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mattivie1
02-08-2009, 09:46 AM
hey all im looking to start building, i have no expirience and and want to start simple. what do i need to start?

anomoly40
02-08-2009, 12:05 PM
You could buy a kit to help you get started with minimal special tools.

A cheap kit is Grizzly. (http://grizzly.amazonwebstore.com/Grizzly-H3125-Ukulele-Kit/M/B0000DD4ME.htm?traffic_src=froogle&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=froogle) They cost about $25 + shipping so if you don't like it or mess it up it's not a huge loss. It comes with friction tuners but you can customize and upgrade to your liking.

mattivie1
02-08-2009, 03:18 PM
what tools would i need to customize it to make it more of my own. What would i need to add a nice finish and different inlays?

anomoly40
02-08-2009, 03:58 PM
The basic tools of sandpaper, some files, Wood Glue, C-clamps.

A nice finish will depend on your wood that the kit comes with. You can go to your local hardware store and look at the different staining options. Most are paint on and are easy to apply.

As for inlays, it'd probably be better to practice on a piece of scrap wood that's about the same thickness as your fretboard. You're first Ukulele doesn't have to have fancy things like that as the kit comes with little "dots" to hammer in.

Just look around and get creative, you have the internet and it is a valuable tool to help you figure out how to do a more involved inlay.

acabooe
02-09-2009, 04:53 PM
IMHO the most helpful tool is the Hana Lima Ia Ukulele construction Manual.
It tells you everything you need to know in plain english. I have one and I still refer to it while building, even though i have made 5 ukes already.
Bob

cpatch
02-09-2009, 06:22 PM
IMHO the most helpful tool is the Hana Lima Ia Ukulele construction Manual.
http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/Detail?no=62

Pete Howlett
02-10-2009, 10:35 AM
You might want to walk before you start running - what are your expectations? Put the grizzly kit together and then spend your time trying to get a good finish on it... that will certainly 'customise' this kit!

I know there are some real fans of hana Lima and they get promoted quite well on this forum. However, their kits are for luthiers. Try Stewmac and look on my site - uklectic.com (http://uklectic.com). Check out my youtube videos to get an understanding what else is on offer and what is required to put a decent ukulele together.

seeso
02-10-2009, 10:58 AM
I've been a fan of Pete's videos for awhile now. They're very helpful.

Kekani
02-10-2009, 12:47 PM
You might want to walk before you start running

I know there are some real fans of hana Lima and they get promoted quite well on this forum. However, their kits are for luthiers.

What Pete said.

But if you really want to know what you need to put on a nice finish and inlays, seriously, here's what I use:

For finish:
60 Gal/5hp oiled compressor, with dessicant
Sata Minijet 3 (try pricing that one out)
Lawrence McFadden's Nitro, or Poly (my newest finish)
West Systems epoxy
Stew Mac Buffing arbor, with three 1" domet flannels on each side (use with Menzerna)
Sandpaper

For Inlay:
Foredom Flex shaft, with speed control
Stew Mac Flex shaft base and handle
custom bases
Downcut spiral bits
Material (wood, abalone, MOP, recon stone, Ivory, MOTS, etc).
Jeweler's saw, with blades, 3/0 and 6/0
ProCut
CA
West System Epoxy
X-acto knifes
tweezers
copy machine/scanner

That is by no means complete, but there it is.
And ditto to Pete - you may want to walk before you run.

