Nudging the glued pieces if they slide is good enough for me. Using a little less pressure helps too.
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This Lee Valley Veritus mini plane actually does work. Takes some of the load off the block plane.
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Nothing new here, (except for newbies) just getting the brace shapes roughed out. My build trail is serving three outlets. Documenting my build, letting new builders watch and maybe learn or gain confidence, learning from experienced builders who are probably wonder what in the world was I thinking. LOL
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This is pretty close to final shape of my braces. Maybe smooth them up a little, and move on to notching out the kerfing, drilling the neck block hole, and working on the neck attachment area. I'll be out of town for a couple of days, but it'll be here when I get back. My goal is to work an hour each day.
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Popsicle sticks for soundhole reinforcement. LOL :D

sequoia
02-28-2017, 07:21 PM
The transverse braces look good and the Popsicle stick thing is a great idea. Whatever works... However I can't help thinking that the bridge patch/fan bracing construction looks a bit heavy. It might be just right for this particular top but this is the engine that is gonna be driving the uke and this part has to be right. My theory is that if one errs, err on the light side rather than the heavy. Goldilocks Syndrome again: Not too light not too heavy but just right. Right.... Also most people scallop the ends of their fan braces so that they run out as they reach the top. Why? I have no idea, but it seems to make sense. Everything is curved, rounded on an uke. No right angles... I say glue it up, string it up and see what you think.

tparse
02-28-2017, 08:03 PM
Rrgramps.... Wow...That bridge backing support piece of wood looks pretty heavy..... If you want to try something new, one thing to try is a .018 thick piece of carbon fiber sheet... I have built 60 or so ukes using it and have never had a problem with the top... I didn't invent the idea... I did read the book "Left-Brain Lutherie" tho. I don't agree with everything in this book (like epoxying the neck to the body) but there is a lot of very good information there if one spends the time to read it...

Rrgramps
03-03-2017, 04:25 AM
Ok. The top is put on hold due to the .095" thick bridge plate error that I made in effort to rush, and get'er done. That top is now a reject, and will not pass inspection until a satisfactory solution is chosen from a list of alternative solutions. Partial list below:

1. Remove the braces, then machine the top topwood from the patch with a plane and ROS thickness to the proper dimension of somewhere between .03" to .06"; probably the thinner numbers. Some folks risk not having a bridge patch and it hasn't come back on them yet; or NOT. LOL

2. Quick and dirty, is to keep everything glued intact and remove material from between the braces. Sounds easy, but is it practical? (it would be an unseen cosmetic blemish -- without a mirror.) But I might stew over it, just because.

3. Scrap the board and start over. That would chance something else going wrong. I do like certain aspects of this top, however, I want to move forward and mate this top to the body.

What other options are available?

Rrgramps
03-03-2017, 04:37 AM
The Popsicle stick thing is a great idea.

... Also most people scallop the ends of their fan braces so that they run out as they reach the top. Why? I have no idea, but it seems to make sense. Everything is curved, rounded on an uke. No right angles... I say glue it up, string it up and see what you think.

Gotcha on the final brace detailing — it's what I thought too. The popsicle stick was something Kathy Matsushita did a few years back. She also used them as reinforcement around the perimeter of the sides on her guitars.

Gluing it up to see what I've got is the easiest route. Would it sound like the box was stuffed with insulation(?) ... maybe. But it would leave no doubt as to why it sounded dull.

Rrgramps
03-03-2017, 08:39 AM
I chose #2, and started with a chisel, then used the scraper. It needs a little final tweaking before cleaning up the rough ends. Like most seconds, its cosmetic and not easy to tell after the box is closed.

Thinned from .095 to .038 — then stopped.
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cml
03-03-2017, 08:48 AM
I chose #2, and started with a chisel, then used the scraper. It needs a little final tweaking before cleaning up the rough ends. Like most seconds, its cosmetic and not easy to tell after the box is closed.

Thinned from .095 to .038 then stopped.
Sounds like a success. (Almost) No-one will know. :)

Rrgramps
03-03-2017, 09:19 AM
Sounds like a success. (Almost) No-one will know. :)

Thanks cml...
But... you will know. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

See pictures above. It's workable, took less than 20 minutes, and I didn't have to remove parts.

Briangriffinukuleles
03-03-2017, 08:08 PM
Trent, Nice work, I don't think that husky bridge patch will be a problem, but the bracing will be. Just thin those babies down to about half of what they are now and move forward with your build. I make my bridge patches of heavy walnut about that thick because I use bridge pins and want plenty of wood to support them. The patch will move up and down riding on thinned down tone bars (braces). as you are paring them down visualize them vibrating.

Rrgramps
03-21-2017, 08:21 AM
Thanks Brian; I have since brought my braces almost to the diminishing point. The 065" top should really move now. LOL

Next stage is assembling the top to the sides. I've used combinations from StewMac and Hana Lima 'li for bits and pieces. Obviously I did not choose the Spanish neck joint, because I've previously built a guitar with bolt-on neck, and feel more at ease with it. I'm going to do the Spanish neck someday. Maybe.
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My first build is starting to take shape, and beginning to look like a ukulele in the midst of the sawdust and wood shavings.

sequoia
03-21-2017, 06:49 PM
Looks good. My only observation would be that the neck and tail block are a bit big and taking up valuable top space. Don't need to be that robust and they can be made thinner by just knocking off that edge back with a 45 degree cut where it meets the top. In other words cut the corner off where the blocks meet the top by 45 or even 60 degees. Maximize your free vibrating top while supporting you head and tail. Best of both worlds. Remember that every square inch of that top space is as valuable as gold.

Rrgramps
03-22-2017, 12:30 AM
Thanks sequoia, but the box is closed up. I glued the back on a couple of days ago. Trying to make correction is difficult, because my machete is 3" wide and won't fit into the soundhole. LOL :) I guess "robust" is what some of us newbies do on our first build, and there are going to be a lot more barnacles until build #two or #three.*

For this build, the least mistakes I have done is a ruined top, broken set of sides, scorched another set; and I'm still not done. This first build a prototype, ripe with areas for improvement, and high hopes that it will be a functional, working product. With the observed robust build, I expect the sound to be on the bright side, with less low frequency content. Maybe.

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*Joking. It's gonna be at least ten builds until the mistakes get more controllable by taking those mistakes and using alternate design deviation to reinvent the original process and call it creative. Hopefully, there will not be as many train wrecks as at first. It's a little puzzling to think I could've purchased several quality ukuleles for what I've invested so far. Maybe it's the challenge, or attempt to avoid senility that keeps me from quitting. But if a final product evolves, however imperfect, the hallelujah chorus will erupt from my soul. That is the intended payback.

sequoia
03-22-2017, 06:51 PM
But if a final product evolves, however imperfect, the hallelujah chorus will erupt from my soul. That is the intended payback.

Believe me the payback is way worth the investment. If you are a player, the satisfaction of playing your own built instrument gives much satisfaction. There is that time when the halleujah chorus does erupt and you think my God that is a sweet sounding instrument. (A couple of glasses of wine/beer/vodka helps speed this process along.)

Briangriffinukuleles
03-25-2017, 09:29 PM
sequoia is exactly right. The day will come, and I bet for you, very soon, when you say to yourself, That is a heck of a great sounding uke. Those braces look really nice, and with a .o65 top I bet that use will sing hallelujah for you. Remarkable work you are doing great.