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Thread: Gluing top on

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Arlington, WA U.S.A.
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    Default Gluing top on

    I think I've got the braces where they need to be at this point. Given that I have built the David Hurd deflection jig and plan on trying that out this time, my question is what if I want to change the size of the braces or sand the top? I can see sanding the top with it glued onto the sides, but what about further shaping of the braces? And how does one know which is necessary?

    I thought it was done with all the ignorant questions, but, in point of fact, I am still ignorant. 😀😀
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    Last edited by ChuckBarnett; 03-02-2020 at 07:26 AM. Reason: add photo
    "Why is it that you never have time to do it right the first time, but you always have time to do it right the second time??"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    Default

    I wouldn't get too fixated on this deflection thing. From the look of your picture it doesn't look overbraced and about right to my eye. Just close the box, stick on a neck, string it up and play. It will sound great. It will sound like an ukulele!

  3. #3
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    Mar 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    I wouldn't get too fixated on this deflection thing. From the look of your picture it doesn't look overbraced and about right to my eye. Just close the box, stick on a neck, string it up and play. It will sound great. It will sound like an ukulele!
    Thanks for the affirmation about bracing size and all!

    I guess I am in the learning mode, experimenting as opposed to fixated. There are folks who build like yourself whose opinions I value and you all have settled into what works for what you want. On my first instrument I didn't do a kit. I resawed my wood, bent my sides, made my bindings and kerfing, rosette. I added things including a back stripe, binding, laminated neck, fretboard binding, peghead veneer, sound port, end wedge --most of those by way of discovery. How is this stuff done? Why should I do this or that.

    Somehow you all find a way to make your ukuleles not only look appealing but actually sound decent if not great. I very much want to do the same. And there are people whom I've met on this forum who do the deflection method and have success at it. Somehow there is a way to get more and better tone from these amazing little instruments and I am trying to figure that out. What happens if the braces are too thick, too tall. How thick should the top be for this wood or that. And so on.

    So, forgive the many questions but I'm not done learning and I have little interest in spending as much time as one of these takes only to find that I don't at all like the end result.

    There's my rant for the week...
    "Why is it that you never have time to do it right the first time, but you always have time to do it right the second time??"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    I'd suggest taking off the top and regluing it - looks like you'll have issues with neck alignment.

    One of the impossible things to do is evaluate bracing, without knowing how the top is acting. If your top is thick, the bracing may need shaving, or it may not. . .

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kekani View Post
    I'd suggest taking off the top and regluing it - looks like you'll have issues with neck alignment.

    One of the impossible things to do is evaluate bracing, without knowing how the top is acting. If your top is thick, the bracing may need shaving, or it may not. . .
    Thanks for the good eye, Kekani. The sides are simply resting on the top, not yet glued. Best I can tell that top brace may in fact be a little skewed. But I think I can line things up okay.

    Re: thinning braces, etc., You who do that must do it with the top glued on?
    "Why is it that you never have time to do it right the first time, but you always have time to do it right the second time??"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Kekaha, Kauai
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    Hey Chuck, I very much appreciate your efforts to learn as much as you can, so I will share what it has taken me 38 years and 420 or so instruments to learn. You get good at building ukulele by building lots and lots of ukulele. You will make many mistakes along the way, the secret is to not repeat those mistakes. You have to figure out what your learning style is. If taking deflection measurements appeals to you, go for it. After a few dozen instruments, those measurements may be meaningful to you. Tap tuning is another way to record information on individual instruments. The idea is if you keep careful records of various data, and you build an exceptional instrument, that data may make it easier to recreate that instrument. One more thing, you live in Western Washington, join the GAL, buy a couple of their Red Books and next time they have a convention in Tacoma, go, you will be blown away by the experience.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Big Island, Hawaii
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    Chuck, bracing and top thickness always have to be considered together. Being as you donít have much experience to fall back on, you have to start somewhere and it looks like your bracing may be close to what you need, depending upon how stiff the soundboard is. Given my years of experience, I take my best guess at both the bracing and soundboard thickness then do the final top tuning, checking top deflection with with my thumbs or using the deflection jig, by carefully sanding the lower bout until it moves the way I want it to. This is done before and after the installation of bindings, if any, slowly working up to where I want it to finally be. I always start with a top a little thicker than it needs to be knowing that Iíll be sanding it along the way and checking it frequently.

    When considering bracing and top thickness together, I like to err on the side of having the top a little heavier and the braces thinner than the other way around. I do not like extremely or dangerously thin tops. They may be loud but they lack the color and dimension of tone that a slightly heavier top and thinner braces will give you. The goal is to find the perfect balance between the two elements. Only experience, not tools nor jigs, can guide you here.

    But remember, youíre stuck with flying mostly blind at the beginning, relying on what youíve learned from other peopleís experience. The deflection jig is only a way of recording and being able to repeat past experiences. I find as I grow older that I can not depend on my tactile senses as much as I used to but the numbers from the jig never lie.
    Last edited by Moore Bettah Ukuleles; 03-03-2020 at 06:47 AM.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

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