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Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 07:49 AM
I think I have figured out why a small batch of simple ukulele I built for FUN in Finland ended up sounding so good - solid linings. This method makes for a very rigid side that will still transfer top energy to the back thus making the instrument 'alive'. I'm doing another batch soon in koa, mahogany and cherry; some will be my style 0 plain Janes and some are style 1 with binding only to the front and two having binding top and back. It will be interesting to compare and see if making the sides really stiff helps in projection and volume and how binding an edge also effects sound.

??? :rulez: ???

At least that's the plan...:smileybounce:

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-11-2009, 08:46 AM
Next you will be installing sound rings into the lower bouts!

Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 08:55 AM
Now there's an idea Chuck....;)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-11-2009, 09:03 AM
I know people who swear by them in their guitars.
I think your idea may have some merit. I'm no scientist so I don't know. I'll be seeing David Hurd (Kawika) tomorrow and I'll ask him his thoughts. I brace my upper bout as stiffly as I can and with all my bindings and purflings glued together I believe I am achieving the same effect in stiffening up the lower "frame". But this is all secret stuff that I'm not allowed to talk about.

Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 09:09 AM
If you look at the guitar builders - the curious ones, they play around a lot with the idea of stiffening all that is below the soundboard. Charles Fox with his highly engineered reverse lining; Smallman laminating the sides of his classical guitars; Rick Turner using flying braces that stiffen the upper bout and seem to me to act as trusses to stiffen up the top; McKnight using many techniques to get this effect. I also like the solid linings because I don't have to spend half a day unplugged from reality making kerfed lining...

Is David still building? I thought he's retired now...

Sven
12-11-2009, 09:13 AM
I also like the solid linings because I don't have to spend half a day unplugged from reality making kerfed lining...
This is true. I almost always get some leftovers from the sides that will fit as linings with very little extra bending. I made a uke recently with solid linings that sounded very good. Some other variables had changed slightly as well so I can't put it all on the linings account tho'.

Sven

Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 09:19 AM
I bet you can Sven! Ever wondered why those Chinese upscale ukes sound so good? Solid linings and a very 'stiff' finish...

Matt Clara
12-11-2009, 09:30 AM
So, solid lining require more pipe bending? Is that really easier than cutting kerfs?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-11-2009, 09:35 AM
Unplugging from reality is my favorite part! I love the mindless days of making bracing, kerfing and bridge stock.
From my own experience, my bound and purfled ukes sound better than those that haven't been, probably because all of that makes the rim stiffer.

Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 09:49 AM
I only machine bend my sopranos... so doing the binding is a breeze...

Kekani
12-11-2009, 01:59 PM
IME, stiff sides work, with the exact results you describe. Reverse kerf for me. Shhh! Don't tell everyone.

Aaron

Rick Turner
12-11-2009, 03:26 PM
I've built a couple of ukes with my flying buttresses and carbon fiber topped back braces with stiffened sides, and they really do work...and add considerable labor to an already labor intensive uke. But for those special players and for those of us silly enough to lose even more money making our little flea friends, it does work!

Rick Turner
12-11-2009, 03:28 PM
OH, one more thing...we use the upper bout for tone and cantilever the fingerboard extension out over the top so it doesn't touch and dampen vibration. We do top the upper bout transverse brace with .021" thick carbon fiber on all Compass Rose ukes now, and the fingerboard extension is supported with .125" x .500" CF. I think some of the tone and volume we get is from allowing the entire top to vibrate. This has worked well on my acoustic guitars, too.

Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 07:36 PM
Great ideas Rick but too radical for the conservate European market! It's hard enough trying to get them to accept anything other than mahogany or koa :)

koalohapaul
12-11-2009, 07:53 PM
All of my builds that require binding jobs have been solid liners for years. I HATE making kerfed liner. It's a tedious job that isn't gratifying when you're finished. Then you need to make a whole new batch, when you run out. Although I have to bend the liners on my pipe, I much prefer doing that, than making kerfing. I never gave a thought as to the effect on the acoustics. (Kerfed vs. solid, not the issue of having a liner and binding)

Pete Howlett
12-11-2009, 10:22 PM
I'm no scientist. However i do believe that the stiffness of the sides means that more energy is concentrated into the top. There is also an un explored area of the back as deflector. At one time I made my backs on a 4' radius... I may go back to this idea next year for my signature sopranos. I'm also seriously trying to figure the best way to create a 'double' back instrument. When I played an instrument with this feature back in 1976 I was blown away by it's volume. I'm not sure the relevance of it now we have very good electrics to deal with the volume issue.

koalohapaul
12-11-2009, 10:36 PM
Pete,

Interesting idea about the double back. I've been wanting to do a double side ukulele for a while, but haven't had the time. If I can break away from production, it's to do special orders. If I can break away from that, it's for customs. If I can break away from that, I get to do what I want creatively.

I've also toyed with the idea of adding strips of support to the sides of a "normal" instrument, running perpendicular to the grain orientation. I would imagine the added stiffness would add something to the volume and tone. I've seen a couple of guitars that use this technique and I'm really curious what the effects would be with an ukulele.

Dave Higham
12-12-2009, 03:17 AM
we cantilever the fingerboard extension out over the top so it doesn't touch and dampen vibration. We do top the upper bout transverse brace with .021" thick carbon fiber and the fingerboard extension is supported with .125" x .500" CF.

Rick, I imagine you're using a domed front but, even so, to have a cantilevered fingerboard, does this involve a negative neck angle? I also imagine that a 1/2" CF bar must be dadoed into the f'board as well as the neck, but is there also a slot in the body to accomodate it (or them)?
Hope I'm not asking for too many trade secrets. If I didn't know you to be generous with information I wouldn't have asked. :)

Vic D
12-12-2009, 07:30 AM
Rick, I imagine you're using a domed front but, even so, to have a cantilevered fingerboard, does this involve a negative neck angle? I also imagine that a 1/2" CF bar must be dadoed into the f'board as well as the neck, but is there also a slot in the body to accomodate it (or them)?
Hope I'm not asking for too many trade secrets. If I didn't know you to be generous with information I wouldn't have asked. :)

I read a while back that the trade off of using a cantilevered fretboard is additional mass of the bridge which would be higher to compensate. This whole thread has my head spinning... but it's good it's good.

Oh and by the way about solid linings... nowww you tell me. This is what I messed with most of the day yesterday.

I'm sure most of you have seen this kerf jig before but using what I have on hand I came up with the band saw blade pieces as springs to guide the linings... works perfect, nice and smooth.

Pete Howlett
12-12-2009, 07:59 AM
Frank Ford has a lot to answer for - he is simply a genius. I have that kerf cutting gizmo. the only thing wrong with it is you cannot get a bandsaw tooth configuration that will cut the fibres across the grain without tearing them...

Rick Turner
12-12-2009, 11:38 AM
We compensate the neck angle to allow for the fingerboard height off the face. Our bridges are not particularly higher than normal. Yes, we dome the tops below the soundhole, but keep it flat above. The CF is dadoed both into the fingerboard and into the neck. It's pretty amazing how well it stiffens up the fingerboard extension, and there's no loss of sound playing up there on either my ukes or guitars that are built that way, too. When I started to do this I wondered if losing the coupling of the fingerboard to the top would hurt the sound. It just doesn't...and we do have violins as an example of that.

Dave Higham
12-12-2009, 11:48 AM
Thanks Rick, I realise now that the CF must be 'flat' rather than 'vertical'.

Rick Turner
12-12-2009, 12:33 PM
Yes, 'tis so.

