Parallel builds

tonyturley

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The hard way to trim a sound hole port. I started by using my trim router and a set of acrylic templates to cut an oval ring from Black Walnut. Then I stuck self-adhesive 80 grit paper to the upper bout of the baritone uke and started sanding one side of the ring until it fit the contour of the uke. Then I held it against the side and traced the outline. The oval kept wanting to slide while I traced, so I had to erase and re-trace several times until I got it right. Then I used a Dremel with a tiny inlay bit to slowly cut through the side and thin ply backing, going very slowly so I wouldn't splinter the backing. Finally, I used a sanding drum in the Dremel to work away at the waste until the ring slid in place. It is hard to get a perfect fit and I had to do some gap filling, but after shaping and sanding the excess Walnut, the finished ring looked good when I wiped everything down with grain alcohol. A lot of work over the past 2 days, but I like the results.

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Nickie

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I love the sound port trim. I bet it was worth all the effort.
 

Nickie

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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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That looks really nice...
 

tonyturley

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I love the sound port trim. I bet it was worth all the effort.

Thanks Nickie, it was. I'm going to start on the same process for the tenor uke today, this time using a small chunk of Indian Rosewood left over from a guitar bridge. I expect that will be a lot harder to sand.
 

tonyturley

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More woodcraft fun. Some great progress lately on my tenor and baritone ukuleles. The tenor uke has the same side sound port with Black Walnut trim ring as on the baritone. Just glued on the tenor's top and trimmed it flush this afternoon. Almost ready for the top bindings and neck attachment.

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tonyturley

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Some nice progress over the past few days. Installed the Rosewood bindings on the tenor, fitted and trimmed most of the braces on the baritone soundboard, and installed the kerfed linings on the top side of the baritone body. Next is carving and fitting the tenor neck that is sitting next to the body. The tenor will likely be finished well before the baritone; it's much less complicated than the baritone. I'm still puzzling over how to cleanly cut binding channels on the baritone, which has an arched top and back.

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tonyturley

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Happy Thanksgiving, all. Here's my stopping point for now. The top on the baritone has been flush cut, and I'm working on test fitting the rough cut tenor neck. I am going to wait until next week to begin working on the baritone bindings - those are going to be tricky due to the tapered sides and arched top and back.

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tonyturley

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I’ve made a lot of progress on my twin ukulele projects this week. Both necks are shaped and sanded, ready for the headstock plates and inlays. I still need to install the body bindings on the baritone, and the frets on the tenor. I had been scratching my head on the best way to attach the baritone neck, and I came up with a jig for holding the neck firmly while cutting a spline slot, while keeping my fingers well away from the router bit.

I hope to have both instruments assembled and ready to begin applying the finish by the first of the year.

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bazuku

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You do very neat work, Tony. They are two nice looking instruments in the making.
Your pocket jig is a work of art.
One thing that I noticed in image 0040, is that the grain in your removable tongue appears not to be coplanar to the neck wood grain. If it was just popped in that way for the photo, ignore this pedantic observation … just trying to be helpful, not critical.
 

tonyturley

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You do very neat work, Tony. They are two nice looking instruments in the making.
Your pocket jig is a work of art.
One thing that I noticed in image 0040, is that the grain in your removable tongue appears not to be coplanar to the neck wood grain. If it was just popped in that way for the photo, ignore this pedantic observation … just trying to be helpful, not critical.
Thanks, and thanks for the observation on the spline. I guess I need to fix that.
 

bazuku

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I guess I need to fix that.

