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Thread: New to building ukuleles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    South Australia
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    Default New to building ukuleles

    Hello, new builder here so be kind
    One of my daughters asked me to build her a uke, here is her design so far along with a bending iron I made using a PID controller.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    London, UK
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    Great work! The shape reminds me of the viola de cocho... which reminds me, I think I've seen you on facebook too?
    My Website
    The stringed instrument database which I also run.
    I play far too many instruments to list, but I like 4 courses of nylon strings best!

  3. #3
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    Jun 2018
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    South Australia
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    Haha, yes! I’m coming out of my shell and hitting anywhere that I can learn from! It’s a steep curve this instrument building thing!

  4. #4
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    Jun 2018
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    South Australia
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    Made a couple of radius dishes today, I think they turned out well. I have coated them with shellac to seal the surface and have given them a sand, will add a couple more layers of shellac and sand a bit more to ensure years of use. Next up a go-bar deck.
    F9A5134C-D177-4AA1-A6BA-468CB2C619FE.jpg77696EB1-EC42-476F-A4A6-08F0F70C45F2.jpg41E127CB-5AF7-4F87-B71E-5C95488C5139.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Wales, UK
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    Love the shape. very interesting design typically overbuilt - it's what we all do when we start making so this is not a criticism, just an observation and one to put-on your 'things to think about' list. You don't need those side 'struts' or that massive block and corner block to the cutaway. Cutaways by their very design are very stable and represents strong 'nodes' in the construction of an instrument.

    More important than all this unnecessary shellacking is gluing another board of MDF to the back of the dish. The added weight is a bonus on top of the increased stability. I use 25mm/1" mdf for dishes these days and still back them to stiffen and stabilise.
    Last edited by Pete Howlett; 06-11-2018 at 12:23 PM.

  6. #6
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    South Australia
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    Thank you for your input Peter, much appreciated. I tend to over build most things, a habit I must try to get out of
    I still have a ways to go in learning about building instruments so any input is great. Are there any particular books that you would recommend to get me on track?
    The shellac is to try and get rid of the furry surface left on the MDF after routing and reduce moisture absorption, yes I will add some more mdf to the back of them to stabilise them. These were cut from 16mm sheet as any thing thicker here increases in price tremendously. 20mm sheets are au$90 as opposed to au$30 for 16mm for a 1200x2400mm sheet.

  7. #7
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    Wales, UK
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    Yikes! 18mm MDF is 20 a board here in the UK. That's au$35. MDF sealer is diluted glue. Much cheaper than shellac. In my opinion there are no good books on ukulele building. Most of your answers can be had here on this forum. Keep the top 'thin' and the back stiff. Keep us informed what you are doing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    South Australia
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    Yep, keep the convicts poor haha! Even buying sealer is more expensive than shellac! Ok, be prepared to be hounded by me then! I know so very little about a great many things

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Arlington, WA U.S.A.
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    I've gotta tell you, these folks are quite well experienced at being 'hounded'! You're clearly much farther down the road both in wood working as well as instrument building than I. This forum has been a lifeline for me and remains such!

    Welcome! :-)

  10. #10
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    Jun 2018
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    South Australia
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    Thank you Chuck, I try my best but I am no luthier. I have been playing with wood since I was a kid and have only recently had a shed of my own to work out of. I built it 3 years ago and am enjoying spending time seeing what trouble I can get myself into. These ukuleles will be my third and forth build, the first was a Cigar Box type thing the second one was an acoustic of my own design without a bending iron. I am here to learn

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