PDA

View Full Version : Follow along. Concert Uke Build



Allen
12-21-2017, 06:23 PM
I was requested to document the build of a concert uke by the client, and thought that I might as well post it here too.

It's going to be a fairly standard instrument for me. Using some very curly Australian Blackwood and will have a 16" scale length in order to get 14 frets to body.

I started off with a couple of long flitches in order to get the bookmatch of back and soundboard.

105512105513105514

After triming them out we get to joining the pieces together.


https://youtu.be/xrCAkAaWpds

mountain goat
12-21-2017, 06:28 PM
Great Allen. Very much looking forward to the development of this thread.

Allen
12-21-2017, 08:47 PM
Got a bit more done this afternoon.

The side material is cut slightly over lenght and a template is used to mark out the cut line for the body taper. There is also a mark on the templat that designates the waist.

105517

After triming the taper the sides are fed through the drum sander. Sending them through on an angle helps the sandpaper cut the material, and makes it last much longer. They are run through with the grain on the last few passes very lightly to minimize the scratches.

105518

After they have been brought down to 1.7mm thick I give them a pass over with the card scraper to clean up most of the remaining sanding scratches.

105519

They get a quick shape on the bending iron. It's pretty close, but I will "Set" the shape using a solid form and a silicone heat blanket. You can see it in the background.

105520

The temperature is regulated with a control and temp. sensor that is in contact with the wood. You do not walk away from this set up as the potential for fire is something you don't take for granted.

105521

sequoia
12-22-2017, 07:05 PM
Hey thanks Allen. Great series. I do my back and tops joins with tape too which works great and is so simple. Differences: I don't use a shooting board (not needed) and I don't use hide glue (tightbond). The one thing I noticed is that you seem to speak with an American accent. Are you an ex-pat American or just a Queenslander with a different accent? Just wondering.

Allen
12-22-2017, 07:48 PM
Hey thanks Allen. Great series. I do my back and tops joins with tape too which works great and is so simple. Differences: I don't use a shooting board (not needed) and I don't use hide glue (tightbond). The one thing I noticed is that you seem to speak with an American accent. Are you an ex-pat American or just a Queenslander with a different accent? Just wondering.

A Canuck from a very small town on the West Coast of BC. Been in Australia for 15 years.

Allen
12-22-2017, 08:07 PM
Today I managed to get some inlay done. Both back and soundboard were run through the drum sander to clean them up and then cut to shape on my laser.

The back was first. Sap wood from the same Australian Blackwood. Stuff with that much curl doesn't get tossed in the bin.

A note about glue. As everything is hard wood, and I wanted to make some progress today, I used CA glue for most of the inlay work. With the Maple in the purflings they will have a tendency to show a black line at the mitre join if you were to just use CA. So to help stop this it's best to coat the ends of those cuts with PVA glue. In this case the 4 short bits of purfling where glued in place with PVA so it coated the miters on the longer pieces as well.

105528

For nice clean results with purflings I like to inlay the material and afterwards come back and route the purfling channel. Spliting the line between the inlay and background material.

105529

Purflings can vary in thickness slightly, and there is very little chance you can push a 1.05mm piece into a 1.0mm channel. So to make sure that they are all a uniform thickness and just every so slightly thnner I run them through a jewelry roller press.

105530

And to cut the mitres you need an extremely sharp chisel. Also take the time to make sure the back of your chisels are flat and polished. It makes judgine the angle of the miter cut childs play.

105531

And the result with a spit coat of shellac wiped on.

105532

Allen
12-22-2017, 08:10 PM
The soundboard was treated in exactly the same way as the back inlay.

105533105534105535105536105537

Afterwards it was run through the drum sander on the back side to get to the desired thickness. Combination of calipers, flexing and tapping for me to decide where I'll settle.

sequoia
12-23-2017, 07:12 PM
And to cut the mitres you need an extremely sharp chisel. Also take the time to make sure the back of your chisels are flat and polished. It makes judgine the angle of the miter cut childs play.

