View Full Version : Brittle Kerfed Linings

08-13-2018, 11:04 PM
As most of you know I pre bend my linings on the hot pipe so that I can get a good fit... But my latest batch of mahogany kerfed linings turned out to be dry and brittle and easily snap while bending ..So I've been soaking them in hot water with a little washing up liquid added to soften them up...Since I've been doing this I have had no more breaking..I have used the same method on difficult side ribs with good results.
https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1777/29090077367_c89e39f06a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/LjAfw4)IMG_0889 (https://flic.kr/p/LjAfw4) by Ken Timms (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150702140@N02/), on Flickr

08-14-2018, 02:50 AM
I always soak the sides for my tiny nano ukes(1/2 soprano scale) even though one ukulele builder told me that it wasn't "the proper way to do it".
I haven't tried adding the washing up liquid though,I'll give it a go.

08-14-2018, 02:03 PM
I work so hard to make sure all the wood is at 6% moisture content or less. I understand that soaking increases the pliability temporarily, but surely it will lead to problems down the road as the wood dries out. IMO, if the wood is too brittle when it is acceptable dry, discard it and use a different piece.

08-14-2018, 05:55 PM
I actually don't really care if the linings break. I just glue the pieces in as they would go. I mean, it really doesn't matter does it? They usually break at the waist and I i just trim and clamp that part and everything is good.... I would be a little leary of wet wood going in and then drying out and shrinking. Linings in my opinion don't really need to be perfect except on the back where they show through the sound hole. There I try to make them look real purty. Otherwise...meh.

Ken Franklin
08-14-2018, 07:27 PM
There should be no negative effect of wetting the linings as long as the linings were initially dried to remove the bound water. After the linings have been glued in they need to dry out before the plates are glued on. If well-glued the linings should not shrink away from the sides. I dampen my solid linings before I laminate them together as they are glued to the sides. I do it all the time.

08-14-2018, 09:58 PM
After the soak I bend them on the hot pipe to the shape of the uke..as im doing this they dry out and hold their shape..when I fit them they are bone dry... I try and get as good a fit as possible with just two spring clamps at the waist and the lining ends hard up against the head and tail blocks.if this is done well ony a few clamps are needed....some times when they are a bit loose (cut a bit short) I temporarily hold them in place with a small wedge at one end.

I got this method from the old Nunes film "Building a 1900's ukulele" where it shows linings glued in place with only two clothes pins and two wedges...I like doing e'm this way co's it's a bit of a challenge to get it right....I think I've got a bit of OCD in there as well, co's if one breaks while fitting I scrap it and replace it with a whole new one...No bits of linings allowed ;)
For anyone who never saw that film it's here https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=chrf-yff46&p=old+ukulele+making+film#id=1&vid=4e2c18e59adf9618ecfe69c9655fd55f&action=click

08-15-2018, 02:54 AM
I think I saw someone suggesting adding fabric conditioner to facilitate bending too.

08-15-2018, 03:15 AM
Way back in the late 1990s Huss & Dalton bought linings from Euphonon, and on many of the guitars the bottom edge of the lining mysteriously telegraphed through the finish. When we started making our own lining the problem disappeared. Go figure. Instruments are happiest when they are baffling.

08-15-2018, 04:39 AM
Sorry to get me into the conversation (I'm not a luthier even when I did some works on wood), but I think high quality is in the detail's degree. That's where we can see the passion and care someone puts on the things he/she does (or makes, if we're talking about musical instruments). We can judge if that cares or not just taking a look at the level of demand that instruments have...
My Two cents.

08-15-2018, 06:36 PM
I think high quality is in the detail's degree. That's where we can see the passion and care someone puts on the things he/she does (or makes, if we're talking about musical instruments).

I've seen some high end luthiers put in linings and just snap them off and fit and everything is good to go and looks fine. Zip, zip, zip. Very fast. I agree that passion and care are important, but sometimes there is no need to get too OCD about these things. Plus, these linings are going to pretty much get routed off once the binding is going in. I guess my point is: Concentrate on those things that show or might affect the sound, not the mundane structural stuff. But if this makes you happy. Go for it. I get that too. It is an art. Below a picture of some linings on an uke I did.


08-21-2018, 05:38 AM
I made this video on how I fit these linings OCD style..Doin' em this way you can see that not many clamps are required to get a good glue joint.:)