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hoji
05-03-2018, 03:56 PM
After 4 months I finished my first actual uke build. I had done some cigar box and gourd stuff before, but this was my first time bending wood. I decided to start with a Nunes type design. Made a ton of mistakes, especially the Spanish heeel... Almost a disaster. But the thing plays and doesn't sound terrible. Not great, a little boxy, but kind of rustic sounding. I can't put it down!

I used Douglas Fir for top, sides, back, neck. All from a 4x4 post from Home Depot. Then some Oregon Myrtle for the fretboard, bridge, and headstock veneer, which I got from a scrap pile from a lumberyard while visiting a friend in Portland. So this is also a sort of Pacific Northwest thing.

I sure learned a lot... Next one should be better.

108793

For the heck of it, I took photos if the process... Don't laugh. https://flic.kr/s/aHskueHWxL

Spicysteve
05-03-2018, 05:55 PM
No laughing at all, nice work Hoji. The clear Fir is fantastic.
Nice job!!!
Cheers,
Steve.

greenscoe
05-03-2018, 09:21 PM
Welcome to the forum.

You've made an interesting looking instrument! It's clear that you have the equipment and know what's required to make a uke. As a first instrument it's great, so you can congratulate yourself.

I see you've had issues with the binding, and that's not unusual. I am not sure that the rebate was good/even before you added the binding. Looking at the photos, I think one issue is that the binding was too thick. Anything more than 2mm is difficult to bend and if its not pretty well spot on, no amount of tape will pull it in to the body and produce a tight joint. Its also helpful to use an F clamp across the waist as this is where the gap usually appears.

Many on this forum use the Spanish heel , others like myself make the box and add the neck ( dovetail, bolt etc...). Binding is harder if you use the Spanish Heel.

I look forward to no 2. I recommend cherry or walnut for the back and sides ( spruce or western red cedar for the top). These are not expensive and both bend well (1.8mm).

gerardg
05-03-2018, 09:46 PM
Nice job - nice uke - and nice report.

Many tips shared.

Thank's !

:)

hoji
05-04-2018, 01:58 AM
Yep greenscoe, the binding was where things started to really go downhill. I learned my lesson and will build them up from thinner layers next time.

And yes, next one is going to have walnut back and sides, cherry neck, and western red cedar top. Starting today!

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words of encouragement!

greenscoe
05-04-2018, 02:57 AM
Glad to hear you are starting no 2.

Are you sticking to this design or making a modern looking instrument?

hoji
05-04-2018, 06:36 AM
I was planning to make both a baritone and a soprano, all from this shape, sized up/down. However, I feel like it needs more area on the soundboard, to get more volume and tone. So I'll probably go with a more modern design next.
I was really hung up on using my own shape/design and not a common stock plan, but I guess I need to learn a bit more and study traditional designs first. I have the Hana Lima 'Ia tenor plans, so I might just use that.

Although.... The Nunes shape sure is pretty. Maybe if I tweaked it a bit, and enlarged and rounded out the lower bout somewhat... Hmmm.

Bill Sheehan
05-04-2018, 06:47 AM
Awesome job, Hoji !! I got a kick out of your reference to the uke "not sounding terrible"! Perhaps, many years down the road, when you're a prominent craftsman and selling a ton of these, we'll see that slogan on your web page: "Building ukes that don't sound terrible, for over 25 years." :o)
Seriously, though, looks like you have "the gift", and best of luck going forward!

mountain goat
05-04-2018, 06:55 AM
it's gorgeous hoji. well done man.
dunno if you've seen the old Hollywood concert models that were built in the 20s and 30s by the Schireson brothers, but
they have something of the Nunes aesthetic, albeit with a bigger bum. if I were scaling up... :)

greenscoe
05-04-2018, 11:22 AM
I was really hung up on using my own shape/design and not a common stock plan, but I guess I need to learn a bit more and study traditional designs first.

Although.... The Nunes shape sure is pretty. Maybe if I tweaked it a bit, and enlarged and rounded out the lower bout somewhat... Hmmm.

I am a hobby maker. I've made about 28 instruments, sopranos, concerts, tenors, banjo ukes and small guitars of various shapes. Every one is of my own design, so I would encourage you to do your own thing, if that's what appeals to you.

I would either enlarge the lower bout or use 14 frets to the body thereby moving the bridge closer to the soundhole on your current design if I were making this instrument (it is a pretty shape).

Its certainly true that making the same instrument over and over with small tweaks to assess changes helps to hone a particular design. Whatever you do, its a learning process. If you are doing it for fun/self satisfaction and are not hell bent on making a masterpiece before you know what you are doing, it doesnt matter how you proceed. Theres a lot to learn about each step in building and this can be obtained from others on this forum and by watching Youtube (ukes and classical guitar making).

Pete Howlett
05-04-2018, 02:17 PM
Great. Keep at it :)