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Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-01-2011, 07:36 AM
I showed the dragon butt inlay last week and I've just finished the fret board and headstock. (The colors are better than what are shown. I suck as a photographer.) I still need to sand the neck, dress the frets, install the Pegheds, etc. This was one one my longest inlay jobs, having taken me all week to complete. The tricky part is setting the frets without cracking any of the inlays, which means putting a nice bevel on all of the slots and pressing slowing.
Materials are gold MOP, Paua ab, chrysocola comp and red comp. Engraved and filled with alkyd artist colors. Inlay was set with thin and medium ca glues.
Happy new year everyone.

Gmoney
01-01-2011, 07:45 AM
Just stunning! Happy New Year, Chuck! I hope to have you build me one this year sometime...

UncleElvis
01-01-2011, 07:49 AM
I just swooned.

Gorgeous work, Mr. Moore. Simply gorgeous.

Healthy and prosperous New year to you, sir.

olgoat52
01-01-2011, 08:11 AM
That is insane.... :0

Sake1one
01-01-2011, 08:37 AM
Looks pretty awesome Chuck, cant wait to see the finished product!

Ronnie Aloha
01-01-2011, 08:46 AM
That has to be the most intricate work you've done so far. Beautifully done. Happy New Year Chuck.

Timbuck
01-01-2011, 08:48 AM
Brilliant stuff Chuck "i'm jealous"
But! this is inspiring me to have a go at inlay work....I think I'll start with something simple....like an "English hunting scene".... With the horses & huntsmen blowing their horns etc: charging down the headstock, along with the hounds running down the fingerboard in full chase ..And the Fox disapearing down the soundhole.

(I would'nt know where to start :confused: Well I can dream about it if nothing else):):):)

Shin
01-01-2011, 08:54 AM
What a beautiful blue dragon!!! It seems to come out alive.
Thanks for sharing, Chuck!
Happy new year,

Nuprin
01-01-2011, 09:07 AM
Amazing!!!!

Allen
01-01-2011, 09:41 AM
How do you go about drilling for the machine heads Chuck? Or do they all miss the inlay?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-01-2011, 10:09 AM
How do you go about drilling for the machine heads Chuck? Or do they all miss the inlay?

The tuners will miss everything but the lower whisker. I love Pegheds because they are so unobtrusive on an inlay like this. If I wanted, I could even stagger them like I did on this flamingo themed uke. I could even install one on one side and three on the other. Anything goes.
BTW, this is a left handed uke; that's why the dragon is positioned the way he is. Building left hand always throws me for a loop.

beardco
01-01-2011, 10:58 AM
Yikes! Staggering detail. This goes way beyond craftsmanship. Why visit museums when we can gawk at your website.

mm stan
01-01-2011, 12:40 PM
Aloha Chuck,
Happy New Year to you and your family....Absoulutely Beautiful Chuck ...AKA(ABC)...WOW...Thanks for sharing....MM Stan..

Bosconian91
01-01-2011, 12:56 PM
That dragon inlay is beautiful, indeed!

Uncle Leroy
01-01-2011, 01:47 PM
Chuck, that is absolutely stunning. I can't imagine ever having the patience to do anything of that caliber. Someday I am hoping to own of yours.

ADD
01-01-2011, 09:16 PM
Brilliant stuff Chuck "i'm jealous"
But! this is inspiring me to have a go at inlay work....I think I'll start with something simple....like an "English hunting scene".... With the horses & huntsmen blowing their horns etc: charging down the headstock, along with the hounds running down the fingerboard in full chase ..And the Fox disapearing down the soundhole.

(I would'nt know where to start :confused: Well I can dream about it if nothing else):):):)

I don't know, Timbuck. Made me LOL reading it, sounds like a grand idea, but maybe you should start with something simpler and challenge Mr Moore to take that one on. Love the Fox disappearing down the soundhole.

ADD
01-01-2011, 09:21 PM
I showed the dragon butt inlay last week and I've just finished the fret board and headstock. (The colors are better than what are shown. I suck as a photographer.) I still need to sand the neck, dress the frets, install the Pegheds, etc. This was one one my longest inlay jobs, having taken me all week to complete. The tricky part is setting the frets without cracking any of the inlays, which means putting a nice bevel on all of the slots and pressing slowing.
Materials are gold MOP, Paua ab, chrysocola comp and red comp. Engraved and filled with alkyd artist colors. Inlay was set with thin and medium ca glues.
Happy new year everyone.

WOW!! Will be pulling for you to get through the tricky part without any problems. Happy New Year and look forward to seeing your future creations. Oh, and your photography doesn't suck. Maybe not up to the same standard as your inlays but it's far from that word "suck".

bondandracing
01-01-2011, 09:25 PM
That is incredible, great work!

erich@muttcrew.net
01-01-2011, 11:54 PM
Amazing work Chuck! I'd feel bad about drilling holes (for the pegs) in that gorgeous work of art.

