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Spookymoulder
05-16-2011, 06:42 PM
I'm taking on the task of building my first ukulele :]


Ive never been terribly talented when it comes to working with wood,
but this is something i want to be good at, and damn if im not going to try

So i bought a timber kit from Hana lima,
Beautiful lot of wood, and am excited to get started.

Well actually i started today, so i will upload the steps ive taken so far.

Spookymoulder
05-16-2011, 06:51 PM
Really nice kit from hana lima :]
They were real nice to me, and this is a beautiful complete kit.

I had them cut the fret slots, because being my first one, i knew if i screwed that part up, ild be very unhappy.

I wanted an un cut bridge, but they ended up giving me both an uncut and pre cut bridge, so ill try shaping a bridge, and if i botch it, i have a back up.

I should say, i don't have much of a work shop.
i have a garage, which is kind of an overstatement

It has a bench and some turn around room.
I don't have many tools, only what my grandfather left me (god bless him)

So I may not be prepared, but ill buy what i absolutely must as i go along, sound like a good strategy to me

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Spookymoulder
05-16-2011, 07:01 PM
First I decided to put my plates together

I kind of decided what side i wanted where and whatnot

then i started leveling out the edges.

I got a piece of marble off of my end table....heavy sucker
that i assumed was a good smooth strait surface to work on

Set up some sand paper in it with masking tape

a 90degree angled aluminum, and set it up with clamps

sanding away at the peices, it took me a good while.

I know i was looking for a perfect fit with no light, but it seemed to not be workingout for me
no matter how much i sanded and worked at it, there seemed to be a bit of light in the center.
so i figured ill get it as close as possible and it will fix itself when i clamp and glue.

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Spookymoulder
05-16-2011, 07:09 PM
After getting it as close as ii thought i could, i was ready to glue it up and hope for the best.

i built myself a little jig,
some ply wood with 3 lengths of stationary wood

i put the plates in between two of the blocks,
then took some wedge shims i had, and wedged them up to hold the plates together.

at this point i thought this project was working out pretty good for me so far.

so i glued it up and put down some weights....i ended up using that brick of marble.

when the glue set and i removed the plates
i saw that it was kind of wavy :[
i guess i wedged two tightly and it bowed up in the middle by the seem.
and also, my seem was pretty apparent still. even on the back plates, which glued nicely, and had no bow, the seem was still a little darker then ive ever seen

mabe im being to particular...

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Spookymoulder
05-16-2011, 07:21 PM
After both plates were joined,
i took my beautiful templates....
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And traced out the shape on the plates.

I then decided that i didn't like my original ideas of which was the
actual back and which was the top, so i switched them.
i figured there the same material, so it dosn't matter.

i have no band saw
though it would probably be a wise investment.
but to cut these out i have a strange dreamel scroll saw, that i found out worked quite nicely.
would be nice if i wanted to put on some f holes, but ima keep this one fairly simple

they cut wonderfully :]
then took my templates and marked out the bracing locations.

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Doc_J
05-17-2011, 04:46 AM
I was wondering what thickness the front and backs were? I read Hana Lima spuce/cedar sound boards are about 3/16" (0.188") and the hardwoods (walnut and sapele) are about 0.125" thick. It looks like you have all sapele.

Nice work so far.

bbycrts
05-17-2011, 06:20 AM
Thanks for sharing this with us! I LOVE to see people's builds documented. Someday if I ever have room for a workshop I'm going to give it a shot and these posts keep me interested!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-17-2011, 06:34 AM
Thanks for sharing your process. You made a fine choice in kits with Hana Lima and they were wise to send made bridge as well as the slotted fret board. The next time around ( and I hope there'll be one) you really need to work on getting your center seam process down. It's a critical step that needs to be as close to perfect as you can get it.
Keep us posted, we're here to help when we can.

Spookymoulder
05-17-2011, 09:21 AM
I was wondering what thickness the front and backs were? I read Hana Lima spuce/cedar sound boards are about 3/16" (0.188") and the hardwoods (walnut and sapele) are about 0.125" thick. It looks like you have all sapele.

Nice work so far.