Good tip. Obvious perhaps, but I've been using a razor and my eye and results are sometimes less than perfect... You probably know this Allen, but a coat of 1lb shellac on wood before getting anywhere near it with CA will prevent the dreaded black line or worse... Works with purfling too.... Lovely wood. Just lovely. Unfortunately not available to me. At reasonable prices that is. Someday maybe....

Allen
12-24-2017, 02:05 PM
Lot's of ways to attach necks to bodies, and this is the method that makes the most sense to me.

I want to design in the alignment and attachment from the start. So it starts with the neck block. I hope that the following will make sense when you see it in context.

I machine up long lenghts of material with a 20mm rebate that will end up being the mortise for the tenon that will be on the neck. I cut one end square and then trim the other end at 2 degrees. This will be towards the back and coincides with the taper of my sides from butt to neck. I mark both top and back on the block. The angles are subtle and easy to get things mixed up.

105580

All my measurements are based off of the soundboard, so the block goes into a jig that I designed for several operations. Here I will drill a cross hole in the block for the bolt that will hold the neck in place.

105581

The neck block needs some shape on the glueing surfaces to conform to the sloped shoulders of my body. I use a 12" radius sanding beam to achieve this. Witness lines are penciled in to show progress. It only takes about 10 swipes to get the correct profile.

105582

I glue it in place, and afterwards the tail block goes in. Masking tape to pull the joint together helps stop things from slipping about when the clamps are going on. And a great tip if you are going for a really tight joint that doesn't require an end graft.

The arrows penciled on the sides are also a reminder to me for which side the soundboard is.

105583

After the blocks are dry, the rims are installed into the body mold and taken to the raduis dish. I have this one set up on an old potters wheel. Because I took the time to trim the sides to my template profile, as well as cut that 2 degree angle on the neck block, there is very little material to remove. It only takes about 5 seconds to fair up the profile and ready to glue on the linnnings.

And now is the first time that you can see that my body mold has a machined out area at the neck block that I slip in a 20mm wide hardwood block that also aligns with the instruments neck block. The fit on both parts is very snug. This assures me that the neck block geometry is setting me up for an easy fit to my neck later in the build.

105584

Allen
12-24-2017, 02:28 PM
I shape and laser engrave the back reinforcement strip prior to glueing it in place.

When you do this for a living it's really important to work efficiently. Brace stock is something I go through a fair bit of. So it makes sense to prepare heaps of it in the few different dimensions I use so I just have to pull out the amount I require on the day.

So after the back reinforcement it's allowed to dry I prepare and fit the back braces. I use the 15' radius dish to put the shape on the bottom of the braces first.

Another big time saver is to do all the shaping that is practical to braces prior to glueing them to the back or soundboard.

For the back I set up a fence and stop on my bobbin sander to make sure that the scallop on all my braces are the same lenght and depth. Putting the scallop on these takes less than 30 seconds.

Then I go to my large belt sander and put a gentle radius onto the top profile. This again is less than a 30 second job.

The rebates are cut to fit the braces and I'm all set.

105585

Then it's off to the Go-Bar deck. I use a form that has my back radius machiened into it. Since the top of the braces now have a rounded over top, I use a flat bit of spurce to support the end of the Go-Bars.

105586

After these dry there will be next to nothing needed to do prior to attaching the back to the sides.

Allen
12-24-2017, 02:39 PM
The sides have had the back profile defined in the radius dish. The soundboard edge of the sides are pushed flat to my reference table and then both neck and tail block are clamped in place. Again keeping the body geometry aligned.

Now I fit the linings to the back and glue in place with hot hide glue (HHG).

Unlike PVA glues, HHG dries extremely hard and makes a very noticible difference in the tone of instruments built using it. Many builders may charge a premium for using it.

105587

When using HHG you want to see some squeeze out. You can either let it cool for a few minutes and pull the exess off. It will be like a rubber band. But in my tropical environment it's rarely cool enough for this to happen unless its the dead of winter, so its easier to just wipe away with a damp cloth.