And happy new year to you, too.

Timbuck
01-02-2011, 02:49 AM
I don't know, Timbuck. Made me LOL reading it, sounds like a grand idea, but maybe you should start with something simpler and challenge Mr Moore to take that one on. Love the Fox disappearing down the soundhole.

There was an Admiral Lord Charles Beresford of the Royal Navy..Who had the full hunting scene tattooed across his back with the Fox tail disapearing into his **** hole.

SweetWaterBlue
01-02-2011, 02:52 AM
Absolutely beautiful Chuck. Thanks for posting it.

Dane
01-02-2011, 08:21 AM
absolutely beautiful, you are an amazing artist and a very talented craftsman sir. I enjoy seeing everything you create.

breitling
01-02-2011, 12:23 PM
Chuck,

That is pretty amazing work. How many hours does something like this take to complete? Adding the frets must have been an interesting proposition. Very nice work.

Bob

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-02-2011, 01:10 PM
I've got about 40 hours into the inlay including the end graft inlay. That doesn't count the time it took to research and draw it. That was done over the course of a few months and a few sleepless nights.
Normally the fret board would first be slotted and then the inlay set in and then the slots be recut by hand where they straddled the slots. I've never had too much luck doing it that way plus it would mean recutting every slot by hand since the entire fret board was inlaid. If you've ever cut through ca glue you will know why I didn't want to do this.
All the individual pieces are cut and glued together similar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I made a mock fret board of the exact shape I planned to use and tested fit with the neck attached to the body just to make sure everything lined up correctly. (The tail suddenly ends on the fret board but continues again around the sound hole. I had to plan carefully to make sure the two ends lined up.)
I then inlaid the assembled inlay onto a non tapered piece of ebony, sanded it, then cut the fret board to shape, routed out the channel for the purfling and glued it onto the sides of the fret board along with the binding. More than half of the inlay is recon stone which is pretty easy on the slotting blade. Slotting goes slowly to avoid breaking any shell and the slots are cut deeper than usual to allow for further sanding (leveling the binding). With all the sanding it's important that none of the inlaid areas are too thin. Inlay materials are various thickness so it's best if all the little inlay pieces are glued together upside down. It make things a bit more difficult but you are assured that the tops of the inlaid pieces will all be level that way.
The fret pressing itself is done with a very light, steady touch. As I mentioned earlier it's important that you bevel all of the slots where the inlay is to make room for the fret tang barbs. Wood will give when frets are installed; pearl will crack. Cracked pearl means digging the piece out and making a new one to fit. Happily I didn't have to do that on this piece.
I'll post pics again in a few weeks when it's all together.

Flyfish57
01-02-2011, 01:12 PM
I love those eyes! Please post some pix after you clear and buff the headstock...I'd be going out for some stiff drinks if I had to press frets into that! Beautiful work again!!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-02-2011, 01:21 PM
Here's an ahi (yellowfin tuna) I did this morning. About four hours to complete this one. Except for one piece of abalone, it is all done with Tahitian black pearl shell, which I grind myself. The color shifts dramatically with black pearl, making it a challenge to work with. The tiny piece of shell that was used for the lower lip looks while in the photo but will tun black if viewed at a slightly different angle. So many beautiful colors from one piece of shell though.

Bosconian91
01-02-2011, 01:25 PM
Here's an ahi (yellowfin tuna) I did this morning. About four hours to complete this one. Except for one piece of abalone, it is all done with Tahitian black pearl shell, which I grind myself. The color shifts dramatically with black pearl, making it a challenge to work with. The tiny piece of shell that was used for the lower lip looks while in the photo but will tun black if viewed at a slightly different angle. So many beautiful colors from one piece of shell though.

Just really awesome work! I don't think I've seen better than this. Do you use lasers in cutting the inlays and fretboard?

BTW, your bamboo uke was beyond gorgeous!

Flyfish57
01-02-2011, 01:27 PM
What!? 3D tv wasn't enough, now it's 3D inlays! Great work again!

ADD
01-02-2011, 01:31 PM
There was an Admiral Lord Charles Beresford of the Royal Navy..Who had the full hunting scene tattooed across his back with the Fox tail disapearing into his **** hole.

Thanks for another grand laugh - almost fell off my chair.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-02-2011, 01:35 PM
Do you use lasers in cutting the inlays and fretboard?

Horrors! Never! The inlays are cut by hand using a #4 jeweler's blade and 10X magnification. The routing is done with a Dremel in a StewMac base with carbide down cut spiral bits.

ADD
01-02-2011, 01:38 PM
Here's an ahi (yellowfin tuna) I did this morning. About four hours to complete this one. Except for one piece of abalone, it is all done with Tahitian black pearl shell, which I grind myself. The color shifts dramatically with black pearl, making it a challenge to work with. The tiny piece of shell that was used for the lower lip looks while in the photo but will tun black if viewed at a slightly different angle. So many beautiful colors from one piece of shell though.

