View Full Version : Where do i start??

08-05-2012, 11:15 AM
whats up every one? I live in colorado, but just got inspired to attempt to build my uke. i have no idea where to start on this just that ukes are made of wood haha. if any one would help me, just kinda give nme a heads up of what i need, the preocess, how much this cost. any thing helps. thanks.:shaka:

Yestyn The Great
08-05-2012, 11:42 AM
Do you already play the ukulele? And where in CO do you live?

08-05-2012, 11:54 AM
I you just want to end up with a ukulele think about getting a kit. Low end kit from Grizzly cost under $30. Higher end from Stewart McDonald about $125. If you want to build one from scratch then I suggest you spend a few evenings looking over this forum. Tools needed, material need and various ways to do thing have been covered several times. Many of the makers here have posted a tremendous amount of Youtube tutorials on various building methods. Cost for building one from scratch can be almost zero depending on how good and creative a scrounge you are to thousands of dollars to fully tool up.

You might look into getting a set of plans and and instruction book from Hana Lima. They sell kits and basic supplies. You might also check out Kathy Matsushita for a great overview of the process. http://home.comcast.net/~kathymatsushita/ (http://home.comcast.net/%7Ekathymatsushita/)

Good Luck with your build. Post pictures for us vicarious builders.

Re Ukuleles made of wood: Check out this thread -http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?66013-formica-laminate-sheet-for-ukulele&highlight=formica

08-05-2012, 12:09 PM
There is a story about the UK census in 1921 (it may not be true, but it should be). The form had a space for "Occupation", and a space for further details if your job was unusual. One form read:

Occupation: Carver of stone lions
What does this involve? I carve away all the stone that isn't lions

This is much more helpful for uke-making than you might think.

Step one is to do reading, lots of it. Everything you need to know is available online, but it's scattered about. Go looking.

If you want an easy start, buy a sheet of 1/16 inch plywood, a piece of straight-grained 2 x 2 hardwood about 24 inches long, and some 1/4 square strip. Make the body out of the plywood, kerfing the strip to make linings and using offcuts from the 2 x 2 for the neck and tail blocks. Make the neck bolt-on using an insert into the heel. Make a one-piece bridge out of 2 x 2 offcuts. Set the frets direct into the neck, and paint the body before bolting on the neck.

Look up the terms you don't know, because you need to understand what those parts do and how they function. You will need fret wire, tuning machines of some kind, a saw, a drill, a rasp (half-round), and sandpaper. Chisels and planes make things easier. Clamps for glueing bits together.

If this uke plays a tune, you now know enough to try again using real wood (planes and scrapers will be needed here). Just remove all the wood which isn't a uke. After the first half dozen you will begin to get a feel for what you are doing.

08-05-2012, 12:25 PM
dont think, just do.build one without any preconcieve notion or idea as to how to "properly" build a playable ukulele. those little mistakes are far better starting point than any other literature or books out there. use materials that are readily available as your first one will probably wont beas good as your 45TH. you pretty much have to wade through 80% BS and hours of browsing the interweb for build tips etc. . be forwarned though that it is very addictive

08-05-2012, 12:28 PM
hey thanks guys, ill start reading away tonight, haha wish me luck and ill a pic, once i complete my uke.