105588

Allen
12-25-2017, 02:22 PM
After the back linnings have dried (overnight in this case) I take the rims back to the radius dish and flush them to the sides. If you are careful about the glue up all that needs to be removed is less than a millimetre, so takes just 5-10 seconds.

This is the first time you've got to see the tail block. I use plywood for this, as it's far more suited to the job it's required to do. However I add an off cut of the side material to dress it up a bit just because it's easy to do, and why not?

The mating surface of the tail block to sides also has to have a shape to it for my instruments rounded bottom. It can be shaped in a similar method as used on the neck block, but in my case I machine up long lengths of stock on my CNC router and just cut off a length as I need it.

Another thing to point out is that the tail block has been relieved at a slight angle back to a point to the width of the linnings. This is important so that the the contact area for both back and especially soundboard is even all the way around the body. If you don't do this, then it's pretty well certain that the foot print of the tail block will telegraph through.

105606

Now it's on to installing the linings to the soundboard edge of the sides. It's done in exactly the same way as those on the back. Cleaned up and set aside to dry.

105607

Tommy Jimmy
12-25-2017, 08:13 PM
Thanks for taking the time to do this.

greenscoe
12-25-2017, 11:11 PM
Allen, its great to see how you work, making everything look so simple and straight forward! It's interesting to see how you do your neck blocks now that you've adopted the bolt on neck.

You mentioned that HHG dries hard and makes a difference to the tone when used to attach the linings. Some guitar/uke makers use reversed kerfing or solid linings to make a stiff boundary between sides and top to ensure its the top thats driven and not the sides ( so also done for acoustic response improvement). Since you have decided that HHG is important, what are your thoughts on the kerfing/lining type?

Allen
12-26-2017, 11:09 AM
In a larger body instrument like a guitar that has deep sides and requires braces / stiffeners on them, I can see that they will make a difference. But the ukulele's body is so much smaller and shallower that I believe it's already stiff enough.

Concerning reverse linings, it's very easy to break the web on them when installing on the small uke body. You can also see faceting on them in a uke in the tight bends. While it won't make a difference in function, aesthetically it's totally unacceptable to me. They are much more suited to guitars

It was and to some extent still is reasonably common to see single layer solid linnings that are cut from exrta sides on instruments that didn't have bindings and purflings. But if you installed bindings them something wider was required. Now you are talking a 3 or 4 layer lamination.

To use solid linnings you either have to go to laminated sides that are made in a mold so they are perfectly shaped, and then another mold that takes into account those sides thickness to laminate up the solid linings so that you are assured of a good fit.

Or use single layer solid sides as I do, and then use them to glue up the solid linings, using them as the form. As any small variation in shape means that they won't fit.

As you can imagine, this is a very labour intensive process, an at he end of the day will reflect considerably in the base price of the instrument.

Allen
12-26-2017, 03:00 PM
The linnings to the soundboard are flush sanded flat. Again as i'm carefull with glueing them in place this takes less than 30 seconds.

105611

Now it's time to fit the back to the rims. Careful marking out where the braces will be inlet into the linnings, triming to length and checking the fit prior to applying HHG and the clamps.

105613

sequoia
12-26-2017, 07:13 PM
This is the first time you've got to see the tail block. I use plywood for this, as it's far more suited to the job it's required to do. However I add an off cut of the side material to dress it up a bit just because it's easy to do, and why not?


Ya know, nobody ever talks much about tail blocks. They get no respect. I think your use of plywood in this area is perfectly fine. It really doesn't make a difference to the sound or stability. However since I seem to have a lot of mahogany scrap from one piece necks, I make my tail blocks from mahogany scraps and that works just fine. Plus maybe nobody else will ever know what is in there, but I do and that seems important to me for some weird reason. Only the luthier knows.... By the way, I use an unknown radius on my tail blocks but it is close to 16 inches as far as I can tell. It just is what it is. Seems to work.

Hakugyu
12-27-2017, 10:05 AM
Allen,
Thank you for your generous thread. It is a gift to a beginner such as myself to have access to different techniques -- and your ukes are so lovely.

Allen
12-28-2017, 09:20 PM
Now onto soundboard.

