PDA

View Full Version : Ideas for first build?



Jo in Azat
01-06-2014, 09:58 AM
Hi, i'm an experienced woodworker (i mostly build furniture and fancy staircases). I've just started playing uke and really fancy building one. Any good pointers as regards drawings / plans, and suppliers would be much appreciated. What did you build first time?

Allen
01-06-2014, 10:50 AM
I'd go with either a concert or tenor to start. A soprano is a far more difficult instrument to build well than the other two options.

Several plans available out there to give you a start. Ones by Scott Antes (http://www.lmii.com/products/media-gifts-more/plans/plans-other-instruments/3686-plan-tenor-ukulele-scott-antes/flypage-noimage) while over braced certainly a a jumping in point. Hana Lima (http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/StoreFront) also has quite good plans. The art comes into how you interpret those plans, or use them as reference to designing your own instrument.

A feely available and quite excellent plan is also on Christophe Greiller's website. (http://www.grellier.fr/plans.php?lang=en)Though for a soprano, you will learn a fair bit from studying it.

tangimango
01-06-2014, 05:09 PM
Hi, i'm an experienced woodworker (i mostly build furniture and fancy staircases). I've just started playing uke and really fancy building one. Any good pointers as regards drawings / plans, and suppliers would be much appreciated. What did you build first time?

you can maybe either start with a kit or go to hanalima website and order all plans and material to your liking. have fun

bariukish
01-07-2014, 06:48 AM
Like you, I'm an experienced woodworker who took up playing a ukulele late in life. I chose to build a high quality kit ( Stu-mac mahogany tenor) and customize it as I built. I changed the top to spruce, added a custom rosette, and maple bindings. Over all, the experience was positive. But be prepared to learn a lot during the experience. Such as:

No matter how many tools you have collected over the years, you don't have enough and they aren't the ones you need.

You need to learn to be more precise at every step in the process and patience, patience, patience.

You need to look ahead at virtually every step in the process.

You will make mistakes, that's part of the learning experience. Fix them as best you can and go on.

You will have spent a great deal of time and money for your efforts. Far more than you would spend on a good instrument from a quality builder.

In the end you will gain two valuable things, a great deal of pride in what you have learned and accomplished and the utmost respect for the artistry and skills of the many great luthier's out there.

Go for it. Enjoy it and good luck.

ksquine
01-07-2014, 07:57 AM
Free plans for a Martin soprano copy....http://www.grellier.fr/plans.php?lang=en
Other plans can be found at Elderly Instruments, Hana Lima, luth.org, etc
Materials and tools and books can be found at Stewmac.com or LMII.com

I built a soprano size my first time out, but I think that's the hardest size to get right (my first wasn't). What type of uke do you want to build?

Guitar2ukulele
01-07-2014, 08:03 PM
Like you, I'm an experienced woodworker who took up playing a ukulele late in life. I chose to build a high quality kit ( Stu-mac mahogany tenor) and customize it as I built. I changed the top to spruce, added a custom rosette, and maple bindings. Over all, the experience was positive. But be prepared to learn a lot during the experience. Such as:

No matter how many tools you have collected over the years, you don't have enough and they aren't the ones you need.

You need to learn to be more precise at every step in the process and patience, patience, patience.

You need to look ahead at virtually every step in the process.

You will make mistakes, that's part of the learning experience. Fix them as best you can and go on.

You will have spent a great deal of time and money for your efforts. Far more than you would spend on a good instrument from a quality builder.

In the end you will gain two valuable things, a great deal of pride in what you have learned and accomplished and the utmost respect for the artistry and skills of the many great luthier's out there.

Go for it. Enjoy it and good luck.

I also did this with the stew mac kits but replacing the top with cedar. I am going to try the Hanalima plans this summer. Hopefully I will eventually be able to build from scratch instead of kits but that is more of a long term outlook.

Ron B
01-09-2014, 10:37 AM
Hello,

Had great luck with Waverly Street plans! He's got a series of Youtube videos that are terrific too. Ukuleles are teeny, and the materials for almost all of the components can be salvaged and re-purposed. That hunt is half the fun. My daughter is enjoying a tenor I built for her with maple neck(firewood log), walnut sides (orphan table leaf), fir back (torn-out wainscoting), cedar top (salvaged pool decking) and a purpleheart fretboard and bridge (cribbage board leftovers). The point is that the cost of the project can be kept way down. I bought tuners and fretwire only.

Best of luck
Ron B

Kalimna
03-04-2014, 04:34 AM
For what it is worth, I am currently building a pair of ripple maple back and sides concerts, one each for my two boys (neither of which is 4 yet....). Most of the bits and bobs came from offcuts (back, sides, soundboards - spruce, neck for one - maple) or reclaimed (afromosia bench top for the other neck). These are my first two acoustic instruments (with a background of only two electric guitars built at home), and I am following plans from Georgia Luthier Supplies. Build processes adapted from Cumpiano & Natelsons guitar building (priceless) book.
I would echo all that has already been said, especially with my inexperience! So far, I am quite pleased with what has been produced - I am currently learning to French polish and spray nitro as the finishes. There have been many, many mistakes (one has a body join at 13th fret....) but it has been a fabulous learning experience. Particularly when my eldest asks "Daddy, is that for my nukulele?" (and yes, am using his spelling!)
The only things left to do are construct the bridge, nut, the fretwork and attach the necks to their bodies..

I would like to ask - for what particular reason are sopranos harder to build? Is it because of their smaller size multiplying miatakes? Already I have a great deal of respect for uke builders - ukes seem far more than just "small guitars".

Cheers,
Adam