Yeah I have the sapele, and its about .125''

Spookymoulder
05-17-2011, 09:27 AM
Thanks for sharing your process. You made a fine choice in kits with Hana Lima and they were wise to send made bridge as well as the slotted fret board. The next time around ( and I hope there'll be one) you really need to work on getting your center seam process down. It's a critical step that needs to be as close to perfect as you can get it.
Keep us posted, we're here to help when we can.
Yeah next time ill try a different set up, im sure there are plenty of different ways to do this, just got to find one that works for me

Spookymoulder
05-17-2011, 09:33 AM
So i shaped the braces, while watching cheaters on the Tv
I looked at my uke for an idea of how much to take them down
but it didn't really help much, they looked like they were machined.
so i went down where i thought it was sufficient.

If I can triangle these any more, please let me know,
i haven't glued them yet
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Spookymoulder
05-17-2011, 09:42 AM
This part i was kinda worried about.
I bought a backsaw for this cut, i knew my scroll wouldn't do it
and i don't have a band saw (yet;])

I practiced the 15degree angle on a scrap peice
and botched it twice, till i realized i wasn't cutting square!

So i clamped a peice of aspen next to my cut, and sawed it up

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While i did this my heel block was getting glued


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I am pleased with this cut :]

But my neck process is on hold for now, because i don't have enough good clamps to glue this joint and hold down my jig
23829:drool:

Spookymoulder
05-17-2011, 10:04 AM
I got anxious so i did the rosette

Ive been practicing the route, i have a dremel and the routing attachment (Thanks again grandpa :])

i drilled holes in the plexiglass fence it comes with and put a nail through
so it would make a circle.
i found that the abalone pieces i have made a little bigger diameter then
3'' so i the radius was about 1.6'

i was super nervous because the dremel wasn't doing that well on the plywood it was getting cought on the grain i guess and moving abit.

i prayed that it was because plywood sucks and i would fair better on the sapele

so i went for it and hoped for the best

it came out about as well as i expected. there are some spots where the bit traveled a bit and i have a wider route then i would like.
any ideas on fixing this please let me know, i haven't glued it down yet

But very pretty nonetheless :]
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velofille
05-17-2011, 12:33 PM
This is great, im about to make my first one also so its handy seeing the problems others experience and ways around em.
Whats the attachment you used on the dremel to get the round hole? Thats nifty, bought or made?

Spookymoulder
05-17-2011, 03:52 PM
This is great, im about to make my first one also so its handy seeing the problems others experience and ways around em.
Whats the attachment you used on the dremel to get the round hole? Thats nifty, bought or made?

It was bought, but not by me

they still sell them, but a much better version

ukuloonie
05-17-2011, 04:30 PM
I'm not sure if this helps and I know your not there yet but when or if you glue the soundboard to the neck, on page 55 in the hana lima book, it shows a small guide to line up the centers of the soundboard and the neck, I made a longer guide for greater accuracy at least 12inches long 2inches wide with a line scratched into it down the center.

ukegirl13
05-17-2011, 04:57 PM
So i shaped the braces, while watching cheaters on the Tv
I looked at my uke for an idea of how much to take them down
but it didn't really help much, they looked like they were machined.
so i went down where i thought it was sufficient.

If I can triangle these any more, please let me know,
i haven't glued them yet
2382423825
I like to glue down the braces before they are shaped. I shape them with a chisel or small plane after they are glued down on the soundboard or back. I know Mike teaches it that way to shape the braces first but I believe he does that to save on class time. I know he has his students shape the braces after class when you get back home. I believe most guitar builders and some uke builders glue the braces on first and shape after. No problem on how you are doing it. I just wanted to give you some other thoughts on how it can be done. :)

Spookymoulder
05-18-2011, 06:05 AM
I'm not sure if this helps and I know your not there yet but when or if you glue the soundboard to the neck, on page 55 in the hana lima book, it shows a small guide to line up the centers of the soundboard and the neck, I made a longer guide for greater accuracy at least 12inches long 2inches wide with a line scratched into it down the center.
Sounds like a good idea, thanks :]

tattwo
05-18-2011, 06:25 AM
I shape mine after gluing them as well....either way will work. I think its easier to glue them while the tops are still flat

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-18-2011, 06:43 AM
Your bracing looks just a bit too heavy. But if you are like everyone else you will likely over build your first one anyway.
I preshape all my braces close to their final dimension before I glue them. I'll make some adjustments to them while testing the top and before gluing the back on.