Ukulele number 4

Just put the finishing touches on this one today.  In case it’s not obvious, it’s a solid body electric (baritone). ;)

The back and neck are mahogany, the top is curly maple. The bridge, fingerboard, and other trimmings are all purpleheart.

I got the maple and hog from Menards. bliss

The scale length is 19-3/4″. Neck joins the body at the 13th fret.

I’m using a piezo disc type pickup. Right now there’s no internal pre-amp, but I’m going to to see if there’s room in the cavity to add one.

The top was carved entirely by hand, except for the fretboard plane, which was done with a router. [headinwall]

The body was finished with satin nitro lacquer, and the neck with Tru-oil.

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Here’s a few pics showing the innards:

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It sounds pretty good. I tried it with steel strings first, but didn’t care for it. Now it has nylon strings, and sounds much better.

I’ll be doing a few things different on the next one, like moving the jack location about 90 degrees from where it is now…
Also, the neck angle is a little too steep; the saddle is a few mm taller than I’d like.

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Latest knife

The steel for this knife was left over from another project.  There wasn’t enough to pattern it, so I left it random…  The layer count was kind of low, hence the coarse pattern.

 

Steel: 1084/15n20 random damascus, about 200 layers.

Hardness: 58-59 RC

Blade length: 9″

Total length: 14-3/8″

Blade thickness: about 7/32″ at guard

Handle material: black canvas micarta

Challenge build, Part 4

Here’s the outside of the top all scraped smooth:

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I made this contraption for drilling out the back. I think it was set at about 5/32″.

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Drilled:

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Starting to remove the excess:

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Just some dimples left. Next thing is to buy or make a thickness gauge.

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I’d been putting off buying a thickness caliper, because they are so expensive. The other day I noticed that Menards sells dial gauges for $30, so I decided to make my own.

I used a deep C-clamp for the frame. Just take the screw out, and drill it to fit the gauge. Then drill another hole on the bottom for a post. I just used super glue to hold the pieces together. Some pics:

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So I saved about $90. bliss

Here I’ve switched to a flatter gouge and removed almost all the way to the bottom of the dimples. I’ll use scrapers for the rest
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Challenge build part 3

Carving the top.
Marking the initial edge thickness:

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My gouges.

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Carving the edges down to thickness:

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Here I’ve finished with the gouges, and started using scrapers. Worked up a pretty good sweat…

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I’m using bookmatched black walnut for the headstock veneer,  then some fairly thick layers of black and white fiber.

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Today I cut heel to length, angling the cuts. I guess I forgot to mention that this will be a bolt on neck.

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$150 challenge uke, part 2

I’m making a laminated neck for this instrument. The catalpa I got is mostly flatsawn, so I’m gluing two pieces together, flipping them, to get a more or less quartersawn piece. Two pieces of catalpa wasn’t quite wide enough, so I stuck a piece of black walnut in the middle:

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Enough clamps, do you think?

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I also processed the fingerboard. It’s osage orange. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to leave it this color or not.
This piece was straight grained enough that I was able to thickness it with my planer.

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And here is the cedar top, joined and sawn to shape:

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Gluing the headstock on:

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Cutting it to final thickness:

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Tapering the neck. It’s 3/4″ at the thick end, and 5/8″ at the nut end.

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Gluing the stacked heel:

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What’s new here.

Not much, actually.  I guess I’ve just been busy doing normal, hum drum stuff, so I haven’t been inspired to post anything.  I have about a dozen knives, two ukuleles, two psalteries, and one guitar in progress.  Plus a violin.  All that’s keeping me pretty much out of trouble.

One thing I’d like to mention though, is a project that’s going on at the luthiers forum I’m a member of.  It called the “$150 Challenge”.  The rules are to make any instrument you want, using materials that are as local to you as possible, keeping the total cost under $150.  And it has to be done by the end of May.  Also, each participant has to post a thread documenting their process.

Piece of cake.

I decided to make an archtop steel string ukulele.  I went to my local sawyer and got some eastern red cedar for the top, catalpa for the neck, and walnut for the back.  I got some pine, but ended up not using it for this.  I’ll use it for some ukuleles.  The walnut for the sides were given to me by another luthier who lives not far away.  I’m using osage orange for the fingerboard and binding.

So, everything grew within 20 miles of my house.

I started this back in January, so I have lot’s of posts to copy here.

First installment:
Cedar:
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Pine:
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Catalpa:
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The pieces for the top:
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After planing and jointing:
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Gluing together:
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In other news, I sold a bowed psaltery on Etsy.  Yay!