I install the braces in 2 stages. First is the upper and lower transverse braces as well as the bridge patch. Again, like the braces for the back these are scalloped and rounded over prior to glueing in place.

105646

After they have dried then the fan braces are also glued in place. These are shaped close to the final dimensions and after dry will get the scallops into them for the final voicing of the top. A good clean up sanding and a spit coat of shellac keeping the edge that will be glued up clean.

105647

Again the brace locations are marked out and rebates cut into the linnings to fit them in. Transverse braces are trimmed to length and the fit is checked several times to be certain it will go together as planned once the HHG is applied.

105648

When using HHG, you have to move quickly keeping in mind that if it cools before you bring the parts together your joint will be poor. Once you get proficient at it, large glue ups like this are easy. I use a clamping caul and M6 screws to apply even pressure.

105649

After everything has dried, the body is removed from the mold and the top and back are flush trimmed to the sides and get a clean up sanding.

105650

gerardg
12-28-2017, 11:25 PM
Well done and nice stuff !

sequoia
12-29-2017, 07:38 PM
Yeah nice series Allen. One thing I've always wondered is if a builder shellacs the back and sides before gluing how one masks off the little bit that gets glued to the sides? That part. I don't shellac my insides but I want to but I'm never sure how to go about it. Just sticking the nozzle of a sprayer in the sound hole does not cut it.

DPO
12-29-2017, 07:54 PM
[QUOTE=sequoia;2026977]Yeah nice series Allen. One thing I've always wondered is if a builder shellacs the back and sides before gluing how one masks off the little bit that gets glued to the sides? That part. I don't shellac my insides but I want to but I'm never sure how to go about it. Just sticking the nozzle of a sprayer in the sound hole does not cut it.[/QUOTE

Back and sides glued on? Shellac. Or top and sides glued on? Shellac. Last piece shellac to within an ants foreskin of the join and voila.

Allen
12-29-2017, 08:12 PM
Putting some shellac on the inside is easier than you think. I apply it to the sides with a pad before the top or back is glued on. For the top and back I will usually apply to the entire surface and after it's dry I use a razor blade to scrape it back where glue needs to go. I only apply a very thin coat, so what needs to be scraped off is whisper thin. Takes only a few seconds.

Alternately, you can glue the back on first and apply to those surfaces you see and don't worry about the soundboard.

Allen
12-30-2017, 06:34 PM
As I mentioned earlier, I have designed as many things as reasonable into my instruments in order to assure that the neck will align and bolt to the body with minimal fuss. So this is how the neck and fret board work together.

I build my necks with a scarf joint for the head stock and glue ears to each side. Afterwards the head stock gets a head plate veneer and a back strap veneer. It makes for an incredibly strong head stock. They also get a Carbon Fiber truss rod down the center of them. That's what the machined slot is for.

105703

I machine my fret boards on my CNC router. This slot alignes the center of the fret board blank to my jig plate and afterwards will by used to locate the fret board to the neck as the CF will also extend up into the fret board.

105704

The CNC does the rest while I work on other jobs. The entire machining process for a compound radius, fret slots and fret markers is about 20 minutes.

Fret slots you will notice stop 2mm from the edge of the board. It makes the fret board a great deal stiffer than through slots. Plus you don't get the fret tangs poking through the edge of the fret board should it shrink in drier conditions.

The slots need to have some relief / bevel to the tops in order for the fret wire to be installed. Especially in very hard timbers like this Gidgee. I use a home made awl that has 4 sides that are very sharp. Just one scrape with the point down the fret slot and it does the job. You can see that the first few frets still need the treatment.

This is also the finish off the CNC. Only need a light sand with fine paper afterwards.

105705

Fret markers are installed with CA glue and allowed to dry. Leveled with the fret board, and then it's time for the frets.

If you are installing frets on a radiused fret board, then you need to put a curve to the wire so it will conform to the fret board.

105706

And because the fret slots don't extend right through, the tang has to be nipped off each end.