Also, we just buy small standard kerfing from "Kerfing Tom Peterson" who makes the stuff for practically everyone in the US and supplies places like LMI. Tom has been in the biz for several decades. He knows his stuff and his prices are very reasonable. I don't think I can make the stuff for what he charges us. He's in Sonoma County in California.

jerickson
12-12-2009, 12:50 PM
All of my builds that require binding jobs have been solid liners for years. I HATE making kerfed liner. It's a tedious job that isn't gratifying when you're finished. Then you need to make a whole new batch, when you run out. Although I have to bend the liners on my pipe, I much prefer doing that, than making kerfing. I never gave a thought as to the effect on the acoustics. (Kerfed vs. solid, not the issue of having a liner and binding)

Paul,

I don't know if you know him or not, but you may want to check out John Bogdanovich's website. He builds custom classical guitars with laminated linings (they look solid when they are installed) and uses the perpendicular pieces against the grain. He also does double and triple sides as well as backs. His book illustrates the techinique and his philosophies on the techniques. In case you are interested. Not sure how it'll work on an ukulele, but he sure produces fine sounding guitars.

Best,

Jon

Heidi Litke
01-05-2010, 06:22 PM
Pete,

What thickness have you been using for your solid linings?

Heidi

Pete Howlett
01-05-2010, 08:13 PM
I can just about bend pine at 3.2mm if I soak it overnight and use my Everett bender...

koalohapaul
01-05-2010, 08:28 PM
Jon,

Thanks for the info. I checked out John's website. He builds beautiful instruments. The guitar playing on the intro page has a lot of soul. I will try the laminated sides and cross grain supports one day. If it works for my building style, Ill probably integrate them into my custom builds.

drumgerry
01-06-2010, 01:00 AM
Speaking of stiffening sides doesn't Irvine Sloan advocate the use of glue soaked fabric (canvas?) strips attached vertically at intervals along the sides for this very purpose?

Pete Howlett
01-06-2010, 02:49 AM
Drumgerry - you are, I see new to posting on this forum and will possibly be unaware of my kindly tolerated yet extreme views so here's a reprint: Guitar Making is not Ukulele Making.

Although Sloane's book along with a number of very early publications like that of Clifford Essex and John Bailey here in the UK were all we had one time, they all deal with the different craft of guitar making. Often unchallenged and still used and quoted, these texts contain many eccentricities as do many publications from people who appear to be able to write well but very rarely have any presense or profile in the building community - Cumpiano, Kincade and Manson, all contemporary guitar builders excepted. In fact i have yet to come across an owner of a Sloan guitar... Of the available ukulele building texts, only the Hana Lima one which I personally haven't seen has any credibility from a 'known' builder/educator perspective. So firstly, chose you texts to quote with caution unless you are looking for clarification which I think you are so - don't do it! Stiffen the sides with soaked canvas strips that is :)

It is true that some principles apply to both guitar making and ukulele building and I would strongly recommend that you read everything in print regarding all musical instrument making crafts. However, your best education will come from visiting current luthiers - Jimmy Moon in Scotland may be a good place to start or, if you can, the incredible Mike Vanden who live in the Isles. Watch them, see what they do. Your nearest ukulele builder is Ken Timms in the North East and of course, if you visit Wales come and pick my brains. Just don't believe everything that is written especially if the writers do not produce or are current builders...

Now I know that there is going to be some strong opinion about this. However I believe in the adage: "Lecturers are people who can't teach. Teachers are people who can't do"
Substitute for Lecturer and teacher - 'writer' with some exceptions...

Luckily for us there are teachers out there who can teach and do. Seek them out and have the great privilege of learning from their experience.

drumgerry
01-06-2010, 04:35 AM
Pete - Thanks for the advice. I take your point that books can only take you so far. When I was guitar building I found MIMF my best source of info although I was roughly following Cumpiano's book. I can already see that this forum is going to be an equivalent when it comes to uke building.

I wasn't trying to extol the virtues of Sloane's advice, just referring to it and interested to see what you experienced uke builders had to say about it. Surely it's ok to talk about what Sloane and others say isn't it?

I am very much a beginner having only a few acoustic guitars under my belt. Perhaps I should have stayed out of this thread as clearly the participants are luthiers of some standing.

As to visiting other luthiers it's not really possible for me at the moment.

Pete Howlett
01-06-2010, 04:51 AM
Neither leave nor be intimidated - everyone has something to contribute and it is essential that EVERYONE has their say even if they are relatively 'new'. Your guitar making skills will be invaluable in ukulele building. MY VIEW is that some guitar makiing PRINCIPLES don't apply to ukulele building and I am almost alone in this view I think....

drumgerry
01-06-2010, 05:56 AM
Hey it's ok I'm not going anywhere and I'm only slightly intimidated! I agree that everyone should be able to participate and you know what they say about a fresh perspective.

