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Type: Posts; User: ProfChris

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  1. Replies
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    You might want to try a simple cabinet scraper...

    You might want to try a simple cabinet scraper (takes a little practice to sharpen, but not much).

    Clamp one end of the side and scrape down the half furthest away from the clamp, switch the clamp...
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    Thin is definitely the main answer. Mahogany...

    Thin is definitely the main answer.

    Mahogany can be tricky, especially as there are many different species sold as "mahogany", and even then two boards of the same species might bend very...
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    Your rosettes are bloody annoying Ken, because I...

    Your rosettes are bloody annoying Ken, because I can't see the joins either :D And I don't want to know how you do it, because I have no hope of matching your skill.

    My only consolation is the...
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    It can work, but needs careful wood selection and...

    It can work, but needs careful wood selection and a form to clamp the sides to.

    Dry heat (with maybe help from a damp rag) on a bending iron is less risky in my view, plus you can bend freehand.
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    There are two issues here: 1. Reaction to...

    There are two issues here:

    1. Reaction to humidity changes in the atmosphere. All wood moves because of this (mainly in the cross-grain direction), but flat sawn wood moves about twice as much as...
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    Steam bending is a good way of making thin wood...

    Steam bending is a good way of making thin wood crinkle up like a crisp (or potato chip for US readers). Not my choice for my ukes.

    OTOH, steam bending is much better for building boats.
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    Quite a few have been made. In the UK, by Pete...

    Quite a few have been made. In the UK, by Pete Howlett and Rob Collins, names you might have heard of.

    They seem to agree it's one of the easier woods to work, including carving.

    I haven't yet...
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    It's maybe worth noting that most descriptions of...

    It's maybe worth noting that most descriptions of the sound from different woods tends to correlate with the woof's colour. Spruce is "bright", mahogany "mellow". Cedar is "darker" than spruce....
  9. Nylon, or fluorocarbon, or Nylgut. Just tie a...

    Nylon, or fluorocarbon, or Nylgut. Just tie a loop at the tailpiece end.

    I'm pretty sure it was made for gut strings. The melody banjo is a similar (quite rare though not valuable) instrument...
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    I think I have developed a style, in that I sound...

    I think I have developed a style, in that I sound different from other players and people recognise a similarity across the songs I play.

    That came from performing, first to small groups (in...
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    I wasn't clear. Fret a string between frets 2 and...

    I wasn't clear. Fret a string between frets 2 and 3. Check the gap between fret 1 and the string. If it's more than the piece of paper the nut slot is not deep enough.

    Proper nut files are...
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    Your nut is definitely too high for comfort. A...

    Your nut is definitely too high for comfort. A piece of printer paper which *just* catches as you pull it out between string and first fret is at the top end of what I'd say is decent action.

    1/8...
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    A few years ago Rob Collins designed a travel...

    A few years ago Rob Collins designed a travel soprano which pretty much matches your specs (shortened headstock, etc), and built several. So he should have pictures to show you.
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    I think whoever you spoke to didn't understand...

    I think whoever you spoke to didn't understand your question, or has never seen a ukulele!

    A web search tells me that the Goodtime Parlor Banjo has a 23 1/8 scale length, which is about the same...
  15. The tension of the low G string should be if...

    The tension of the low G string should be if anything lower than the tension of a high G, so no.

    But the nut slot for the G string might well be too narrow for a low G, so would have to be filed...
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    From this I'm guessing that you want low sustain,...

    From this I'm guessing that you want low sustain, and the tone emphasising the treble.

    1. Low sustain is the most important in getting that sound you want. One way to achieve this is to damp the...
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    It really is quite a quick process once you've...

    It really is quite a quick process once you've developed the knack of hand planing. But I'd get a couple of scrap boards and practice on those first.

    My technique, about 50 ukes in to building is...
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    I'm with John (who undersells his singing BTW!) ...

    I'm with John (who undersells his singing BTW!)

    It's a question of finding the right key for each song. First you have to find a key in which you can reach all the notes. However, if there's a...
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    I'd say that from a builder's perspective, the...

    I'd say that from a builder's perspective, the most important consideration is that the finish can be applied really thinly. Heavy finish kills volume and dulls the tone.

    Then the secondary...
  20. Thread: Koa Question

    by ProfChris
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    I'm pretty certain koa is not on the CITES list,...

    I'm pretty certain koa is not on the CITES list, so you should have no problems.

    Gift or purchase makes no difference - it's the species that counts. So I'd make clear in the accompanying...
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    My oak camp uke (pictured in the linked thread)...

    My oak camp uke (pictured in the linked thread) sounds very good. And it has an oak top, as well as back and sides.

    I think other posts make it clear that oak can work well. But I suspect you need...
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    Here are three of the four camp ukes I've made. ...

    Here are three of the four camp ukes I've made.

    Sapele, modelled on the early 1920s Lyon & Healy. Note the heavily curved back, which allowed me to build it very lightly so it's good and loud. The...
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    Lyon and Healy beat Gretch to the camp uke by a...

    Lyon and Healy beat Gretch to the camp uke by a decade or more!

    My camp ukes had 8 inch bodies and just two ladder braces, each about 1/3 in from neck and tail. I'll see if I can post pics once...
  24. If you're just touching up you can wipe on...

    If you're just touching up you can wipe on shellac with a clean rag or paper towel - 3 or 4 coats should do it - and then gently blend the edges of the new finish until it's a close match with the...
  25. I don't know for certain, but I'd be surprised if...

    I don't know for certain, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't shellac. My 1920s Kumalae is certainly finished in shellac.
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