Not sure what it is about that fish, but I just love, love that fish, I want to touch it, it looks so real. Chuck, you really do the most astoundingly, beautiful work. Thanks so much for posting.

Bosconian91
01-02-2011, 01:51 PM
Horrors! Never! The inlays are cut by hand using a #4 jeweler's blade and 10X magnification. The routing is done with a Dremel in a StewMac base with carbide down cut spiral bits.

That's even more impressive then! The only reason I asked is because one of the major uke manufacturer (IIRC from watching the video tour) is using lasers for their inlays.

You would think that lasers would simplify the inlay work but, I guess, from your experience, this is not the case.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-02-2011, 02:09 PM
My work has never been about doing things faster. It's about doing it better. Sometimes you can do both at the same time, but the computer cut inlays just don't grab me. Maybe it's just my own idea of what "art" should look like and how it should be executed.
What I like about doing it by hand is being able to make changes on the fly. Just as when building ukes, one at a time, I can make changes as things progress, most frequently resulting in something better than I had originally intended.
Having said that, if I were a big time, big producing builder, I would probably have someone cut basic designs (logos, etc.) But I'm not. I'm just one guy in the middle of the jungle, working off solar power, with some pretty basic tools. I enjoying cutting pearl. It's relaxing and creative. I even like sanding. There are builders who have many components cut with a CNC machine, farm out their finishing to a finisher guy, have their inlays cut by someone else...... If I did all that, what would there be for me to do? I like working with my hands, making my own kerfings, grinding my own shell, etc. I gotta have something to do.

Bosconian91
01-02-2011, 02:31 PM
My work has never been about doing things faster. It's about doing it better. Sometimes you can do both at the same time, but the computer cut inlays just don't grab me. Maybe it's just my own idea of what "art" should look like and how it should be executed.
What I like about doing it by hand is being able to make changes on the fly. Just as when building ukes, one at a time, I can make changes as things progress, most frequently resulting in something better than I had originally intended.
Having said that, if I were a big time, big producing builder, I would probably have someone cut basic designs (logos, etc.) But I'm not. I'm just one guy in the middle of the jungle, working off solar power, with some pretty basic tools. I enjoying cutting pearl. It's relaxing and creative. I even like sanding. There are builders who have many components cut with a CNC machine, farm out their finishing to a finisher guy, have their inlays cut by someone else...... If I did all that, what would there be for me to do? I like working with my hands, making my own kerfings, grinding my own shell, etc. I gotta have something to do.

I guess you are what they call a "True Artist."

When I watched the video tour of that "K" factory, I noticed that they were using very precise machines for almost every step of the manufacturing process. Even the dovetail neck joints were CNC machined for precision - it's almost impossible to mess it up.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

johnmauser
01-02-2011, 04:46 PM
Here's an ahi (yellowfin tuna) I did this morning. About four hours to complete this one. Except for one piece of abalone, it is all done with Tahitian black pearl shell, which I grind myself. The color shifts dramatically with black pearl, making it a challenge to work with. The tiny piece of shell that was used for the lower lip looks while in the photo but will tun black if viewed at a slightly different angle. So many beautiful colors from one piece of shell though.

Chuck, the dragon inlay is sick, but the yellowfin tuna is probably my favorite thing I've seen on your ukes. Your ukes are my "one day" instrument...as in one day, you'll be getting a call from me ;)

UkeDave
01-03-2011, 08:05 AM
Wow. That is absolutely beautiful. One day when I'm not so destitute I will make it a goal to buy a Moore Bettah ukulele. Hell, since I'm dreaming, I'll fly out to pick it up ! haha.

fitncrafty
01-03-2011, 08:08 AM
Both of my sons eyes almost came out of their heads... especially when they realized that its left handed! Stunning truly stunning work...

dkcrown
01-03-2011, 10:29 AM
Top notch as always, Chuck. But the tuna is the one for me.

sukie
01-03-2011, 11:44 AM
Wow. Just plain old Wow!

wickedwahine11
01-03-2011, 12:38 PM
Those are just beautiful. The dragon is in my favorite shade of blue but I'm green with envy over the lucky owner.

molokinirum
01-03-2011, 01:01 PM
Simply beautiful!!! Chuck, is there any limits to your talents?????

Lori
01-03-2011, 02:09 PM
Make sure you get lots of good photos... would be great in a calendar!

–Lori

santacruzer
01-04-2011, 06:12 AM
As always, very beautiful work. Thanks for sharing. John

tjomball
01-21-2011, 11:31 PM
Stunning work on the Dragon. The tuna as well.
I liked your list of equipment for the cutouts. Since I have most of it myself. Kinda got me thinking of doing something to my beater uke.

Matt Clara
01-22-2011, 02:59 PM
Very fine work, sir.