PDA

View Full Version : Stewmac Kits?



Jaicen
01-10-2011, 12:15 PM
I was wondering if anybody has any experience of building either of the stewmac ukulele kits?
They look like excellent value given that I don't have a bender for the sides, or a bandsaw. Admittedly, they have done most of the work for you, but it looks like an excellent way to get started.
I have built a couple of electric guitars, so I have some tools and experience, but i've never built an acoustic like this.
Does anybody have any suggestions as to why I shouldn't start off with something like the Tenor kit?

mzuch
01-10-2011, 12:46 PM
A Stew-Mac kit is a great way to get started. I built both the soprano and tenor before moving on to scratch builds. Here (http://www.mzuch.blogspot.com/) is a blog of my tenor kit build. Warning: building is addictive, and you will need to feed the addiction with money spent on tools and wood.

sweets
01-10-2011, 01:41 PM
The tenor kit is a great starting point! Search this forum for "stewmac kit" and I think you'll find a lot of great information, including some places where you shouldn't follow their instructions exactly.

lancemanion
01-10-2011, 01:59 PM
The thread below is from a Grizzly kit build that truned out great:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31785-Grizzly-Uke-kit-build...please-be-kind!&highlight=grizzly

Harold O.
01-10-2011, 02:19 PM
Here's the one I did: http://www.westhillswood.com/ukulele-build.html

Not a bad way to get started building. But don't try to make your first one the greatest thing ever. Use it to learn then decide if you want to build more.

Jaicen
01-11-2011, 12:49 AM
Thanks for the replies guys, there's some really useful information there.
My plan is actually to work towards being able to build a solid Koa concert sized uke, so really anything I build first is only a learning experience.
With that in mind, I can't help thinking that the kit thing might not be all that useful given my ultimate goal is going to require a complete scratch build.

Lexxy
01-11-2011, 01:08 AM
Hey Jaicen! I almost made a thread like this myself!

Keen on reading this. Seems fun :) And also might get one to build myself..Hmmmmm

Pukulele Pete
01-11-2011, 04:25 AM
I would suggest doing a " Grizzly" kit first. They cost about 22 bucks . I did one and really enjoyed it. I put a bone nut and saddle and it sounds pretty good. I also did a mop star inlay on the headstock. Make your mistakes on the grizzly and then try a Stew Mac kit.

matrix12x
01-11-2011, 05:40 PM
I just built a Grizzly kit, and had loads of fun. The stewmac ones look way nicer.

Lexxy
01-11-2011, 05:58 PM
Does anyone have a rough idea how long it takes to build a grizzly/stewmac kit? (From pieces to playable :P )

Doug W
01-12-2011, 03:12 AM
I have only done a Grizzly kit. My method was to spend some minutes here and there and put it together over a few months. In reality, an experienced builder with all the tools on hand could easily assemble it in a day.

For beginners, like myself I would say:
Day 1: Sand everything and glue the neck to body and let that dry overnight.
Day 2: Glue the bridge to the body and position dots to the fretboard.

This whole schedule is thrown off when you discover you need to buy a tool or shellac here and there that is not available in the local hardware store.

The finishing process is up to you as to how long it will take:
The process described by Mission Guitars in this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31785-Grizzly-Uke-kit-build...please-be-kind!&highlight=Grizzly+kind) is one possibility for finishing.

PhilUSAFRet
02-14-2011, 09:28 AM
Grizzly builders take note, the bridge is 1/8" too close to the nut for proper intonation. I'm wondering is a compensated saddle would help even more?

Pukulele Pete
02-14-2011, 09:44 AM
Grizzly builders take note, the bridge is 1/8" too close to the nut for proper intonation. I'm wondering is a compensated saddle would help even more?
I don't understand what you are saying, when you build it you measure from the nut to the 12th fret and it is the same length fom the 12th fret to the saddle. The intonation on mine is very good.

dustartist
02-14-2011, 10:41 AM
If you go exactly twice the distance from nut to 12th fret, then you will intonate sharp at the 12th fret. You need a little compensation, around 3/32". On a low G uke you can slant the saddle to add more compensation for the lower strings, but with a high G uke, leave it straight...

