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View Full Version : My rick Turner uke build class experience - Day 1



mds725
04-21-2012, 07:53 PM
Today was the first day of the 4-day ukulele building class being taught by Rick Turner at The Crucible in Oakland. Here's my experience in photos.

1. The Western Red Cedar top and Mahogany back and sides. This is how Rick brings them.

2. Preparing for the first step in the build.

3. Gluing the butt block onto the sides.

4. Gluing the neck onto the soundboard.

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mds725
04-21-2012, 07:57 PM
5. Gluing the bracing and bridge support onto the back of the soundboard.

6. The bracing after the clams have been removed.

7. The sides after the clamps have been removed.

8. What uke build photo album would be complete without a shot of the butt seam? (The glue will eventually be sanded away.)

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mds725
04-21-2012, 08:09 PM
9. Shaping the bracing with a chisel. (Gratuitous amateur luthier shot.) The bracing under the soundboard is supposed to be flat near the ends to maximaze vibration and thinner and taller in the middle to maximize strength.

10. Ta daa!

11. The sides have been glued to the top and kerfing has been glued to the top and sides.

12. Kerfing being glued to the bottom of the sides. They're held in place with clips.

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mds725
04-21-2012, 08:13 PM
13. The bottom kerfing is in the house.

14. Gluing bracing to the ukulele's bottom.

Tomorrow we attach the bottom!

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Rick Turner
04-21-2012, 08:15 PM
Now if only my freakin' transmission hadn't blown up on my way back to Santa Cruz from Oakland this late afternoon. Thank god for AAA. Even interrupted my second Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by showing up at the Los Gatos Inn about 30 minutes earlier than I expected... If there was ever a good deal on a kind of "insurance", it's AAA towing. You get 100 miles free!

Not sure about making it to class tomorrow. Trying to reach everyone...not easy...

And wait 'til you see some of the incredibly creative clamping solutions that we come up with in a workshop that is not particularly oriented to lutherie! Giant clamp on Small Objects 101!

RT...

Rick Turner
04-21-2012, 08:20 PM
BTW, note that the progress is pretty much determined by glue curing time.

This is about as far as anyone could reasonably expect to get in the assembly of an instrument in one seven hour day as a first timer. The second day sees the box closed up and the fingerboard on. At the end of the second day, all the critical gluing stages are done; the instrument is basically assembled.

mds725
04-21-2012, 08:25 PM
Rick, sorry to hear about your transmission! it sounds like you eventually got back to Santa Cruz, but I hope you didn't have to miss the function you were planning to attend. Stuff like gluey fingers pales when bigger stuff happens. And AAA has come to my rescue more than once, so props to them! I'm still stoked about Uke Build: Day One. I hope you can find a way to get to Oakland tomorrow, but I certainly understand if you can't.

Rick Turner
04-21-2012, 08:33 PM
mds, I sent an email to you re. this that bounced back...PM me...

I did not make it to the Young Performers' show at the Rio this evening. Finally got back here at about 6:45...major accident on the 17 slowing everything down...and then the freakin' tranny had a nervous breakdown...and then it was call AAA time and have a Sierra Nevada... The only good thing was that I was able to exit on the East Los Gatos exit and limp into a parking lot at the Los Gatos Inn where the SN was cold and the people sympathetic... It's a 73 mile each-way commute for me to teach at the Crucible, and my car does have over 160,000 miles on it... Replaced the engine about a year and a half ago...should have done the tranny at the same time...

I'll try to email tomorrow, post here if email doesn't work. No luck finding a car this evening...

We'll figure it all out.

mm stan
04-21-2012, 09:45 PM
Looks like a fun build class sorry to hear about the transmission...I remember when mine gave out...it was like hell,
stuck and no AAA...then the tow truck and transmission bill..then I had to go to work....at least you get to go build ukes.

Kayak Jim
04-22-2012, 12:25 AM
Looks like great progress for the first day. I look forward to seeing the rest of the project. Thanks for posting mds.

Jim B

jackwhale
04-22-2012, 05:29 AM
Thanks for posting the pictures MDS. I also am surprised how much you can accomplish in one day.

shrink9
04-22-2012, 07:50 AM
What an excellent photo study of the process. I hope that the transmission problem doesn't creat too much havoc. I'm looking forward to more photos! Sure wish I could be there for the class. :-(

Rick Turner
04-22-2012, 12:19 PM
Mark, incoming on your email & your message box here is full!

I'll find out about the tranny on Monday. I need for my mechanic to give me a realistic evaluation of the car...a '95 Saturn wagon with a lot of miles on it, but with a replaced engine (last year). I'm trying to hold off on a new car until there is a decent plug-in hybrid wagon available. If I could get just 50 miles on batteries, that would take care of more than 90% of my car trips...then have gas or diesel kick in for long hauls... So if I could just get another couple of years out of this car, there might be what I really want on the market by then.

I've figured out how to compress the course into three days...I think...with a moderately long second day. We'll certainly find out in a couple of weeks! It's all about scheduling the critical glue-ups so they have enough cure time.

mds725
04-22-2012, 06:42 PM
Rick,

Got your email and will reply. Thanks for the heads-up about my inbox, which now has room again.

Good luck with your car. I lost the transmission once on the 1969 Chevy Impala station wagon my parents gave me in 1980, but my dad knew an auto parts guy. You're probably right that if you hang on for a couple of years there will be a plug-in hybrid wagon on the market, so I hope you can get your Saturn fixed for a decent price.

gyosh
05-07-2012, 12:12 PM
Any more pics of the progress?

Rick Turner
05-07-2012, 01:32 PM
We managed to compress the four day course down into three days by coming in early on this past Saturday and putting in a good long day. I don't think we could have done it with more than four students, but they all got the instruments strung up by about 4:00 PM yesterday. Two sopranos, two tenors, and some tricky peghead designs, to boot. Gary (gyosh) came by and showed off his completed uke and really inspired the students. Thanks, Gary!

mds725
05-07-2012, 03:23 PM
Any more pics of the progress?

Gary -- I took more photos, including photos of the finished ukuleles (although I forgot to take photos of some of the steps this past weekend) and I'll post them in a day or two, as I'm a little swamped at the moment. It was great seeing you and the Yoshi-lele, which looks beautiful -- you should post a photo of it in this thread -- and your visit was definitely inspiring.


We managed to compress the four day course down into three days by coming in early on this past Saturday and putting in a good long day. I don't think we could have done it with more than four students, but they all got the instruments strung up by about 4:00 PM yesterday. Two sopranos, two tenors, and some tricky peghead designs, to boot. Gary (gyosh) came by and showed off his completed uke and really inspired the students. Thanks, Gary!

Rick -- The class was a great experience. I'm afraid I'm going to have to put off the finish work on my ukulele for a bit, but it feels great and once I get the strings on right, fidget with them, and give them time to settle in, it'll sound great as well. And the class produced four really cool headstocks, so your aesthetic sensibilities must have worn off on us a bit. See you at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival!

webby
05-07-2012, 11:49 PM
awesome thread and fantastic informative pics, thanks, if it's any consolation my camper van just blew a head gasket grrrrr.