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DML
11-12-2011, 02:18 PM
Hey there, I got a itch to try this out and was looking for some insight from the pros. I never made one before but im quite handy in the shop and thought this would be a fun project. My question is,,what is a good cheap 1st timer kit that will also be functional when its finished? I have seen lots of kids crafts versions but i would like to play it when i'm done. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Here is one i found in my price range,,,any good?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SOPRANO-UKULELE-KIT-make-your-own-uke-DIY-instrument-build-/220890091525?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item336e135005

Doug W
11-12-2011, 02:36 PM
I am no expert but I have made a couple of Grizzly ukes. Check out the price difference here.
http://www.grizzly.com/search/search.aspx?q=ukulele%20kit

Here is a UU member that recently put together a Grizzly kit:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55690-Grizzly-Kit-Build-Success

DML
11-12-2011, 02:41 PM
I am no expert but I have made a couple of Grizzly ukes. Check out the price difference here.

http://www.grizzly.com/search/search.aspx?q=ukulele%20kit
Thanks doug,that is the same one i was looking at for $40 Well, Its the same photo as in the ebay listing

DML
11-12-2011, 02:49 PM
Here is a UU member that recently put together a Grizzly kit:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55690-Grizzly-Kit-Build-Success
He did a really nice job i'm going to have to give it a try:)

allanr
11-12-2011, 02:56 PM
My wife and I each built one from the $40 kits on Ebay. It was pretty easy, and a lot of fun. Both came out well.

All you really need is some wood glue, some sandpaper, and some rubber bands. An assortment of clamps will come in very handy, and if you have some woodworking tools, they will save time and trouble along the way. Something to finish the uke is also required.

DML
11-12-2011, 03:10 PM
My wife and I each built one from the $40 kits on Ebay. It was pretty easy, and a lot of fun. Both came out well.

All you really need is some wood glue, some sandpaper, and some rubber bands. An assortment of clamps will come in very handy, and if you have some woodworking tools, they will save time and trouble along the way. Something to finish the uke is also required.
I am excited to give it a try and anxious to see the box on my front porch

Doug W
11-13-2011, 04:34 AM
I am sure that the $23 Grizzly kit and the $40 ebay kit come from the same factory in China. You may want to consider replacing the plastic nut and wood saddle in the kit with a bone nut and saddle. I also bought slightly better tuners for the kit I made for my daughter.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-13-2011, 05:52 AM
Since you've said you are handy in the shop I think you'd be much better off with a kit from StewMac or Hana Lima. You need to glue a couple of pieces together and put a finish on it but the Grizzly is barely a kit. You'll be able to avoid most of the more challenging tasks but don't fool yourself into thinking you've built an ukulele when you're done. You haven't.

Allen
11-13-2011, 09:00 AM
I'm with Chuck on this. No challenge and you will have learnt nothing.

You have to ask yourself what is it that you are tying to accomplish. Get a cheap arse uke that sounds terrible, or have some quality time being challenged and stretching your ability with the potential of a fairly nice instrument at the end to show for your efforts.

DML
11-14-2011, 01:45 AM
I'm with Chuck on this. No challenge and you will have learnt nothing.

You have to ask yourself what is it that you are tying to accomplish. Get a cheap arse uke that sounds terrible, or have some quality time being challenged and stretching your ability with the potential of a fairly nice instrument at the end to show for your efforts.
That is what i'm going for with a long winter upon us im going to have alot of down time. I'm going to check into different kits,,all reccomendations would be greatly appreciated.Thanks for everybodys feedback thus far

DML
11-14-2011, 01:53 AM
Anybody ever done a stewmac kit like this? Looks like there is alot more involved other then glueing the neck and fretboard on and staining it,
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Kits/Ukulele_Kits/Tenor_Ukulele_Kit.html

ukeeku
11-14-2011, 01:55 AM
I made one of the grizzly kits, it was fun.
I set it on fire at UWC, it was its only hope.

DML
11-14-2011, 02:00 AM
This is a quote from one of the reviews for the stewmac tenor kit. What tools is this guy talking about?
Our very expensive ukulele project

When we received our tenor ukulele kit,we were pleased with the quality of all the parts and with the instructional DVD that we ordered as well. We became increasingly discouraged by all the very expensive equipment that we have had to purchase to build our single ukulele.
We are now stuck on the "fret seating" step...it's not working at all. We have made sevaral phone calls to get help...luthiers want $300 to do it for us. It is only fair to inform buyers of the investment in tools they need to build your kits. And you may want to consider pre-seating frets in the kit.

