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  1. John Colter

    Finished - at long last!

    Back in 2017, I started building a soprano from a fine set of curly mahogany supplied (some years previously) by Pete Howlett. I had completed the body, but that was all, when a personal tragedy caused me to shelve the project. It took until earlier this year for my enthusiasm for building to...
  2. John Colter

    Pillar Drill

    As a hobby builder without access to proper workshop facilities, I have always felt the lack of a pillar drill. I find it almost impossible to drill tuner holes in a headstock using a hand drill. Today, I visited the museums in the Ironbridge Gorge with my son and saw just what I need.
  3. John Colter

    Change of user name.

    When I first joined UU I chose the nom-de-plume "Ukantor". I don't know why - it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. I've never liked it and tried to get it changed, ages ago, without success. I saw that there is provision to change one's user name under this excellent new format, so...
  4. John Colter

    Out and about

    Yesterday the weather was fine, so I jumped in the car and headed west. There is a designated low flying area for military aircraft training about eighty miles from where I live. It is known as The Mach Loop as it is near to the town of Machynlleth in Wales. There wasn't a lot of flying activity...
  5. John Colter

    Supermarine Spitfire UK

    About half an hour ago, I heard a familiar engine noise, so I grabbed my camera and dashed outside, just in time to shoot a Spitfire cruising overhead. The light was already starting to fail, so it's not a good photo, but it's such a rare even that I'm pleased to have got anything. It is one of...
  6. John Colter

    NUD - Ken Timms style 0 soprano with 'Sinker' mahogany body

    My new Timms arrived a couple of days ago. It's now had time to settle in and I've had a chance to play it and compare it with my other sops. I bought it because I am intrigued by the story of 'Sinker' logs. Lost in the rivers of Belize (formerly British Honduras) and recovered about 100 years...
  7. John Colter

    Covid 19 vaccination

    I have previously said that I did not want to be one of the first to receive the Covid 19 jab, so when, at five o'clock, I got a phone call offering me the vaccination, I had to make a quick decision. I said, "Yes". It will be done a week tomorrow with the follow-up jab early in January. I'm...
  8. John Colter

    "Cort" soprano - I like it!

    UAS has struck again. I thought I was immune, and I really don't need another soprano -- but you know how it is. The main attraction that led to my pressing the button on yet another uke, was that it is made from "Blackwood" acacia, and it looks like a no-nonsense, traditional design...
  9. John Colter

    Crack repair

    I needed to fit a some patches inside a badly cracked soprano. The first two, near the sound hole, were easy enough, but my fingers won't reach down to near the bridge, so I pulled a glued patch into place using a knotted string, and an old strap button. I'll fill the hole with a tiny rod of...
  10. John Colter

    It was meant to be.

    Early in 2009, the Ukulele Shop (then in London) asked me to write a review of two new sopranos from Ohana. They were the SK-50MG and the SK-70MG. The ukes were then donated to my old friend Ray Shakeshaft, to be included in the raffle prizes at the Hollesley Uke Jamboree, at the end of July. I...
  11. John Colter

    Kmise soprano, direct from China

    I've seen some positive comments about Kmise ukes, so when I saw a nice looking soprano on the AliExpress site, my finger hovered over the button - then it compulsively pressed! For my US $29.99 (inc p&p) I have received a really decent little uke. It claims the body is mahogany, but I doubt...
  12. John Colter

    Replacing the front on a soprano ukulele.

    I recently made a mahogany fig. 8 uke, and deviated from the usual practice of using an internal bridgeplate. The front kept trying to curve inwards, so instead I fitted a brace under the bridge, curved to make the front slightly convex. The sound it produced was very trebly - top-endish -...
  13. John Colter

    Pondoro - where are you?

    I haven't seen any posts from our old friend Pondoro recently. I'm posting this in the Luthier's Lounge section, because he is interested in building and was quite active here. I hope he is well and happy. Does anyone know him personally, or have any news? John Colter.
  14. John Colter

    Ukulele Birthday celebration, Thursday, Aug 21st, 2014, West Midlands, England.

    I've been in touch with The Bay Horse Inn, Stourport-on-Severn, DY13 9JA, and they will be delighted for us to meet there, as in previous years, to celebrate the official birthday of our favourite musical instrument. If my reckoning is correct, last year was the seventh year of this event, and...
  15. John Colter

    Ten fret soprano - Ukabosy

    In another thread, I mentioned an odd ten fret soprano that I made. I may have posted a pic of it in this forum already, but a search did not bring it up. It is inspired by the Kabosy, a folk instrument from Madagascar. People make their own, out of whatever materials they can find. A Kabosy...
  16. John Colter

    Iroko soprano.

    A friend removed an old shelf from his home, and another friend had it sawn into 1/16" slices. Some slices came my way, and this is what I've made. At first the timber was thought to be mahogany, then walnut, then afromosia, but now it is generally accepted as Iroko. It is very hard and...
  17. John Colter

    Ukulele Birthday Celebration, Thursday, 22nd August 2013, West Midlands, UK.

    For about the last six years, there has been an annual gathering of uke enthusiasts to mark the arrival of the SS Ravenscrag in Hawaii on 23rd August 1879. We get together on the nearest Thursday afternoon to celebrate the origins of our favourite instrument. The venue is The Bay Horse Inn...
  18. John Colter

    Fret spacing and compensation

    Some years ago, I read in a book that luthiers of old used something called "The Rule of Eighteen" to work out their fret spacings. The book went on to say that eighteen had been found to be inaccurate, and we now use a figure of 17.81715 (or somesuch) as the divisor in determining fret...
  19. John Colter

    Radar Love in a Nissan Micra

    Two guys with ukes, playing to pass the time. JC.
  20. John Colter

    "Mainland" brand ukes.

    I know that the Mainland ukes are well known Stateside, but they are still a bit of a rarity on my side of the Atlantic pond. I have been playing one today (the Classic Mahogany Concert), and would like to add my praise to the good things that have been said about the brand. The general fit...