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Thread: Little Help Please (tuners and bridge)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Southern Minnesota
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    Default Little Help Please (tuners and bridge)

    I was going to drill the holes for the tuners and I realized my tuners aren't long enough. I Purchased the tuners with the longer post 25mm but the peg head is 20mm thick. I don't know what to do next. I could mortice the tuners down into the back of the peg head. I could thin the whole head down from the back side and taper it into the neck. The Second question is. If my scale length is 15 inches do I place the saddle exactly 15 inch from the nut or would 15 3/32 be better ? and can I glue the bridge down and finish ( using Tru-oil) or do I have to tape it off and glue it later. Sorry for the length of this post. Any help would be appreciated. IMG_0675.jpgIMG_0676.jpg

  2. #2

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    I would thin the back of the headstock down. It's hard to see from the photos but it looks like your neck might be pretty thick. If you make the neck too thick your left hand will tire more quickly when you are playing. 3/32 is about right for the center of your saddle. If you are using a 1/8th saddle you can then compensate a little in either direction. You can glue the bridge down first but it is harder to get over glue off unfinished wood cleanly. Having said that I would rather use an oil finish with the bridge already glued on than lacquer. Most of us do our finishing then route or scrape off the finish under the bridge. I put some painters blue tape where the bridge will go, locate the bridge, draw around the bridge with a sharp pencil onto the tape, then with a sharp scalpel cut 1/16th inch inside that line, remove the tape in that area leaving the tape on the outside to protect the top while removing the finish with a ver small chisel. You can also certainly locate your bridge, and use the same method to leave a piece of tape for masking then finish. I don't know why I don't do it that way. It would be quicker. I have read from those who do it that way if you are spraying lacquer it's best to use a very thin tape like wide clear tape that most use on hand held tape dispensers.
    Last edited by Michael Smith; 02-23-2015 at 03:31 PM.
    Michael Smith
    Goat Rock Ukulele
    www.goatrockukulele.com

  3. #3
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    1. Thin the back of the headstock if tuners don't fit. LMI sells uke tuners with adjustable posts, but you'll need to check the specs to see if they'll work.

    2. 3/32 is about right for saddle compensation, but check a fret placement calculator for more precise measurement.

    3. Whether to mask the bridge area before finishing is a matter of personal preference. I finish the entire soubdboard, then remove lacquer under the bridge using a handheld router.

    These are all good questions, and all issues I faced on the climb up the learning curve. Fortunately, the answers can be found online and offline by reading and viewing as much as you can.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mzuch View Post
    I finish the entire soubdboard, then remove lacquer under the bridge using a handheld router.
    To me this method sounds unnecessary and potentially disastrous. After I'm done lacquering, the last thing I want to do is go after my top with a router. Plus it is unnecessary. Here is how I do it:

    After final sandout and before finishing, put down a big old piece of 2 inch painter tape across your top in the approximate position of where your bridge is going to be go leaving lots of extra room. 3/32 over 15 sounds about right but personally I would cheat closer to a 1/16th but what do I know?... Next, measure off your bridge position very carefully both distance and exactly parallel to your nut on both ends. When satisfied, draw a pencil line around your bridge onto the tape. Next cut out the pencil line with an exacto knife about 1/16th inside the line. Peal off the tape around the outside and you now have a perfect mask for your bridge. No sharp routers needed and you will have perfect bare wood for gluing after you have done your finish. After finish just remove the tape and remeasure and then glue bridge.

  5. #5
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    Headstock cut down and the neck has been tapered to match. Thanks for the help. I taped the sound board and cut around the bridge with a sharp knife.

  6. #6
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    Your tuners are not too short. Your peg head is way to thick.

    Depending on the exact tuners, your peg head with head plate should be between 10.5mm and up to perhaps 12.5mm thick. There will be a bushing that came with those tuners that needs to be pressed into a counter bore of the face side of the headstock as well.

    If you look at the shaft on the tuners there are two lines. I'd take a rough guess and say that the overall thickness of your peg head should be the just a bit more as the distance from the backing plate to the top line. Then with the bushing thickness you are going to be pretty close.

    I'd really recommend that you practice on some scrap first on getting those counter bores right if you don't have the pretty specialized tooling for the job.

    As for saddle position, if you went for 15" and just a bit to the centre of the saddle you won't go far wrong. It really depends on the action, string choice, the size of frets, playing style etc.

    If you are using any type of oil finish, you had best glue that bridge down first, or the risk of contaminating a surface that will never take glue is pretty high.
    Last edited by Allen; 02-23-2015 at 06:53 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littleriveruke View Post
    To me this method sounds unnecessary and potentially disastrous. After I'm done lacquering, the last thing I want to do is go after my top with a router. Plus it is unnecessary.
    As Allen stated in the Out of the Box thread, chiseling/routing out the lacquer after spraying is one of those little things that solve a few bigger things. Admittedly, when I first saw Bob Gleason write about this process, I thought "no way I'm doing that." I didn't think it unnecessary, and I saw the value immediately, but was too chicken shit to attempt it. That was before I got my Foredom, and learned how to use it. Helps that I have the bits for it as well.

    Of course, with an Oil finish, I'd tape it, or other.

  8. #8

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    Wait, you want to under cut the shape of the bridge by a 1/16 or so. You don't want to have your masked area the same size as the bridge. It must be smaller. When you are done with your finish cut around it again so you don't pull your finish up when removing the mask.


    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelPfenning View Post
    Headstock cut down and the neck has been tapered to match. Thanks for the help. I taped the sound board and cut around the bridge with a sharp knife.
    Last edited by Michael Smith; 02-23-2015 at 07:11 PM.
    Michael Smith
    Goat Rock Ukulele
    www.goatrockukulele.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kekani View Post
    As Allen stated in the Out of the Box thread, chiseling/routing out the lacquer after spraying is one of those little things that solve a few bigger things. Admittedly, when I first saw Bob Gleason write about this process, I thought "no way I'm doing that." I didn't think it unnecessary, and I saw the value immediately, but was too chicken shit to attempt it. That was before I got my Foredom, and learned how to use it. Helps that I have the bits for it as well.


    Of course, with an Oil finish, I'd tape it, or other.
    I've used this method for years, showed Bob and many others how to do it safely. It is a very controlled process with less chance of screwing up than using a hand scraper or more primitive methods. A few months ago I did a pit oral of how it's done. I'll see if I can dig it up. BatW, I see no advantage to the Foredom. I have one but find the movement cumbersome because of the shaft you are tethered to. Instead I use a Dremel in my StewMac base.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  10. #10
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    I see no advantage to the Foredom. I have one but find the movement cumbersome because of the shaft you are tethered to. Instead I use a Dremel in my StewMac base.
    I like my Foredom much better than a Dremel. Advantages: 1) Variable speed control through a foot pedal, and 2) It's always there when I need it, hanging from the tree attached to my bench instead of sitting in a drawer.

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