105707

Allen
01-02-2018, 10:07 AM
I make all my own bindings so that I can size them appropriately for ukuleles and choose timbers that compliment the color pallet I have in mind for each instrument. I worked out a simple method to attach the purfling strip to the binding so they will be bent together. These are made from some Australian Blackwood sap wood with black / maple / black purflings to match the rosette and back inlay.

For this job I use a PVA glue over HHG because it'e easier to dispence as a thin bead on the edge of the binding.

105729

Here you can see the parts sitting on a couple of granit slabs. I will use one as the back fence in order to clamp the pieces together. Pushing everything down flush to the base and letting dry for about 10 - 15 minutes before pulling them out and repeating with the next piece.

105730

I have two more laminate trimmers set up with their own dedicated bits. One to cut the binding rebate, the other to cut the purflings.

105732

Here I'm fitting the purfling to the back. This is one of those jobs you have to get right. Any small gaps will draw your eye and spoil the job. I will get all of them in place and then wick thin CA onto the edge where the back and soundboard contact the purfling. I have used HHG and even PVA previously, but have found that the CA is the best option here after spending the time to fit them.

105733

After an overnight dry I take them to the drum sander for their final thickness, then tape them together and bend them all at the same time. This especially helps with fragile and easy to break highly figured timbers.

105731

Now it's just a matter of fitting them very carefully to the instrument. Trimming to length and cutting the mitres on the purflings to meet up with the end graft I installed previously. I use HHG for this job. The heat and moisture really helps in getting them to settle into place.

Allen
01-04-2018, 03:30 PM
I built a tenoning jig sized for ukes based around several ideas from the guitar models you can see posted around the internet.

The idea is that an adjustable arm is attacthed to a hinged jig plate where the neck blank will be anchored and machined.

All of my perspex bracing templates have the bridge position marked out on them, so I hold them in place and adjust the lenght of the arm to coincide with that scale length. Then the body of the instrument is placed in position and the adjustments made to the tilt of the jig so I get the desired relief at the bridge position.

Bit out of focus but you should get the idea.

105773

As I have been rienforcing the idea of designing and building with an intent, you will notice the aluminim dowels in this photo. They fit the truss rod slot that is machined into the neck and assure that all the machining I'm going to do will use that reference.

105774

The other knobs you can see are for clamping cauls to hold the neck in place, along with the adjustors for the arm and the pitch of the jig.

105775

After I've machined the tenon, I use a small template to pencil in the shape of the heel, then remove exess on the bandsaw and clean up with a rasp. From here I need to relieve the area between the penciled in lines and the tenon. This is so when I floss the cheeks of the neck I'm only removing a small bit of material to achieve the fit.

105776

Allen
01-04-2018, 03:43 PM
The last part of the neck fitting system is this aparatus. You will recall I used one station to drill the neck block. A hole precisely placed in relation to what I will also into the neck.

Again there is the truss rod alignment for the neck. A 10mm hole is drilled with the aid of the drill guide. It will acommodate a 10mm Aluminium dowel that extends from fret board surface of neck though the heel.

105777

After the dowel is installed I then drill a 5mm hole through to accomodate the M6 thread I will tap and use to bolt the neck to the body.

105778

I loosely attach the neck to the body and then use 100 grit emery paper to floss the cheeks of the neck to get a proper fit to the body. Adjutments to the pitch, yaw and set of the neck can be made this way but with all the careful planning so far all that was required was 5 smooth passes on each side with the emery paper to floss the joint for a perfect fit.

I slip a thin masking tape between the neck and body so that I can glue the heel cap in place without the danger of glue squeezing out onto the body. After it's dry I will remove the neck from the body and glue the fret board to it.

105779

Allen
01-06-2018, 02:52 PM
The fret board and Carbon Fibre truss rod are glued to the neck with Epoxy. Allowed to dry overnight and then it's on to shaping the neck. I use a coarse and fine rasp for the bulk of material removal. Then refine shape with a combination of a card scraper and sand paper.

The way I try to explain it to students is that you remove wedges of material from the neck, then split that wedge by taking another wedge on either side of it untill you are left a relatively smooth shape that doens't take much to refine into the finished product.

