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View Full Version : Long Time Ukulele Addict - Beginning Luthier - Where to start?



kingnerd
08-17-2010, 05:56 PM
4 years ago I moved to New Zealand from Oregon and wanted to pick up a new instrument. Being a bass player I wanted something that was extremely portable and fit my location so I picked up the ukulele and haven't looked back. I can say nothing bad about the instruments. Even the cheap ones are astonishingly fun.

Skip ahead 4 years and I am living back in the states and just acquired a fully kitted out wood shop from a friend without storage. Band saw, planer, jointer, scroll saw, table saw, and a raft of other power and hand tools.

Something that will get me into woodworking and keep it fun would be to build ukuleles. As a novice woodworker and with no experience building instruments where should I start? I did some searches for books but found that most of them were rated poorly and not recommended. I don't mind making mistakes and learning but I just need the initial plans or push to get going in the right direction. Full detailed instructions would be much better though.

Where should I go from here?

Thanks in advance for your help.

cletus
08-17-2010, 06:00 PM
Greetings and salutations kingnerd! Do you have a Sceptre?

mzuch
08-17-2010, 06:13 PM
You might want to start with a kit to get your feet wet before diving into a scratch build. The Stew-Mac kits are good for learning basic assembly, with sides already bent, neck carved and quite a lot of other work already done for you. Tool requirements are minimal. The Hana Lima kits require much more work. They essentially supply the plans, wood and various parts. You do the cutting, routing and shaping. Hope this helps.

Sven
08-17-2010, 10:53 PM
My first was a kit with pre-bent sides. From there I went on to the Hana Lima tenor plan and their very useful instruction book. It's for building with a spanish heel, but going to bolt-on necks was not a problem. My blog is not very instructional, but maybe you can find stuff there. Address in signature.

There are great vids on Youtube as well. Check mr Howlett out.

Good luck / Sven

Sven
08-17-2010, 10:54 PM
My first was a kit with pre-bent sides. From there I went on to the Hana Lima tenor plan and their very useful instruction book. It's for building with a spanish heel, but going to bolt-on necks was not a problem. My blog is not very instructional, but maybe you can find stuff there. Address in signature.

There are great vids on Youtube as well. Check mr Howlett out.

Good luck / Sven

kingnerd
08-18-2010, 06:52 AM
Sorry, what is a Sceptre?

cletus
08-18-2010, 07:02 AM
Sorry, what is a Sceptre?

My apologies, the Sceptre is a very beautiful ukulele, definitely suited for royalty... since you are kingnerd.
Good luck and enjoy!

ksquine
08-18-2010, 08:53 AM
Sources for info...
-The kit instructions for the Stew Mac kits....free downloads and lots of info.
-The best book I've seen is Cumpiano's "Gutarmaking Tradition and Technology"
-Ukulele Underground forum
-Online Luthier Forum
Then get a set of plans and follow them exactly. Then go to it!

kingnerd
08-18-2010, 04:50 PM
Ah, I am a humble dictator. But the one I am building might have a jewel or two at the top.


My apologies, the Sceptre is a very beautiful ukulele, definitely suited for royalty... since you are kingnerd.
Good luck and enjoy!

cletus
08-18-2010, 04:56 PM
Ah, I am a humble dictator. But the one I am building might have a jewel or two at the top.

I'm looking forward to that one. Thanks!

Sayyadina
08-19-2010, 04:10 AM
Hey there Kingnerd. Building an Uke is great fun. Ive tried it once, like you without having any experience. You can see the result here:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?17895-Diary-of-a-first-build

Maybe it will help you a bit. I found the 2 books I stated in the thread quite helpful.

Pukulele Pete
08-19-2010, 04:25 AM
Check out the excellant videos by Pete Howlett on You tube. I would start out with a kit from Stewart MacDonald.

kingnerd
08-20-2010, 07:00 AM
Thanks for all the help in this thread. I have decided to go with the Stewmac kit to start with. It sounds like a good introduction to building ukes. From there I hope to transition to building an entire uke from scratch as my second instrument.

Thanks again.

Mission Guitars
08-20-2010, 11:15 AM
Stew Mac always good stuff, albeit expensive on occasion...ran across these on another forum...

http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/the-Ukulele-Kits/Categories