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narrowuke
12-22-2010, 10:32 AM
Hi,
I hope this isn't one of those continually returned to topics
but I had a few goes in the search function but no joy.
I'm new to Ukulele but not new to lutherie ( I've been building classical guitars and
mandolins for a few years now) and I need to know a ball park figure for soprano and concert sound board thickness made from Sitka spruce.
I don't have any plans so I've just been copying sizes from a couple of cheep ukuleles

I'll post some pictures as I go on.
Thanks and what a great site this is.

cowfodder
12-22-2010, 11:25 AM
Don't know for sure on soprano and concert, but the tenor plans I got from Elderly's say 2-2.4 mm thick.

tattwo
12-22-2010, 11:37 AM
I take mine down to 1.7 to 1.9

narrowuke
12-22-2010, 09:05 PM
I take mine down to 1.7 to 1.9

Thanks for that. I thought it might be a bit less than 2mm but wasn't sure.
I'll take them down to a bit less than 2mm and see how they feel.

Liam Ryan
12-23-2010, 08:22 PM
I also aim for 1.8mm. This is for tenors, concerts and sopranos. I'd go thinner for concerts and sopranos except I worry about how it'd take a knock

Vic D
12-24-2010, 08:42 PM
I shoot for between .070" to .075" for redwood, .060" - .070" for spruce and .055" - .060" for mahogany... all give or take a little depending on how it bends and feels in the hands and how it sounds tapping it as it gets thinner. That's for the ten sopranos that I've made so far. I also "feather" the edges around the lower bout a little bit as i'm shaving the binding down. But I'm pretty new at this so you know.

Kekani
12-24-2010, 10:18 PM
Just out of curiosity, why (if new to `ukulele) would you go with a soft top on a Standard or Concert, especially on what seems to be your first `ukulele?

Liam Ryan
12-26-2010, 07:54 PM
Why wouldn't you?

Kekani
12-26-2010, 10:00 PM
Why wouldn't you?

Because the normal response out of a guitar builder would be "the qualities associated with softwood tops", but I was just curious if that's what the OP was thinking.

If so, then a Standard or Concert may not be the right size build for certain expectations.

erich@muttcrew.net
12-26-2010, 10:20 PM
Because the normal response out of a guitar builder would be "the qualities associated with softwood tops", but I was just curious if that's what the OP was thinking.

If so, then a Standard or Concert may not be the right size build for certain expectations.

:agree:

To the OP: It almost sounds like you're planning to make a tiny guitar. I would start by looking for a ukulele that I really liked and then try to copy it as exactly as I could. And then play with the design and dimensions in my next uke.

Doug W
12-27-2010, 04:02 AM
Just out of curiosity, why (if new to `ukulele) would you go with a soft top on a Standard or Concert, especially on what seems to be your first `ukulele?


Because the normal response out of a guitar builder would be "the qualities associated with softwood tops", but I was just curious if that's what the OP was thinking.

If so, then a Standard or Concert may not be the right size build for certain expectations.


To the OP: It almost sounds like you're planning to make a tiny guitar. I would start by looking for a ukulele that I really liked and then try to copy it as exactly as I could. And then play with the design and dimensions in my next uke.

I plan to try building my first uke from scratch this year. As a pre-newbie to uke building I am trying to understand what you are all trying to say to the OP. Why does it seem like he is trying to build a tiny guitar? Sikta spruce doesn't seem like a really strange choice to me for a uke top and he said that he was trying to copy cheap ukes as a pattern. But like I said, I am not a builder so can someone explain what seems obvious to some of you and not to us non-builders?

Thanks,
Doug

narrowuke
12-27-2010, 04:43 AM
Hi,
Thanks for the responses that have thrown up some interesting questions.
I'll try and explain what I'm doing and the reasons for it.
I'm building a couple of Ukuleles because the ones we have now are borrowed ones
and will need to go back at some time.
These are the two I'm coping from and both have softwood tops.
I don't as yet have access to a good quality Ukulele but hope to have in the not too distant future.
The wood I have available is a piece of Sitka spruce for a Guitar top thats big enough to make 4 Ukulele tops.
I just about have enough wood for the backs and sides without using any guitar wood stock,
so its going to be Walnut for the Concert and maple/Rosewood for the Soprano.
The necks will be Cedar, one guitar neck blank will make 3 Ukulele necks.
Apart from that I have no other reason for doing what I'm doing.
Oh, they're going to have friction pegs because I have a load from my Flamenco guitars.
Once these two are done then I'll start having a good look at others to see where I can improve on these.
Am I trying to make 'Tiny Guitar'? As far as building, I suppose it is, but to make one that sounds
like a good Ukulele I'm just starting on that learning curve :-)
I hope at least some of this makes sense.

erich@muttcrew.net
12-27-2010, 12:13 PM
Good luck to you. I think with your background you should be able to manage nicely and the wood combinations sound very promising, albeit a bit guitar-like. Anyway, I didn't mean to criticize. I mean, how about our latest uke project: a concert pineapple in rosewood/cedar...

Kekani
12-27-2010, 05:10 PM
Much clearer - there's a big difference between "I'm building a soft top `ukulele" and "I'm building a soft top `ukulele because I have the Spruce for it".

My suggestions follows what you've already heard - don't copy a cheap `ukulele, spec a good one, and don't try to build a guitar. Know that going into it, a Standard or Concert is too small to make good use of a Spruce top and end up with what you (as a guitar builder) expect it to do (especially the Standard).