105799

It takes me 15 - 20 minutes from start to finish.

105800

Allen
01-06-2018, 02:58 PM
After the body and neck have had a thourogh sanding and inspection for any flaws I'm ready to move onto the finishing process.

I pore fill all my instruments. I use a clear epoxy resin for this. On open pore timbers like this Australian Blackwood it will take 3 applications to achieve a perfectly smooth surface.


https://youtu.be/uiN7V_WIUrU

Allen
01-07-2018, 10:15 PM
After each application of epoxy is allowed to cure it's sanded out with P220 sandpaper and another application just like the last. After the 3rd round I give it a clean up and thourogh inspection. Attach the neck for a final sanity check before dissasembly and masking off the sound hole and fret board in preperation for the application of a sanding sealer.

105825105826

jupiteruke
01-08-2018, 05:02 AM
What radius do you use on the fretboard? In the picture the frets seem very curved, but maybe it is just a trick of the light.

Allen
01-08-2018, 10:02 AM
What radius do you use on the fretboard? In the picture the frets seem very curved, but maybe it is just a trick of the light.

It's a compound radius that is 12" at the nut end and 16" at the soundhole end.

stevepetergal
01-09-2018, 08:57 AM
It's a compound radius that is 12" at the nut end and 16" at the soundhole end.

What is the radius on the saddle?

Allen
01-09-2018, 10:30 AM
I shape it on my 16" sanding beam initially. Adjustment and compensation for each string from there by hand.

Allen
01-10-2018, 04:36 PM
A catalysed polyurethan sanding sealer has been applied after the epoxy pore filler sessions are complete and the instrument has bee finish sanded up to P220. The beauty of this sanding sealer is that once its cured (2-3 hours) that's it. No shrink back that you will have for solvent based products.

This is a high build product, so it's important to only apply one coat.

105890

It's time to level sand the finish. This is done in 3 stages with P220 grit paper. The first is at 45 degrees to the grain direction.

105891

It's ok to have a few shiny (low) spots after this first step. Hard to see in this image but there are some in the upper bout and around the edge near the bindings.

105892

Now sand in the opposite direction.

105893

And finally with the grain.

105894

At the end there shouldn't be any low (shiny spots) and ideally you will not have cut through to timber. Now onto applying the clear finish coats.

Allen
01-15-2018, 07:05 PM
The top coats are applied in the same manner as the sanding sealer. One coat with an overnight cure and level sand with P400, and then another coat of clear. Same deal with overnight cure and another coat of clear. Now the instrument has a nice full gloss coat and I start out with P800 to give a quick level sand. Not much is required now because of all the careful work that has gone in up to this point.

I then move onto using my 75mm (3 inch) random orbit sander with 3M Trizac wet sanding paper. Moving from P1000 through to P3000.

105982

The process goes very fast and leaves a lovely satin gloss finish that's silky to the touch. The client has requested the satin finish, but if it were to be gloss, then this is the point that I would move to the buffer.


https://youtu.be/KykHwFGPz2A

Now I can attach the neck. I do some fret work prior to attaching the neck. With some touch up once it's glued in place.

105987

Allen
01-15-2018, 07:17 PM
Time to make the bridge. I machine up dozens of blanks of various timbers every few months so I can just pull one out and add the decorative veneer to the string platform. This one is curly Gidgee with a straw colored curly Blackwood veneer.

105983

Bit of glue and clamp up for a few hours.

105984

Then it off to the CNC to machine the saddle slot and drill the string holes. And finally a thourogh sanding and polish.

I use a template to help locate the bridge. And it's always a good practice to use a string to do a sanity check to make sure that the string path is going to be running from nut to saddle where it's expected to be. A little off on way or the other is very dissapointing when it comes time to install the strings.

105985

Carefully scrape the finish away to raw timber where the bridge will sit. Get clamps in position and even do a dry run to determine if you have everything correct. Then apply glue and clamp. Set aside overnight.

105986

sequoia
01-16-2018, 06:33 PM
The top coats are applied in the same manner as the sanding sealer. ...

