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Thread: Not your Grandpa's Cigar Box Uke

  1. #21
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    Nov 2017
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    This uke is not for the faint of heart.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    Vertical head stocks work very well, but seem a bit weird the first time you use one. If you don't fancy carving the whole neck in one piece, I can recommend a two piece solution. Just a slot in each piece, and the resulting joint is very strong and stable.

    This is the first one I made, back in 2009. I decided to use a zero fret and to do without a nut. The construction is self explanatory.

    John ColterAttachment 125380
    Do you have dowel, piece of rod or something in the vertical piece and inserted into the neck or is the vertical piece flush against the neck? Just wondering if it needed more support than the small extensions on the neck the vertical piece is slotted into?

  3. #23
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    I don't wish to hi-jack the thread. Sending a PM.

    John C.

  4. #24
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    Aug 2018
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    Hi David. How did this uke turn out? I did see a single B&W image of the completed uke in your gallery. I also saw a gorgeous cigar box style instrument with a similar vertical head. You have a lot of drool-worthy instruments in your gallery. I've been giving a lot of thought to a homemade cigar box style uke using wood I have on hand, but the box joints have me a bit hesitant. I've never done those.

  5. #25
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    Tony Turley said, "box joints have me a bit hesitant"

    You don't have to make box corners with interlocking castellations. It is a very elegant and strong method, but there are other solutions. When working with thin plates, a simple butt joint with internal support works very well.

    This box I made from 1/16" mahogany. The two shorter sides overlap the longer ones and the joints have internal "posts" of quarter round molding strip bought from the hardware store. The uke is now nine years old and remains all square and solid.

    John Colter

    ps. Mine is soprano scale
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by ukantor; 03-25-2020 at 03:11 AM. Reason: additional information

  6. #26
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    Thanks for the information and image, John.

  7. #27
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    Nov 2017
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    In the B&W photo you are referring to, will notice there is no bridge. It is ready for finish, but I am running low on TruOil and need to save it for a couple of custom ukes that I am working on. I don't want to go to Wal-Mart for more Oil until this covid-19 settles down.
    There are a couple of tricks to making a finger joint.
    First, you don't want the sides to be too thin. They need to be at least an 1/8" thick.
    Second, Keep in mind that on the top edge of each side piece there is a notch on the left, and a finger on the right. If you screw this up...there is no saving that side piece!
    Third, put all 4 sides in a vise and carefully lay out the fingers. 3/16" to 1/4" work pretty well. Shade the notches with a pencil. It is easy to get confused and make a cut on the wrong side of the lay-out line.
    Fourth, you MUSTmake your cuts on the waste side of the layout lines (the shaded notches). The fingers have to be preserved and uniform in width.
    Fifth, use a back stop behind your bandsaw blade because you need all the slots to be an even depth. Make the depth a little deeper than the thickness of the sides. Clean out the notches by making thin cuts between the lines with your bandsaw. Once the sides are glued together, you simply round off the overlapping fingers.
    Lastly, it is pretty easy to adjust the fingers to the notches with a utility knife, making ultra fine slices to get a good fit.
    The joints are pretty forgiving. You may have to wedge in a filler slice here or there, but they sand out and become invisible.

    DSCF0049.jpgDSCF0042.jpgDSCF0044.jpgDSCF0046.jpgDSCF0166.jpg
    Last edited by Tukanu; 03-25-2020 at 05:36 AM.

  8. #28
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    Thanks for the quick response and detailed explanation with pics, David.

    Tony

  9. #29
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    Give it a go Tony. Practice on a small piece and you will be surprised with the result.
    One last piece of advice: round the back lengthwise....It greatly enhances the projection. I call it a shovel back. If it doesn't work as a uke, you can always use it to shovel snow.
    Let me know how it goes. David

    DSCF0079.jpg
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenscoe View Post
    I see from your website that you are a pro and produce some beautiful instruments!

    This is an interesting looking 'cigar box ' uke. I'm thinking you must have a router jig to make those corner joints rather than simple butt joints?


    It's good to see something different.
    When I asked you the above question, I was thinking about making drawers and cutting the necessary dovetail joints by hand as a teenager 50 yrs ago. It was so easy to make a mess and have to start again. I don't think I would have the patience to do either dovetails or finger joints now. So I applaud this effort.

    Like John Colter (Ukantor) my recent box instruments have mainly used butt joints with internal corner supports.

    I have been waiting to see the finished instrument. It looks great.

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