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Thread: F holes on a uke

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    273

    Default F holes on a uke

    I'm starting construction on a cigar box style DIY uke. I've seriously considered purchasing this box: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Jack-Daniel...8AAOSw4EhaacQR

    I really like its old time vibe and interesting logo, and the size is perfect for my application. However, with extra thick sides and plywood top, I'm certain its acoustics would suffer. Taking stock of what I have on hand, I have some very nice QS Red Oak for the back & sides, and QS Sitka for the top. The wood I have will make a nice baritone cigar box uke.

    I plan to use f holes in the neck end of the body, as shown in the link above. I'll have to make a plywood template to locate and cleanly cut the holes. My main question is about bracing. Converging bars like an archtop guitar, or conventional fan braces? I want the top to be light and responsive, yet still stiff. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    13

    Default

    I started on building cigar boxes, and I built a bunch before I had acquired the tools to make "actual" instruments.

    In my experience the biggest factor affecting the sound wasn't the thickness or material, it was the depth of the box. You can see the examples on that listing are all electric, because its very difficult to get a good sounding acoustic instrument with such a small box.

    The very best boxes you can buy are the really old ones that are made of quartersawn cedar, or spanish cedar; I used to look through every nook and cranny in antique stores for these.

    I never made a ukulele, but I rarely put braces in mine and when I did I didn't notice a difference. I think the bracing depends on 1.top material & thickness, 2. Floating or glued bridge, and 3. Nylon or Steel strings.

    I would check out cbgitty.com, they have a lot of great stuff at pretty good prices. I know they sell templates and hardware, and I think they even sell cigar boxes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Cumbria, NW England
    Posts
    537

    Default

    We see few, if any, instruments with f holes on the forum. Maybe makers build such instruments but don't post images of them.

    As a hobby maker, I've made 5 instruments with f holes none of them acoustically as successful as instruments with a soundhole. All had converging bracing not fans and were probably overbraced. Since each instrument was of a completely different design (ie bowl back, archtop, pineapple etc) I never had an opportunity to refine the bracing and thereby improve the response.

    I think most of us get a feel for fan bracing after making a small number of instruments so are able to adapt this type of bracing to a changed shaped instrument.

    If you decide to go with f holes I would suggest fans are a safer bet. If you go for f holes and converging braces try not to overbrace. Once the box is closed its possible to modify bracing through a soundhole: its not possible to modify bracing through f holes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    273

    Default

    Thanks for the replies. Good point about the acoustics. I'll have to give it further thought.

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