I've been watching your finishing technique with interest. I'm always interested in how others do it. I'm with you on stopping at about 3,000. Sure it doesn't give a glass like lustre that 90,000 does (90,000???), but it is good enough. I know a luthier that does his final polish with paper towels. His philosophy is that the too shiny a finish is off putting and intimidating to the player and I think he might be right. It is more about the player and less about the luthier and their egos in the end. Wise words.

Allen
01-16-2018, 09:52 PM
Satin finishes in a spray on product are rather hit or miss.

You either use one that has a flattening compound in it and hope that when you spray it, there are no flaws or dust specs whatsoever. As any work you do to remove them will mean that you have to do the same to the entire instrument. So a far more consistent approach is to just plan on level sanding what ever finish you are spraying on and pick a final sanding grit that will give you the desired amount of sheen.

One easy way for the novice is to use 0000 (super fine) steel wool and some paste wax.

However all satin finishes will start to develop a shine to them wherever the player has contact with the instrument. Such as the neck and where the arm crosses the lower bout. Effectively polishing up these areas. I like to see this, as it means that the instrument is being used as it's meant to be. Not hung on the wall like some piece of art.

Allen
01-16-2018, 10:28 PM
There is a fair number of steps involved in the set up of an instrument. And this isn't meant to be a comprehensive "How To" on the subject. But I'll give a couple of pointers that should get you through with acceptable results. In fact, a lot better than many factory instruments that I'm asked to work on.

When making a nut, you need to determine the height of the frets so you have a reference in shaping it. Use a pencil that has been flattened on one side to ride on top of the frets to mark this on the nut.

106001

Once you have removed all the material that isn't required and sanded and polished it up you then need to determine where the strings will be. I use a straight edge to determine this.

106002

After making with a very sharp pencil the two outside string positions and scoring those lines with a fine saw you then you grab your string spacing tool made by Ken Timms.....OK, it's not absolutely necessary, but it works a treat and really cool.

Score those lines with your fine saw and then deepen all 4 slots with your sting files. Not too deep. Just enough to keep the strings in place. We'll adjust depth later.

106003

Determining the action at the 12th fret is also easy to work out with something as simple as a drill bit and a straight edge. Grab a 1/8" drill bit and place it at the 13th fret. Lay your straight edge on top of the first fret and the drill bit. Measure the distance from the bottom of the saddle slot to the bottom of the sttraight edge and it tells you how tall your saddle needs to be for the correct action at the 12th. Here I've already made the saddle and just checking to confirm the measurements.

106004

And finally once the strings are on, you adjust the action at the nut. This is done by fretting the string at the 3rd fret and observing the distance between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret. It should be apporoximately the thickness of us old timers would refer to as a rolling paper. Perhaps a couple of them for the thicker C or low G strings.

You sneek up on this adjustment. As when you get close it can be the difference between one or two strokes of the file as to being spot on or too low.

106005

You may need to adjust the action at the 12 fret again once the strings have had tension on them for a few days. It's common and desirable for the top to pull up and the bridge to rotate a bit and could mean adjustments are required.

Allen
01-20-2018, 01:43 PM
And finally some photo's of the completed instrument.

106067 106068 106069 106070 106071

Chopped Liver
01-20-2018, 03:05 PM
Wow! Beautiful work! Bravo!

sequoia
01-20-2018, 05:43 PM
Thanks for the build thread. Very interesting and, as usual, a lovely uke in the end.

greenscoe
01-20-2018, 10:00 PM
As ever a great looking instrument. Its certainly been interesting seeing how you build: as I said earlier you make it all look so simple and straightforward.

I've always thought your purfling and binding looks perfect. This is something that many find difficult, in my case because I lack patience. So it was interesting to see that you make it all yourself (dimensional accuracy), and if I understand correctly, simply use laminate trimmers rather than a binding jig ( how many home made jigs are out there?)

It seems you have thought out every step along the way to avoid mistakes: that's something I still need to master. Thanks for making the effort to let us see this building process.