But to get back to the thread. Can I ask what people mean by solid linings? Are we talking the usual triangular cross-section but without any kerfing?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-06-2010, 06:11 AM
Lining usually has less mass than kerfing does as it is rather flat. When I have occasion to use them (rarely) my linings are approximately 3/32" X 3/8". They are normally prebent before they are installed.

Dave Higham
01-06-2010, 11:30 AM
I ought not to get drawn into this, but I can't help myself.
Linings are the strips of wood glued around the edges of the instrument's sides (or ribs) to give a greater surface area when gluing on the soundboard and the back. They also add more material, which may be needed when fitting bindings and purflings.They can be triangular or rectangular in section.
Kerfs are the sawcuts often made in the linings to make them easier to bend .
Kerfing is the process of making those sawcuts.
Kerfed linings have sawcuts in them.
Solid linings don't.
(Then there are tentellones or dentellones, but we don't need to get into that:)).

The fabric strips sometimes glued onto the ribs are not to stiffen them. They are there in case a rib receives a blow and is cracked. They prevent the crack from travelling further round the rib. Some luthiers use strips of wood in their place.

Pete Howlett
01-06-2010, 12:19 PM
Yes they are 'braces' but the do stiffen the sides nevertheless... Let's face it, if you want stiff ribs just laminate them with a carbon fibre matt as the centre 'ply'.

Matt Clara
01-07-2010, 04:13 AM
OH, one more thing...we use the upper bout for tone and cantilever the fingerboard extension out over the top so it doesn't touch and dampen vibration. We do top the upper bout transverse brace with .021" thick carbon fiber on all Compass Rose ukes now, and the fingerboard extension is supported with .125" x .500" CF. I think some of the tone and volume we get is from allowing the entire top to vibrate. This has worked well on my acoustic guitars, too.

So, if I'm understanding you correctly, your fingerboard comes off the neck slightly above the soundboard, and is connected to the soundboard somewhere near the soundhole by a thin bar of carbon fiber? That'll be easy for me, as I'm forever having to sand my neck top to get it to match the soundboard. Do you also use carbon fiber for the bridge patch? If so, how thick do you recommend?

Rick Turner
01-11-2010, 05:14 PM
The fingerboard is not connected to the top at all; it cantilevers over like a violin fingerboard and is supported and stiffened by a flat bar of carbon fiber 1/8" thick and 1/2" wide that is dadoed up into the bottom of the fingerboard and a matching slot in the face of the neck. Yes, neck fitting is made easier by that.

Timbuck
01-12-2010, 09:09 AM
Why not make a thicker fingerboard like a violin?

Dave Higham
01-12-2010, 11:08 AM
Why not make a thicker fingerboard like a violin?

I imagine that as the ukulele doesn't have the same sort of high bridge (and tailpiece) that a violin does, the thicker the fingerboard, the more the neck has to slope forwards. And the more the neck slopes forwards, the more the stress on the bridge will be 'tensile' rather than 'shear'. Some classic guitars makers do this but they usually have a big wedge under the fingerboard extension and it still touches the soundboard.

(By the way Ken, totally off topic, but are you really from Shiregreen?)

Rick Turner
01-12-2010, 06:55 PM
I don't want the fingerboard to touch the top; I want the top to vibrate in the upper bout. Simple as that.

Classical builder David Schramm has built some guitars according to my system, and he reports very good results.

Timbuck
01-12-2010, 11:56 PM
(By the way Ken, totally off topic, but are you really from Shiregreen?)
Yup..Born on Shiregreen lane..went to Shiregreen School..And supped beer and rehersed our band at the Horseshoe.

Dave Higham
01-13-2010, 03:39 AM
Small world. I grew up in Richmond, got married and moved to Handsworth in 1966, got divorced and moved to Crooksmoor in 1982, moved to France in 1987.