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Jerome collector
04-28-2018, 04:03 AM
I fell in love with ukuleles about 5 years ago and have acquired several since then, among them a vintage Martin Style 0 and a Gold label Kamaka. This past fall-early winter I became obsessed with the idea of building one. I started the project in mid-January and just completed it a week ago. Although many aspects of construction were challenging, none proved insurmountable.

I've attached a few photos of the final product below, and the complete build story can be found on my website (http://jeromeclockcollector.com/mikes-ukulele-build-journey/). The following woods were used: curly maple (top), mahogany (sides, bottom, bridge, neck), and rosewood (fretboard, headstock overlay, nut, saddle). Among the power tools used: table saw (was never able to get it perfectly aligned), scroll saw, miter saw, drill press, sanders, drill (mounted in vise, with a crude barrel sander attachment for coarse sanding). I purchased a Japanese pull saw and a fret saw specifically for this project. I don't think I could have pulled it off without those two.

For the label, I used the name Chauncey Jerome, as a sort of tribute to one of the most important 19th century American clock makers. I'm a collector of his clocks and a researcher of labels used in his clocks, so I thought I'd borrow his name to put on my label.

I had no preconceived notions about how the ukulele would sound when (if) completed. I was very pleasantly surprised with the results. It's not the loudest ukulele, but it has a very bright sound.

Mike

Spicysteve
04-28-2018, 10:08 AM
Very nice build. Hope to be able to post my own build someday.
I like the center stripe on your headstock.
Cheers,
Steve.

Briangriffinukuleles
04-28-2018, 06:29 PM
A very nice job, congratulations. You must have had some previous woodworking experience to have achieved that level with your first instrument. Bet it won't be your last.

Jerome collector
04-29-2018, 04:39 AM
Very nice build. Hope to be able to post my own build someday.
I like the center stripe on your headstock.
Cheers,
Steve.


A very nice job, congratulations. You must have had some previous woodworking experience to have achieved that level with your first instrument. Bet it won't be your last.

Thanks! I was originally planning to use just maple for the headstock overlay, but I ended up cutting the piece too short (measure twice, cut once!) and didn't have enough left over to make a new piece. I had plenty of rosewood but, combined with the rosewood fretboard, thought that would be too dark, so I incorporated the maple stripe up the middle. One of those instances where my initial screw-up resulted in a better outcome.

Truth be told, my woodworking experiences are pretty minimal. I've done some minor restoration work on antique clocks, primarily veneer replacement. I think if I'd considered how little I really knew about woodworking (never mind constructing an instrument!) before I started, I never would have gotten the project off the ground. I will say that I lost many hours of sleep doing what I call "war gaming". I'd wake up in the middle of the night puzzling over how best to tackle something, and my brain would not quit until it had thoroughly explored all options. Hopefully, the second time around I won't go through that again.

I have started thinking about making another one, but it will probably be a project for the fall and winter. I haven't sorted out what shape to make or what woods to use. It will almost certainly be a soprano, because that's the size I'm most comfortable playing.

Mike

sequoia
04-29-2018, 05:59 PM
I can relate! But that is kind of the fun of building the thangs. There are always little problems that need to be overcome and sleeping on them usually solves the problem. I'm an amatuer builder and have built more ukes than I care to think about and I have built exactly one uke that didn't present one problem along the way. The thang just went together perfect from start to finish; a huge exception. Keep practicing and thinking, but be aware that there are always challenges. That is what makes it so addictive and fun. If you like problem solving, ukulele building is for you.