Build thread: baritone scale kiku

tonyturley

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Scraping the excess finishing resin from the back after the second coat of pore fill.

kiku epoxy scraping.jpg
 

tonyturley

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Using a table saw sled and a stop block to do some preliminary shaping of the neck heel. A technique I learned through a video featuring luthier Heidi Litke of Red Sands Ukuleles.

kiku heel.jpg
 

tonyturley

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The best kind of mess: carving the neck on a musical instrument. There's just something satisfying about the hiss of the spokeshave or carving knife as they peel away curls of wood.

kiku mess.jpg
 

tonyturley

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Now that preliminary tapering of the neck and shaping of the heel have been done, it's time to add the "ears" to the headstock to prepare for further thinning and shaping. With overlays to be added both back and front, the glue seam will be invisible.

kiku ears.jpg
 

tonyturley

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Last couple of days I've been working on the peghead: shaping and thinning it to the proper dimensions, gluing and trimming the spalted Sycamore rear overlay, and using my CNC machine to cut the pocket for the logo on the front overlay. I still need to cut out the Black Walnut logo insert, which I will do before gluing the front overlay in place.

kiku rear plate.jpgkiku rear plate clamped.jpgkiku neck progress.jpg
 

tonyturley

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The spalted Sycamore overlays have both been glued in place and trimmed to shape, and the tuner holes drilled. This morning I completed installation of the Black Walnut logo inlay. Next is using the CNC peghead routing template to cut the tuner slots. After that, installing the frets and final shaping of the neck to prepare it for finishing and attaching to the body.

progress 070621.jpg
 

tonyturley

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Gluing the fretboard in place. I'll wait 24 hours before removing the clamps to ensure glue is fully cured.

kiku fretboard.jpg
 

tonyturley

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It's been some time since I've posted about the kiku's progress. Even though I had made a CNC cutting template, I dithered and fussed about with other projects as I considered how best to cut the peghead slots. Finally I ginned up the nerve to tackle the peghead. I used a couple of different methods to remove wood from inside the slots, finishing up the cuts with my laminate router and the 1/4" pattern bit shown in the image. I needn't have worried; the cuts came out as well as I'd hoped, and just need a small dowel wrapped in sandpaper to clean up the rounded ends of the slots. Now I can finish the neck and proceed to the finishing stage.

kiku slots.jpg
 

lauburu

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Nice work so far. You might like to think about ramps at the end of the slots closer to the nut. Otherwise the strings might bind on the edge of the ramp and create a stress point. And it looks nicer.
Miguel
 

tonyturley

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Getting very close to starting the finish application on the kiku. I have some minor touch-ups to do on the neck, and I still need to thin the bridge and apply pore-fill to the Black Walnut sides.

DSCF4416.jpg
 

tonyturley

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Another glamour pic while testing the neck fit. I still have a bit of flossing to do to get the neck alignment where I want. Not far now.

DSCF4421.jpg
 

tonyturley

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Looks great. Quite the voyage.
Thanks. Indeed it has been. I had some new processes on this one I had to learn, such as cutting a slotted head with a template and router pattern bit, plus accurately shaping a bridge with a split saddle.
 

tonyturley

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I've been distracted from the kiku project the past week or so while I worked on other uke projects. Here I'm working on refining the heel shape and sanding out some blemishes I found while inspecting the neck. I also needed to clean up around the tenon to get a better fit to the body.

Kiku heel.jpg
 

tonyturley

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The kiku build is still alive and well, though slowed a bit as I've added other projects to the work flow. Last night I was working on pore filling, and this morning I steamed out a couple of small dings I discovered in the Redwood top. This week I plan to continue the pore filling on the Mahogany neck. Not long now.
 

tonyturley

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With the long process of surface prep completed, the finishing phase begins with several wash coats of dilute shellac, followed by pore fill with shellac and pumice on the neck and soundboard. The Walnut back is already filled and sanded. Top coat is going to be Tung Oil Finish, aka wiping varnish.

Kiku shellac.jpg
 

tonyturley

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I've lagged a bit on the kiku project, letting some other non-musical woodcraft projects divert my attention, but it's inching toward completion. I'd hoped to have it done by the end of October, but it's looking like that date is pushed back a bit.