PhilUSAFRet
02-17-2011, 12:16 PM
Several novice builders report following the directions that come with the kit rather than do an exact measure, thus coming up about 1/8" too short in the scale length.

PhilUSAFRet
02-17-2011, 12:17 PM
One seller has tenor uke kits for around $85 that appear, based on the picture, to be the same kit stewmac sells for nearly twice the price.
Anyone know for sure?

Pukulele Pete
02-18-2011, 02:46 AM
If you go exactly twice the distance from nut to 12th fret, then you will intonate sharp at the 12th fret. You need a little compensation, around 3/32". On a low G uke you can slant the saddle to add more compensation for the lower strings, but with a high G uke, leave it straight...

I built mine two years ago and I think I read somewhere about putting it a little shy of twice the distance and thats what I did. That jogged my memory ( it still needs more jogging )

Steve_D
03-16-2011, 08:32 AM
I bought a Stewmac tenor kit along with their instructional video. After a lot of web browsing I launched into my first instrument build: my "lumberyard ukulele." I built it following the Stewmac plans and instructions out of wood locally available: poplar neck, back and sides, with hemlock for the top (that's what I could get at my local Home Depot). The fretboard, bridge and peghead overlay are of black locust, a local hardwood most often used for fence posts and firewood. The purfling is from Stewmac, but the binding is cut from pieces of ABS sewer pipe and sanded/scraped to its final dimension. I bought tuners (friction), fretwire and strings. I'm posting a short video that will let you see how it turned out.

After finishing the lumberyard uke, I built another tenor using better wood (hard maple back and sides with acrylic inlays, snakewood fretboard and more locust for the bridge and peghead overlay. Then I went back and put the kit together...
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=181964675165525

icuker
03-16-2011, 03:29 PM
Steve_D,

Nice uke! Sounds really good. Is the poplar a stable wood for necks? And could you explain your purfling process?

Steve vanPelt
03-16-2011, 04:52 PM
One seller has tenor uke kits for around $85 that appear, based on the picture, to be the same kit stewmac sells for nearly twice the price.
Anyone know for sure?

Is that the one from rivrdrifter? My first uke was from one of his kits. I found it to be an excellent and well prepared kit. The sides are pre bent and the top and back are glued and more or less thicknessed. Fingerboard is slotted. All the stuff I was afraid of first time out. The neck, blocking, bracing was all just stock 1X material, so I felt like wasn't just assembling a model. I still had to buy tuners, frets and strings. The sides were bent perfect. It comes with a nice set of plans as well. The soprano kit StewMac sent looked like a monkey bent the sides.

Steve_D
03-16-2011, 06:44 PM
From icuker:

Nice uke! Sounds really good. Is the poplar a stable wood for necks? And could you explain your purfling process?

The only purfling I used was for the soundhole rosette. I routed a groove using a Dremel tool and filled it with five narrow purfling strips (white/black/white/black/white) held in place with thin super glue. If you're asking about my sewer-pipe binding, that's a different story...

The ABS binding was made by cutting lengthwise strips from a section of 3" black ABS plastic pipe and running them through my home-made thickness sander until they were a little less than an eighth of an inch thick. This kind of sanding generates enough heat that the surface is left slightly rough and pitted. In order to give it a good smooth surface, I made the routing channel a little thinner and scraped the binding smooth after gluing it in place. I mostly did this to prove to myself that it could be done. Ready-made binding is not very expensive and is much nicer to work with!

Sven
03-16-2011, 11:20 PM
The soprano kit StewMac sent looked like a monkey bent the sides.
I've found that you don't need to shell out for a kit to get that effect...

Steve vanPelt
03-17-2011, 05:56 AM
I've found that you don't need to shell out for a kit to get that effect...

unfortunately, I also know that one all too well.:D

now if I could just him to sing along in tune...

http://www.instablogsimages.com/images/2009/04/10/pppppp_gHz4K_6648.jpg