View Full Version : Sanding tenor sides to profile?

06-05-2017, 07:07 AM
So I've got my sides of this tenor bent and in a mold. I read about people tapering the sides, sanding the sides on a dish, I thought about tapering the sides a little bit on a gradual slope from the bout to the neck. but I really have no idea what I'm doing. Anybody know of a video or something that can give me a clue?100749

06-05-2017, 08:28 AM
Tapering the sides from the butt to the neck adds a bit of grace to an instrument, but on a uke its barely noticeable unless its extreme. Sanding on a dish is a great idea if you are going to add arch to one or both plates though, again, its usually a very subtle touch on a uke (visually speaking). Arching the plates is good for stability and longevity but makes the build a more complex operation. If you wish to add some taper but leave the back flat you can layout sandpaper on any flat surface and sand it in. I'm not convinced that any of this makes a difference in the tonal response of the uke except in the mind of the builder.

BTW, you've chosen some very nice wood.

06-05-2017, 08:58 AM
Thank you for your wisdom. I have the back at a 12 ft radius curve and the top at a 20-foot radius curve. Early on I was thinking of building guitars but thought I would start "small" so to speak. Part of theI stumbled across a table top at a garage sale that was that figured maple. It was bowed and heavily finished with a yellowing material on one side but I thought I could probably get a good five inches width of usable wood out of each of the 1 by 6 pieces that had been joined together. So I thought I could probably make a ukulele. I chose a tenor because at that time thought that the skills that went into building an acoustic guitar would be would be needed to build the tenor ukulele. But I've kind of developed an interest if not a love for this, and I am getting anxious to hear it. It just is a challenge to find the time to work on it. But I am not giving up. :-)

Michael Smith
06-05-2017, 10:21 AM
i glue in the end bloicks then rough down the sides with a small plane. Then take to the dish and take the sides down and just a smidge of the end blocks. Then glue in the kerfing a little proud then take back to the dishes and take down the kerfing.

06-05-2017, 02:22 PM
So, I probably should have marked lines on the sides before I bent them? I also don't see how to get a curved profile into those sides other than what is provided by the dish. Trying to figure this out without ruining too much wood. But it looks like I may just have to experiment to figure out the physics of this stuff.

06-05-2017, 06:18 PM
It really is very simple from my perspective. No radius sanding dish needing. Just make your neck block about a quarter inch or less lower than your tail block. Glue linings flush with the neck block and flush with the tail block. Plane and sand everything flat. Viola! A 1/4 inch tapered uke, I actually do it a little more subtle. 3/16"... Actually this little touch can make your uke sound much better contrary to modern thought. They started doing this about 600 years ago for a reason. Those guys were no dummies. Reason: It kills those higher residuals that make acoustic instruments howl like wolves. Howling = Not Good. Taper your uke. Its easy and they sound better.

06-08-2017, 05:39 AM
Thank you. I do like simple! :-)

But now the question is raised about what to do for linings. I looked at an article on kerfing vs. Solid lining by Tom Bill on the website, the art of luthiery. He seems to lean towards solid. Seems to think that solid provides better tone among other things. He would like compensation before telling me how to do that.

My question is what do y'all do and if you want to get into the why I would be interested in that as well. And what do you do in terms of dimensions?

I see no reason to purchase linings if I can make them properly at this point, at least, given that I am not in a production mode by any means.

To the moderators: should this be a new thread?

06-08-2017, 11:39 AM
Timbuck created a video that explains it all...


06-08-2017, 06:31 PM

Either this is pretty funny or the moral is that pretty much anything goes in luthierie.

06-08-2017, 06:31 PM
Do not do this! I've tried Ken's green been method and I can say it doesn't work! Things get mushy and mushy is not good...

But seriously: Whatever. Solid. Curfed. Whateva...

06-09-2017, 01:39 PM
Thank you. What a relief! I wasn't sure if I was missing the boat big time.
So not knowing the pros and cons I'm inclined to go with solid linings because it looks like less work. I wonder if I can just use the maple that I have already been working with? Or what would be a good choice of wood.

06-09-2017, 06:30 PM
Scraps are always good. Gets rid of those odds and ends. Waste is not good. Making ukes is like cooking sometimes: Those bits and pieces make a good stew. Maple should be fine. If you are going to do bindings, make sure it is thick enough so you can cut your rabit.