Stewmac Koa Tenor

dsorlien

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Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
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Here is my fourth build, still in progress. A Stewmac solid koa tenor.

Problems started right when I opened the box. The neck had a terrible twist. Sides did not match. The bent sides did not match the plan. I sent an email to Stewmac.

SM immediately sent a replacement kit, and told me to pick and choose parts from the 2 kits, and return the parts I don't use. So all is good at this point other than the sides which are bent into a shape not matching the plans.

I struggled with the sides, trying to figure out how to make them work with the top and back, without sacrificing too much body volume. It eventually worked out OK, but it is not exactly the body shape shown in the plans. I adjusted the mold so upper bout is narrower than shown in the plan.

This build continues my learning process. I am building skills to eventually build a few fine guitars. This koa ukulele is my first attempt at binding and inlay. It has tortoise binding on top and back, with w/b/w purfling on the top. No binding on neck or headstock.

I made sure the sides are perpendicular to the base of the form when gluing sides to neck and tail blocks:
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Using all my clothes pins for kerfing glue-up:
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dsorlien

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Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
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Kerfing installed.
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Top braces glued:
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Gluing back braces:
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Dry fit top:
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dsorlien

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Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
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Sanding sides level before gluing back & top:
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Almost ready to close the box:
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I added reinforcement to back center joint:
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I carved the top braces. First effort at top tuning. I have no reference so do not know if I did a good job.
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dsorlien

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Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
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I added side reinforcement to minimize side cracks.
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Gluing the back to sides:
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Trying out my new tool:
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Ready to close the box:
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dsorlien

New member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
Points
0
Closing the box!
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After applying a coat of shellac to avoid grain tear out when I tape the binding. It is looking good:
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dsorlien

New member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
Points
0
Here we go. My first attempt at binding.

I installed the binding dry, then used water thin super glue to wick into the gaps. After removing the tape it looked like I had ruined the build. Super glue everywhere. I was happy that it came off easily with a cabinet scraper.

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I'm extremely happy with the result. It looks beautiful.
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dsorlien

New member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
51
Points
0
Believe it or not, this is the first piece of pearl that I tried to cut. I thought cutting pearl would be hard, but it is really easy with the right tools. The hardest part is getting files into the tight spaces to make the lines smooth.

I have not yet routed the headstock to accept this inlay. I plan to practice on a scrap piece of ebony.

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klr

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
69
Points
6
That's going to be a beauty. :drool:

Thanks for posting the pics.