Parallel builds

tonyturley

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I'm finally to the stage where I can glue the bridge on my Stew Mac tenor uke. While I've been waiting for the Tung Oil to cure, I've started wood preparation on a pair of new instruments, a Kasha tenor uke based on Hana Lima 'Ia plans, and a Kasha-braced nylon tenor guitar, 23" scale, based on Scott Antes plans. The uke will be Black Walnut and Redwood, and the tenor guitar will be Indian Rosewood and Redwood. Yesterday morning I spent much of the morning thickness sanding tonewood. I need to invest in a good dust collecting system - my poor shop vac just couldn't keep up. Here are a couple of progress pics.

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sequoia

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Nice looking wood. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
 

tonyturley

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I guess it's been a while since I posted here. The attached image shows the first of many braces being glued to the Redwood top of my Kasha tenor uke. From the sound samples I've heard, the Redwood and Black Walnut I'm using should sound nice. I know Brian Griffin has been making some really nice Kasha ukes, and reading his blog inspired my own Kasha journey.

I decided to use a ready-made rough cut neck for the uke, but in the background you can see the bound fretboard and partially carved neck for my tenor guitar project. Lots of shop fun these days. Since my OP in this thread I've finished the Stew Mac build, and added a pear-shaped baritone uke to the list of projects. For that project I purchased a neck and fretboard from Mainland Ukes.(not shown)

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sequoia

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Looks like an interesting project. I've never done an uke with Kasha bracing but thought about it... Nice looking slotted headstock neck for a ready-made. Where did you buy it?
 

tonyturley

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I bought it through Amazon. It needs quite a bit of sanding, but it still saved me a lot of cutting and carving.
 

Pete Howlett

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Kasha - the word that divides us. I have revised my bracing system and it works well in off-set sound hole designs, not so good standard. And it's not Kasha...
 

tonyturley

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Kasha - the word that divides us. I have revised my bracing system and it works well in off-set sound hole designs, not so good standard. And it's not Kasha...
I'm inexperienced at building stringed instruments, despite my upcoming retirement. I've read comments both for and against the Kasha setup, but Brian is sold on the method. I just wanted to try it at least once. I look at it just as I view the V bracing in the tenor guitar I'm also building. An experiment. I doubt I'll ever build enough stringed instruments to develop any real expertise in the matter.
 

tonyturley

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Progress over the past few days. Sound hole patch and tone bars glued down on the top, and one of the sides bent this evening and clamped tightly into the mold for a few days. My pipe setup is crude but effective.

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tonyturley

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It's been a while since I posted any progress. The tenor uke and tenor guitar are now both closed. The tops are already trimmed flush, and the backs will be next, then the binding process, Curly Maple in my case. Looking like musical instruments now, but there's still a lot more work to go.

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tonyturley

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A bit more progress. Bindings mostly glued and scraped, necks temporarily in place to get a first glimpse of the final instruments.

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MustGuitars

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Congratulations on your progress! And thank you for sharing. You do great work and love the bench!
 

tonyturley

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Well, I'll have to accept 1 for 2 in this venture. I royally messed up the tenor uke body, and ended up ripping out the Aloha Twin pickup and binning the rest. I mentioned this in another thread, and it galls me to think of my debacle, but at least the tenor guitar turned out well. The Aloha Twin pickup from the uke went into the tenor guitar, and I installed the Wavery tuners and strung it with Oasis GPX+ Carbon Classical strings 1-4 just this morning. I guess in a sense it's a 23" scale baritone tuned DGBE.

I'm rather surprised by the guitar's volume - it has a good bit more punch than my all Mahogany baritone uke, even unamplified. I did make sure to thin the Redwood top and keep the V-braces as light as I thought feasible. I'm pleased with how it turned out, although there is room for improvement. This is my first instrument built 100% from raw wood. My first two instruments, while they took a lot of work to build, contained either pre-bent sides or a rough cut neck.

My next build has already started. Inspired by a Jay Lichty project, I'm crafting a 19.75" scale steel-string baritone uke. Top will be torrefied Sitka, and the back/sides California Bay Laurel. I think I'm going to take the day off from building, though, and do some more reading and preparation.

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sequoia

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Sorry to hear about the tenor uke. Must have been painful. The tenor guitar is an interesting looking instrument and it looks like it turned out well... You are going to love working with California Bay Laurel (or as some call it; Oregon myrtle). Works well and can have beautiful grain and figure. Keep us in the loop as building progresses. Below California Bay Laurel uke I built awhile ago:

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tonyturley

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Sorry to hear about the tenor uke. Must have been painful. The tenor guitar is an interesting looking instrument and it looks like it turned out well... You are going to love working with California Bay Laurel (or as some call it; Oregon myrtle). Works well and can have beautiful grain and figure. Keep us in the loop as building progresses. Below California Bay Laurel uke I built awhile ago:
Beautiful looking instrument, sequoia. Yeah, it was painful abandoning the tenor uke project, but I was talking with a guy who's been building high quality ukes for over 25 years, and he told me my experience is not so unusual. I'm just looking at it as a learning experience.

Keeping with the theme of this thread, I'm launching into another parallel build. The baritone uke I mentioned above, and a tenor uke kit I bought from Kenneth Smith in the UK. This one is considerably more involved than my previous StewMac kit. Neck has to be carved, and the fretboard is slotted but not cut to shape. Top is Red Cedar, and the back/sides Ovangkol, another wood I've never used. I think this is going to be a really nice looking uke. It just arrived today, and I'm going to give the wood some time to acclimate to my shop before I dive in.

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tonyturley

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A bit more work over the past few days. I made a 15 foot building board from Poplar to use for gluing back braces. After cutting each piece to length and rough cutting the arc on the band saw, I used my LMI brace sander as a template to run each piece through my router with a flush cut bit. Glued all together and cleaned up with a scraper, it makes for a handy work surface. The first pic shows the last of the back braces being glued on the baritone uke back. I also made a rosette for the baritone from Rosewood, and cut the rosette channel in the torrefied Sitka top. I'm going to trim the rosette with purfling from StewMac.

The other image shows the uke kit contents with most of the tape removed and ready to begin. The pink piece inside the body halves is an inside mold I cut from builder's foam and sanded to shape. My inside mold is an adaptation of an idea I saw on another forum in the LMI kit section.

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tonyturley

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I decided to go with a different building method for the tenor uke, foregoing the foam building form and using an open setup similar to what StewMac recommends in their uke building videos. In the first pic you see the Ovangkol tenor uke sides clamped in the building form, with the neck and tail blocks and part of the reverse kerfing glued. Next to it you see the torrefied Sitka top and Bay Laurel back for the baritone. The second pic shows the Ovangkol tenor back with the curved braces glued and being shaped. One of the Bay Laurel baritone sides has been bent and is now clamped in the bending mold.

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tonyturley

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More progress.Tenor uke and baritone uke with backs glued and trimmed, ready for sound port installation. The Walnut/Maple neck blank is for the baritone uke. It is actually an off-cut from an archtop guitar project I finished just last year, but I originally rough cut that neck around 10 years ago. I’ve been hanging onto the off-cut all these years, thinking I would eventually use it.

The tenor uke is a much simpler project, which will have a flat top and bindings on top only. The baritone uke is my most complex project yet, with my first rosette, first domed top, first complex bindings, and first mortise and tenon joint cut with a jig.

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