bluesuke
11-14-2011, 03:07 AM
I have built one. And all you need are basic hand tools as far as fretting you can use a regular hammer and a hard wood dowel to fret.
If you have a drill press you can use that with a dowel to press your frets in. You will have to build a couple jigs to build on but there no big deal to build.
With this kit you will end up with a pretty good ukulele

gyosh
11-14-2011, 03:15 AM
I recently competed a uke building class taught by Rick Turner. The kit Rick assembled had pre-bent sides, the neck was roughed out for us and the cedar top already had the sound hole. The rest of the assembly and shaping of the neck and peghead were up to us. It was a fascinating class and much more informative than "cutting a ukulele in half" which is something I'm prone to do when I want to learn about something. Anyhow, to address your question about tools. I took the class knowing full well that at some point I would build a few more kit ukulele and then maybe a few years down the road, give building from scratch a try. So the cost of the tools is all relative. I've already ordered nut files, fret files, a couple chisels and a small thin saw because I've been doing set-ups and the specialized tools make working much easier and precise. When I move on to assembling kits on my own I can see the need for a few power tools that I don't already own, and that will be to speed things up a bit. But they aren't absolutely necessary. In lieu of a wide belt sander, I've used contact glue to make a large flat sanding surface on a sheet of thick glass, and I do much of the sawing with a small coping saw until I decide what band saw will suit my needs. Aside from buying a million clamps I think you can work around many of the tools and if you plan on building more than one kit, the cost of the specialized tools will pay for themselves in time and frustration. If you want to see some photos of the Rick Turner class follow this link (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?54958-Birth-of-a-uke&highlight=birth) and here's the link for the final build (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55311-New-Uke-Day-quot-Birth-of-a-Uke-pt.-II-quot&highlight=birth)

I hope this helps you in some way. Have fun with the build.

-Gary

finkdaddy
11-14-2011, 06:25 AM
I built my first uke from a Hana Lima "kit". I wouldn't call it a kit in the usual sense of the word. It is really just all the materials you need to create a uke in one package. You still have to do virtually all of the work like side-bending, neck shaping, etc. I learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes, fixed most of them, and wound up with a very playable uke that i am very proud of. I also acquired an insane respect for the professional builders here!
I am now on my second build. I am using the Hana Lima plans for a kasha braced uke. I bought a lot of the supplies for this one from Hana Lima, but some of it, including the neck wood, I bought from a local source.

Allen
11-14-2011, 09:32 AM
If you are thinking that building quality instruments is a great way to get one on the cheap, then think again. The cost of tooling and equipment is substantial indeed.

However if you want to start out and try your hand, then there are lots of ways to tackle any part of the building process that uses what most people may have on hand. The expensive tooling just helps with speed and accuracy.

Break down each part of the building process and write down what tools you will need to accomplish that part. Have a look around the house, shed and your mates place for what may work out for you.

Things you will need.

Clamps
Cloths pegs for linings
Sharp chisel
Block plane
Straight edge
Rasp, spoke shave etc for shaping neck
Small hammer for fretting
Glue
Sandpaper
Ruler (good one can double as straight edge)
File
Needle files
Razor saw or similar
Side cutters
Drill
Vise or other way of holding things while working on them.
Larger hand saw. You pick your style.

I could pretty much build any "Kit" instrument with just those tools. For a scratch build the list would be longer. And of course there are other tools that will make the process easier, more accurate and perhaps more enjoyable. But then you don't have the bragging rights of saying you built that uke with nothing more than what was around the house.

Liam Ryan
11-14-2011, 09:33 AM
This is a quote from one of the reviews for the stewmac tenor kit. What tools is this guy talking about?
Our very expensive ukulele project

When we received our tenor ukulele kit,we were pleased with the quality of all the parts and with the instructional DVD that we ordered as well. We became increasingly discouraged by all the very expensive equipment that we have had to purchase to build our single ukulele.
We are now stuck on the "fret seating" step...it's not working at all. We have made sevaral phone calls to get help...luthiers want $300 to do it for us. It is only fair to inform buyers of the investment in tools they need to build your kits. And you may want to consider pre-seating frets in the kit.


That's a strange one.................I re-fretted three guitars then built my first six ukes with a soft face hammer I bought for $6.

DML
11-14-2011, 01:21 PM
Things you will need.

Clamps
Cloths pegs for linings
Sharp chisel
Block plane
Straight edge
Rasp, spoke shave etc for shaping neck
Small hammer for fretting
Glue
Sandpaper
Ruler (good one can double as straight edge)
File
Needle files
Razor saw or similar
Side cutters
Drill
Vise or other way of holding things while working on them.
Larger hand saw. You pick your style.



Good deal,,thanks man!!! I got everything but a razor saw? and needle file? Awesome info thanks everybody for the encouraging feedback.

Sven
11-15-2011, 12:26 AM
Check my blog, address below. It tells the story of my first 40 ukes. You might find some mistakes to avoid, and some procedures that work for me.

It's great fun to build ukes.

Sven

Timbuck
11-15-2011, 12:46 AM
I've never ever built from a kit...I started my first Soprano with a hand saw, hammer and chisel, a rasp, drill press, and an old Maranti kitchen door for material. :)