-Aaron

GrumpyOldMan
02-10-2009, 02:03 PM
Thought you may like to see the Grizzly type kit I am currently building. It's not actually a Grizzly kit but a Thomann one, very similar but made of Basswood instead of Mahogany. I am almost at finishing stage but the weather is too cold to do it in the garage and I can't really do it in the house so I'm in limbo at the moment. I'm intending to spray it by the way.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v706/Brockyman/Uke.gif
The stripes were put on with Rosewood woodstain, the centre is unstained. I was inspired to do the stripes by my 1980's Kramer bass which has similar ones but made from real woods! The rest of the body and neck was stained with Pitch pine stain. You need to put a light cut into the wood with a scalpel or Stanley knife (I believe called a box knife in the USA) to stop the stain spreading where you don't want it. It's tricky and I didn't do too well on the back, which I did first, but the front looks reasonable if the light isn't too good. With practice it can be really good. My wife did a City and Guilds decorative paint techniques course and she is really good at this technique and has done a few wooden floors with parquet type borders.
This is just me playing and experimenting at the moment. What I have learned is that I probably don't have the patience to make a StewMac kit which is what I was hoping to do. I have another Thomann kit though, a Mahogany one, and I already know how to do it better next time.
If buying a kit from Thomann go for the Mahogany one. It is slightly more expensive but is of much higher quality than the basswood one. Actually the basswood one is good but the fingerboard and bridge are very poor compared to the mahogany kit and there is only about 7 difference in price. The Mahog kit has a very nice Rosewood fingerboard whereas the Basswood kit has a plywood one.
Hope this helps,
Ian.

Pete Howlett
02-10-2009, 02:31 PM
Ian
You might want to do a bit of translating for our American cuzens...

GreyPoupon
02-10-2009, 08:06 PM
What Pete said.

But if you really want to know what you need to put on a nice finish and inlays, seriously, here's what I use:

For finish:
60 Gal/5hp oiled compressor, with dessicant
Sata Minijet 3 (try pricing that one out)
Lawrence McFadden's Nitro, or Poly (my newest finish)

That is by no means complete, but there it is.
And ditto to Pete - you may want to walk before you run.

-Aaron


So if someone did want to become a builder, and start running before walking, what budget would they need to set up a decent workshop with the tools needed?

GrumpyOldMan
02-11-2009, 07:32 AM
Ian
You might want to do a bit of translating for our American cuzens...
Really? Any part in particular? I thought I'd done quite well, lol.
Okay:
7 is about $10.
Thomann are a huge dealer in Germany. www.thomann.de
City and Guilds is the equivalent of a Harvard Degree :rolleyes:.
Basswood is a lightweight softwood used for guitar building, not just basses!
Limbo? = "in colloquial speech, "limbo" is any status where a person or project is held up, and nothing can be done until another action happens". (from Wikipedia).
er..........anything else?

Ian.

Pete Howlett
02-11-2009, 11:45 AM
That's better, though I think you can take your tongue out of your cheek over the Harvard comment:nana:

On a more serious note; you are asking; "How long is a piece of string?" I am adding to my tool collection all the time. If you refer to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erbtYO9PSDA) video it will help you. The follow-up (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL2JKoc_1oI&feature=related) is also a good guide.

In amongst my viseo catalogue on YouTube there are other useful videos....

Kekani
02-11-2009, 08:23 PM
So if someone did want to become a builder, and start running before walking, what budget would they need to set up a decent workshop with the tools needed?

Not sure. I don't know anyone who's done that, although I know a few who've tried, or want to try - you're not the first. One in particular, decided to crawl first. Good decision for him, I'd say.

You need to answer the question: What kind of builder do I want to be? Custom, production, etc.

And, you really should answer the question: Do I want to make a lot of money doing this? If your answer is yes, then I'm the wrong person to reply.

Of course, you could do the Fender thing. . .

anomoly40
02-11-2009, 09:40 PM
Yeah, I'd just buy simple hand tools unless you plan on making a lot of Ukes.

acabooe
02-17-2009, 11:30 AM
I, for the most part use hand tools, and they work just fine.
It really gives you a feel for and a sense of pride about what you are bulding.
If you build a few with hand tools, and still like doing it, then you might want to go to some power tools, just to make the process easier and faster.
Just my two cents.
Bob

LazyRiver
08-01-2009, 05:05 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v706/Brockyman/Uke.gif
Actually the basswood one is good but the fingerboard and bridge are very poor compared to the mahogany kit and there is only about 7 difference in price. The Mahog kit has a very nice Rosewood fingerboard whereas the Basswood kit has a plywood one.
Hope this helps,
Ian.

How does the basswood sound relative to the mahogany? I ask because I had been wondering where to find thin sheets of mahogany or cedar and discovered I already have some basswood. I want to build a cigar box for a uke since finding the proper sized cigar boxes is proving difficult.