2x4 challenge

Pete Howlett

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This might be a fun thing to do.... not sure if I could squeeze it in but I am looking for a suitable 8ft length of pine :)
 

DPO

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Got some 4 X 2 Rimu In the shed, what's the challenge?
 

orangeena

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If it is what it sounds like, I am up for it too. My first attempt was largely from a lump of knotty pine from B&Q and if I'd known about bridge compensation at the time it would still be ok.
Max
 

Vespa Bob

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I don't know what Pete has in mind, but I might have a jump start already!;)

Bob
 

Pete Howlett

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I think it's buy a piece of 2 x 4 from Home Depot or B&Q and see if you can make a half decent uke out of it. I think we can set a rule that the main body of the instrument and its constituent parts need to be made from this plank with the exception of the bridge, fingerboard, fretwire, nut and saddle material.
 

orangeena

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Is there any specification as to what type of uke: soprano, concert, tenor, cigarbox, pineaapple?
I would imagine soprano, but need to know the rules.
Pictures and sound clips will be needed of course. Maybe the best efforts could be raffled somewhere?
 

ksquine

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Hmm...been meaning to try an all softwood body someday. Maybe this is a good excuse
 

Timbuck

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You can make a bridge and fingerboard out of it if you bake em like I did on the Pallet uke.
 

resoman

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Your Pallet uke is what came to mind when I read this. :)
 

Pete Howlett

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Great idea - that would be a much more demanding challenge. If we stick to the 2 x 4 and use Ken's idea for baking the fingerboard and bridge I think we could have some fun. Any size would work for me since I am not competitive and would not want to get into a spitting contest over this... I will hunt out a piece at the weekend and do some research on that Japanese scorched finish... Nice little holiday project :) Mine will be a ditson style concert I think, naturally with no binding or rosette.
 

lauburu

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Nice idea. I wish I had the time to participate. It will have to go on to my (long) list of future projects.
Miguel
 

dave g

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Allow a 2 x 6 - you can get (book matched) concert size tops out of that :)
 

saltytri

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Allow any wood purchased at a big box building supply store such as Lowe's or Home Depot. Hardwood stores and outfits that cater to cabinetmakers would be off limits. That ought to keep things plebeian enough.

Hmmm.... Western Red cedar back and sides, hemlock or CVG Doug fir neck and a maple board? :) That could turn into some real fun.
 

Andyk

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Allow any wood purchased at a big box building supply store such as Lowe's or Home Depot. Hardwood stores and outfits that cater to cabinetmakers would be off limits. That ought to keep things plebeian enough.

Hmmm.... Western Red cedar back and sides, hemlock or CVG Doug fir neck and a maple board? :) That could turn into some real fun.

You guys in the States are so lucky if you can find that in you local DIY store. Here in the UK we have it slightly different ... Just take a look at the wonderous selection in B&Q: http://www.diy.com/departments/buil...=100mm?pageSize=12&categoryToFilter=DIY570361
Makes me want to relocate ... although the cost of living in the US and all those guns puts me off a tiny bit :)
 

RPA_Ukuleles

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Love this idea. And I think just keeping it to a pine/fir 2x4 *is* the challenge. 1 stick, 1 uke, good luck!

Gentlemen, start your bandsaws!
 

Pete Howlett

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Interesting isn't it how people always want to change the rules - those ideas are great but are simply another concept. You want to do that then go ahead. No-one is stopping you :)

However for the 2x4 ukulele challenge I therefor propose:

Purchased 2" x 4" x 8' from local supplier of pine/fir. Can be rough sawn or prepared
Any style of ukulele
Baked pine fingerboard and bridge - see Kens instructions
Fretwire, nut and saddle, tuners - bought 'non-pine' items
Any finish you want
Photo documented or other
 

RPA_Ukuleles

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Cool by me!
Now, all I need to do is spend the rest of the day sifting through six thousand 2x4s at the Depot to find the "one" quarter sawn 2x4 that somehow made it into the stack. Wish me luck! By the way, in the US, at least, a 2x4 is actually 1.5" x 3.5" so the question is, book matched Soprano? or 3 piece top- Concert or Tenor?
 

Gyozu

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Just a quick bit on the "Japanese Burned Finish" also called "Shou Sugi Ban".

I just used this finish for the first time on a Japanese style toolchest (toshio Odate plans). Wood was Flat sawn Ash flooring that I thinned down from 3/4" to 9/16". This finish does a great job of showing the grain.
A Harbour Freight weed burner was used to char the surface. It worked OK, but it is to much uncontrollable heat. The wood warped a bit and glue lines started to fail. The box was built with glue and screws then burned. If I did this again, I would burn the wood first then build, finally burning the small exposed surfaces after all was assembled. if I needed to keep things tight. After a bit more searching around a video surfaced showing the craftsman heating blocks of metal on a forge and dragging these along the surface of the wood to char it. When wire brushing ( A brass brush worked well-not to aggressive) the surface, go with the grain if at all possible. The finish I used was a wax containing Beeswax and Carnuba. Nice finish for a toolchest, probably no good for an instrument. One of the interesting things was areas that show a variation in heat went from dark caramel brown to ebony black. Also, an decorative method to pursue would be to use shaped metal overlays to protect the original surface while burning to add surface design.

I will be interested in this build. Several years ago I bought an 8'x 2x4 Douglas fir stud at a local salvage shop that was perfectly 1/4 sawn and knot free. Thought of making a uke ala Pallet style leapt to mind.
 

Pete Howlett

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Yes - any 2x4 softwood or pine. If you can get it rough sawn it will be 4". A hunt round an old joiner's workshop would definitely yield a gem or two. Get into the spirit of this. Try to be 'honest' with the build - this is no competition and everyone should have a pop at it. The word challenge is to yourself - see what you can do using your imagination and skill. Since I am very pushed for time, I am going to build one of my boat paddle instruments and use a nice bright wood dye to finish it. If you feel intimidated why not mug up a 'cigar box' configuration or get the plans for a Doan style uke. Let's see how we all do :) Good luck everyone :)
 

Vespa Bob

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I guess mine won't be allowed, as the top, back, fretboard and headplate are not from my 2x4! At this stage it's almost complete and, while I'll certainly build another, I won't use 2x4 pine again! Apart from the knots, the uneven grain makes it very difficult to sand and shape. I appreciate that this is a fun project, but unless you are lucky enough to find a good one, 2x4 pine/fir is not the best for instrument building!:)

Bob
 

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