View Full Version : Build #1_pipeapple tenor - mostly wooden scrap materials from shipping container

10-05-2011, 05:02 PM
Hi, this is my 1st build originally planned as test-build but a moment into the initial build, I decided to give it a good try. I have not regretted since.

Materials list:

1. The neck material looks like pine probably (no expert in wood identification) but definitely softwood and have good grains, a 2x3 taken out of a shipping crate from Orange imports from South Africa
2. The sides, back and Soundboard looks Chinese pine laminates used in vegetables imports from China
3. Fretboard a local Malasian wood (Merbau)
4. Bridge is made from Malaysian Blackwood (unfortunately) no dark parts available
5. The bracings, Kerf linings are all local Malaysian wood, the Agathis

Building style: Spanish Style neck, Fan-braced, Tenor Pineapple 17" scale

All build processes used no machineries except simple hand tools like 15" handsaw, 1/2" Japanese chisel, coping saw, UK rasp, Stanley wood file and a made-in-China electric drill, the only power tool used and some good F-clamps.


10-05-2011, 05:18 PM
looks like you have a good start keep us informed of your progress.


10-05-2011, 05:45 PM
Sweet pineapple. Are you gonna post a sound-sample when it's done?

10-05-2011, 09:09 PM
Some new pics of the build


10-06-2011, 10:30 AM
Great use of container wood - and pretty too.

10-07-2011, 02:54 PM
Just completed some processes. Here are the pics:


10-07-2011, 03:13 PM
Hi ADD, thanks for dropping by.

10-07-2011, 03:32 PM
New pics for the build. I am quite happy with the progress so far.

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10-07-2011, 05:13 PM
AWESOME!!! That is looking terrific!! I would LOVE to have a go at building a uke & the Pineapple would be the way to go, I reckon - not so many bends to master!

Can't wait to see the finished product & hear a sound sample. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, for sure!!



10-10-2011, 06:05 PM
Latest progress: body dyed with coffee tone using ordinary fabric dye from Dylon UK over 5 coats, marker dots installed, fretwires all done

10-10-2011, 07:43 PM
Wow. Can't wait to hear it played.

10-15-2011, 01:57 AM
Hi ADD, thanks for dropping by. Some progresses made:

Fretboard glued and finishing started


10-15-2011, 02:36 AM
Great stuff I like it :cool:..it should sound good as well..Who needs posh wood ? when you can get tonewood for free.

10-16-2011, 03:07 AM
Phew..! Finally my 1st uke build is completed...mm...almost, except the full finish, while waiting for some finishing stuffs/materials to arrive all the way from the UK and US.

The body is now ready to accept its final finish. At the same time, the neck has also been dyed Havana Brown(DYLON UK), pores filled, final sanded and waiting for the tru oil.

The Bridge has also been glued, though unconventionally, pressed down with a homemade deep throat c clamp attached with a bolt & nut. While the bridge's wings are hold down separately with 2 strips of wood from lower bout to upper bout on both sides. Fortunately it worked!

I have also made the nut and saddle to receive the strings. All tuners installed, I used electric guitar tuners, they are Taiwan-made and cheap and look small.

And finally I strung it up. That was some 5 hours ago!. The strings are holding and the uke sang!

Here are some progress pics..


10-16-2011, 03:41 AM
A few more pics...and some "after" words...


It has been an incredible journey to me, as I have no experience whatsoever in building uke, except a guitar that has yet to complete. Next project, a grand auditorium guitar.

I have gained a lot of experiences for the last one month or so, which will surely enhance my next uke build. I started with half-hearted attitude and luckily, I changed my mind and decided to give it a good go.

I surely did not regret any bit. The 1st sounds from the uke is mixed..like they are all over the place..however, after 5 hours of stringing and holding, it begins to give a mellow and rather harmonious sounds, I think a lot better than my cheap Mahalo tenor.

For all the guys who have been chipping in along the way, I gratefully thank you for the support. I didn't have a clue what to expect when I started, and now I think I am very happy. It just shows that with good techniques, one can build a good instrument out of just scraps.


ps.build #2 soon

10-17-2011, 03:36 PM
Congratulations - looks good to me and hope to hear a little sound sample sometime in the future.

10-23-2011, 05:04 AM
Hi to all who visits this build page.

I have finally completed finishing my 1st uke build. Man, it was tough. I finally settled with french polishing on the soundboard, Tru Oil on the neck piece, varnish for sides and back.

If I have to choose what finishing to use, I would still prefer french polishing. However, Tru Oil is really easy on the neck. Despite putting in lots of finishing work, I still made some mistakes. Luckily they are small ones, those that I can accept. And so, the final work looks a bit rough, although you can't see them in the pictures. But hey, its my 1st, considering what I had at my disposal in putting up an uke, I leave it to you all to be the judge.

Here are some of my final pics of my 1st uke build; a pineapple (NOT PIPEAPPLE!)-shape with enlarge headstock (I kinda like it), of which the neck, 1-piece soundboard & back and the sides are all scraps from materials used for transporting goods inside a cold container that included pallet and laminates/plywood.

Sound sample coming up when new better strings arrive. Enjoy! I know I did.


10-23-2011, 05:09 AM
Last batch of pics:



10-23-2011, 07:39 AM
Looks mighty fine and you should be proud. Hope those new strings arrive soon.

Dan Uke
10-23-2011, 08:04 AM
How's the balance? Those tuners look somewhat heavy

Vic D
10-23-2011, 08:22 AM
Great work. I think it's fantastic that you took materials that would have ended up in a landfill and created an instrument. It just looks like it'll sound good, looking forward to hearing it.

10-23-2011, 10:36 AM
That looks AWESOME!! Congratulations on your first build!! I notice that the G string has a lowered saddle height - was it because of buzzing?

Can't wait to hear how it sounds!!


10-25-2011, 10:35 PM
Hi VicD, thanks for the kind words. Will surely make a sound test video once the new strings come in. I can't wait.
Hi arpie, thanks for following the thread. Its been an incredible journey for me. Actually I was experimenting with the height and still fine-tuning the action.

Please do check back soon. Will post the sound test video hopefully very very soon. I really can't wait.


12-02-2011, 04:26 AM
Hi and greetings to all seniors & UU VIPs. I have finally done it! My 1st uke sound sampling video. I managed to complete the french polishing on the soundboard (somewhat) and not totally satisfied with it but I will leave it as it is. It has been a great learning experience. For all those who have visited this page and to those who are kind to leave words of encouragement, I sincerely thank you very much. You guys have been my inspirations from the beginning.

My second build is on its way. I will surely post soon enough.

In the meantime, here's the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMQZlGp_RHU&feature=channel_video_title

12-02-2011, 10:26 AM
Great vid!! Well done - it sounds & looks terrific! You must be very pleased with the result!! Will you do another Pineapple? With 'better' timber this time? It will sound even more amazing!



01-20-2012, 08:03 AM
Kudos to you sir.
A great use of recycled materials. And a great build indeed.
Now if only we could get some sound samples.. ;)

03-04-2012, 02:30 AM
Hi tjomball, thanks for the encouragement. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMQZlGp_RHU&feature=channel_video_title

Hope you like it.

My second build is on the way. I will post soon.

mr roper
03-04-2012, 03:28 AM
Great! What creativity.

03-04-2012, 07:55 PM
Duly impressed with the look and sound of your first build. Congratulations.