What I’ve been up to lately

I’m working on a 12 string OM guitar which will hopefully be for sale.  I’m also working on a “jumbo” ukulele, but I don’t have any pictures of that yet.

So, here’s the assembled sides in their mold.  I’m still in love with my go-bar deck and molds.  I don’t know how I got by without them before…

Bracing the back:

Gluing the back to the rim:




The basic idea behind soundboard bracing is to make the top strong enough to withstand the tension of strings (around 175 pounds for six string, almost twice that for a 12 string) but yet flexible enough that it can produce sound when the strings are plucked.

The first braces I glue on the top are the finger braces, and the soundhole braces.  That’s because they are much easier to carve before the other braces are in place.


After rough carving them, I glue on the “tone bars”:


and the upper cross strut:


All the undersides of the braces are sanded to a 28′ radius, and are then glued onto the soundboard sitting in the 28′ radius dish.


Finished pics of the uke…

It’s been finished for several days.   It sounds pretty good.  But if I do make more, I’ll sure do some things different.  Like glue the bridge on before assembling the body.  And I won’t use mahogany for the sides; too tough to bend.

Here it is next to my most recent classical:




Almost the final ukulele pics

Still have to put strings on.  🙂  I’m waiting for the glue holding the bridge on to cure.  I’d hate for it to pop off the first time I string it…

So while I’m waiting, here’s more in-progress pics.


Neck carving:


Now it’s all sanded, the bridge area is masked off, and it’s ready to spray.  I decided not to bother with pore filling and making everything perfect, like guitar people expect.  This one isn’t going to be for sale, and I don’t mind things a bit rougher.  Especially since it means I can be lazy without guilt.  😉





I sprayed one coat, which raised the grain, so I sanded it smooth and shot several more coats and then let it cure overnight.  Looks good to me.  😉




While the finish was hardening, I worked on the bridge.  I used rosewood, and patterned it after a classical guitar bridge.  It’s just smaller.


The string holes have to be drilled.  I made a special, high tech jig for doing that:





This morning I glued the bridge on.   What a pain!  I can’t fit my hand through the soundhole, so positioning the bridge clamping caul was a nightmare.  But I conquered.




I think next time I’ll glue the bridge on before gluing on the back.



I also have the tuners installed, and the nut and saddle all ready to go.





Should have it strung up very soon.


More uke pics

Here’s the top with the braces all carved.  They say that ukes are not little guitars, and you should not build them the same, but I sanded the top too thin towards the end of the lower bout, so I wasn’t comfortable with just using three braces like you’re supposed to.  So I used the typical fan bracing used in classical guitars, but made them really small.  Hopefully it will sound ok.

The neck block.  Because my hand is too big to fit inside the soundhole, I have to use the Spanish heel style of assembly, rather than my preferred method of bolt-ons.

There’s a ledge cut on the top of the block, and the soundboard is glued on there:

Tail block also glued on:

Then the sides are glued on:

Then the rim is sanded to a 15′ radius with my big dish:

Then the kerfing is glued on:

The back is braced, and then the braces carved.  The braces are sanded on the dish, so they have the same radius as the rim.

The fingerboard with most of the frets installed:

Next the kerfing is sanded down flush with the rim, again using the dish.   Then notches are routed out for the brace ends, and glue is applied.

Then the back is installed, and clamped with go bars:

I also made the bridge clamping caul.  It’s a lot easier to this before putting the back on.  Don’t ask me how I know. 🙄

I’m hoping I can use a vacuum clamp to attach the bridge, in which case I won’t need the caul, but better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.  Again, don’t ask me how I know.  😀







New project

I’m building a ukulele.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I always thought ukes were kind of a cheesy instrument.   After all, Adam Sandler plays ukulele, right?  But I saw this video and just had to make one.  😀

So, I’m doing it on the cheap.  I already had a set of ukulele tuners that I bought for another project and ended up not using.  I’m using scraps of rosewood for the headstock veneer.  The fingerboard was one I was going to use for a guitar, but I goofed and made it too narrow.  So I just cut it shorter and it’s perfect for this.  The body and neck are all mahogany from Menards.  The spruce bracing is cut-offs from making guitar braces.  I’ll probably have about $25 in this instrument…

So, some pictures.

The bridge and fretboard:


The soundboard:

BTW, the tops on ukes are scary thin.  This one is .060″ at the thickest.  😮


The neck


The sides, before bending:


The back:


Gluing on some of the braces:


More tomorrow…

New guitar.

Well, it’s (obviously) been awhile since I’ve posted anything.  So, I thought I’d break my blogging silence with my latest guitar.

It’s another classical.  Top is cedar (from a Menards fence post).  Back and sides are curly maple.  Fingerboard, binding, and headstock veneer are all ebony.









I’ll try to record a sound clip soon…