It may be worth it, or not. Perhaps just consider the odds... as long as the neck to body glue line stays intact, it will make little difference in its current orientation. If the glue line separates, the grain through the tongue/splice could fail with the shock of a hefty knock or drop.... not a sure thing scenario, unlikely, but possible. In either orientation, string tension should be no threat. Even taken at 'worst case', the necessary repair would not be too difficult.
 

tonyturley

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The tongue isn't glued in the slot yet, and it will only take me a few minutes to cut a new one from the scrap I keep handy. As you said, a traumatic knock isn't a high probability, but you never know.
 

tonyturley

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Great progress over the past few days. I set up another jig to rout a channel in the baritone neck for the CF reinforcing rod, installed fret markers in the tenor fretboard and sanded it to final thickness, glued the tenor fretboard on with aviation grade epoxy, installed the Rosewood inlay on the Ovangkol headplate for the tenor, glued it on the headstock and trimmed everything to shape. Aside from the router and a bit of spindle sanding, I did much of the work with hand tools. Much more relaxing. Today I'll work on the frets for the tenor, and possibly the binding channels on the baritone.

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sequoia

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Coming along nicely. Gonna be some pretty instruments. However I have two comments :eek:ld:

1) Why not fret your fretboard before you attach it to the neck? It is so much more convenient when you can get even pressure all along the board. Makes preliminary fret dressing much less a hassle. I'm not saying you can't do it this way, but save yourself work. By the way, a must have tool is a fret end dressing file like this: worth the ridiculous money it costs. I love this thing.

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2) I'm not sure what "aviation grade epoxy" is but it sounds pretty gnarly and might be overkill. Since the fretboard to neck connection is not subject to any real stresses, why nail it down? And always keep in mind that at some point that fretboard will have to be removed (it happens). I'm of the school that epoxy has no place in ukulele building but people do use it for specialized applications (like maybe gluing in your CF rod). Just use an aliphatic and not too much of that either.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

tonyturley

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Coming along nicely. Gonna be some pretty instruments. However I have two comments :eek:ld:

1) Why not fret your fretboard before you attach it to the neck? It is so much more convenient when you can get even pressure all along the board. Makes preliminary fret dressing much less a hassle. I'm not saying you can't do it this way, but save yourself work. By the way, a must have tool is a fret end dressing file like this: worth the ridiculous money it costs. I love this thing.

2) I'm not sure what "aviation grade epoxy" is but it sounds pretty gnarly and might be overkill. Since the fretboard to neck connection is not subject to any real stresses, why nail it down? And always keep in mind that at some point that fretboard will have to be removed (it happens). I'm of the school that epoxy has no place in ukulele building but people do use it for specialized applications (like maybe gluing in your CF rod). Just use an aliphatic and not too much of that either.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Thanks for the suggestions. I just did the fretting this way to try it out. I found it was a hassle. Lot harder to get the frets to go in smoothly - Robert O'Brien made it look a lot easier in his fretting videos. I'm going to go back to the way I did it in my first couple of builds.

I used epoxy because it was recommended by a luthier who builds high end custom guitars. But since a uke has 1/4 the string tension of a steel guitar, it probably was overkill in my case.

And yes, a fret end dressing file is on my list. This is just my 4th fret job, and I'm still struggling to get a fret job that satisfies me.
 

tonyturley

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I did order that fret dressing file. It came today. Pretty awesome. Lots accomplished in the shop this morning. The neck is glued on the tenor uke. I can't tell you how many times I dry fit and measured before committing to glue, and remeasured at least half a dozen more times after it was clamped securely. Clamps are off now, and I added a heel cap made from a scrap of the back wood. I also took a buffalo horn guitar end button, and cut it down to a strap button. I drilled a pilot hole in the middle and threaded a cut-off eye hook in it, securing it with CA. It looks great on the end of the uke. Think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon reading.

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tonyturley

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Good place to stop for the weekend. Dry fitting the bits on the baritone ukulele. Still have a fair bit of work this week before I commit to glue, but I’m liking the fit. Bindings will be a real challenge. Unlike the tenor, the baritone will have bindings top and bottom, and both surfaces are arched, with a tapered back.

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Uke-alot

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What are the dimensions of that carbon fiber bar, and where did you get it?