View Full Version : noob questions

10-25-2011, 03:56 AM
being rather broke and tryign to find somethign worthwile to donate to the upcoming contest, I think I am going to have a go at building some homegrown instruments, first a cigarbox uke I think will be the easiest as I have some nice boxes, and the other a coconut one.

My hands are kind of uncooperative but I have soem wood working ad plenty of crafting experience and have worked for years doing set ups for guitars and undsetand about intonation ans fretwork. what I dont have is all the right tools or money.

first question, for the coconut uke I have been thinking of using a halved piece of sturdy bamboo for the neck, with a maple fret board. has anyone used bamboo for a neck before?
it seems very strong and stable material especialy in a short piece like that and what I have is fairly thick walled. but i am concerned about twisting. I am hoping with the maple fretboard on that wont be a problem?

my other question is about the top. i have a lovely block of koa that i have been taking off of for other projects like i used some for the bridge of this guitar:


I would like to use some of this for a book matched top for the coocnut ukes, i think that would be realy nice but I dont know how to cut soemthigng like that all I have are hand tools to work with. I dont know of anyone with the right table saw or whatever is needed to cut thin precision slices of wood off it to make the sound board. any suggestions??

also I was thinkign of using bamboo for frets, since I dont have fret wire , has anyone tryed this? is it a hard enough material for frets?
I kind of like the idea of making the coconut uke with completely 'organic' type material but i would like to create someethign playable and somewhat durable.

10-25-2011, 05:29 AM
You can make a frame saw for hand-resawing wood for tops etc, but it is very wasteful and a*lot* of hard work, As I discovered when I made one..

Some info on the frame saw:

10-25-2011, 08:02 AM
Bamboo for the neck sounds kinda interesting. I don't know how well it would hold up though. Maybe stabilize it with half a dowel glued inside it?

10-25-2011, 10:19 AM
thanks for the suggestion. I might try the dowel, or more likely another piece of halved smaller diameter solid bamboo through the center

part of my issues are medical, i have very bad fibromyalgia and MS type symptoms from Lyme disease and prolonged muscle use is impossible for me. that is why i am wanting to use bamboo which is already formed ;) i tryed a saw like that but couldnt manage it. :(

I was thinkign abotu taking it to a profession carpentry place or trying to find a local luthier to do it but I dont know where and Im afraid the cost might be prohibitive. I have no idea what the charge would be or which would be more cost effective.

10-25-2011, 01:55 PM
Where in New Jersey are you? I may be able to help if you are close to the Tappan Zee. PM me if you are interested.