More Less Paul uke pics.

Well, I’m almost done with the Les Paul uke (hereafter called Less Paul).

Making the neck.  First the pieces for the neck shaft and headstock are cut at a 17 degree angle on the bandsaw:

Then the two pieces are clamped to the workbench and flattened with a plane:

Then glued together:

Another thickness of mahogany is glued to the other end and will become the heel and tenon:

Now the body had to be sanded smooth.  First I remove the gouge marks with 60 grit paper on the ROS (random orbital sander).

Then the top is sprayed with black primer:

Then the paint is sanded off with 120 grit.  The paint is used because it helps you see the low spots, as well as deep scratches from the previous grit, like so:

Once that’s done, it’s time to cut the F-hole.   Fun fun.

First, as much material as possible is removed with drill bits.

Then I used a variety of chisels, gouges, and files to remove the rest:

Now the recess for the control cavity cover is routed, again using a template:

and the cover itself is made:

I didn’t get many pictures of making the neck, so here it is mostly done:

Here it’s glued to the body:

Now on to the pore filling

The pore filler I used is a type of epoxy.  The way it works is you spread the stuff over the surface, let it set up, then sand it level.  At least, that’s how I did it this time.  Next time I’ll alter my strategy some…

I didn’t get many intermediate pictures of the burst spraying so here’s what I did.  First I sprayed a coat of lacquer tinted lemon yellow.  Then around the edge I sprayed a coat of black.  Then I used tabacco brown to blend the other two together.  Here it is after spraying the brown:

Then I sprayed a thick coat of clear to melt it all together:

Not bad for a first attempt, eh?  I was hoping for more grain visible in the middle, so next time I’ll use my airbrush instead of my big spray gun…

I did all that yesterday.  This morning I shot a couple coats of brown on the back, sides, heel, and headstock, leaving some of the neck clear:

Next I’ll spray about 15 coats of clear over the whole thing, then let the finish cure for a week or so.


It’s been awhile…

…since I posted anything, so I should have a lot to say, right?  LOL  Well, I don’t have a lot to say, but I have been busy, so I have some photos and a little text to share.

Lately I’ve mostly been working on a Les Paul electric guitar, and knives. A few days ago I also started working on a Les Paul inspired ukulele, which is mostly what this post will be about.  I’ll talk about the guitar some other time.

In my last post, I showed a solid body uke I had made.  It was kind of a prototype.  In this next one, I’ll be fixing all the mistakes and design flaws.  Some of which are:

The first one was too heavy.

The output jack is right on the end of the body, so the cable pokes you in the leg when you’re playing it.

The carve on the first one wasn’t very symmetrical.

The neck angle wasn’t right, so the action was too low, resulting in an extra high saddle.


So, without further ado, here are some pics of the build process.

Obviously, there’s some steps missing, but what we have in this picture is the mahogany section of the body.  It’s been hollowed out, both to reduce weight, and so that it can be played acoustically, once I add a soundhole.


I intend this uke to use nylon strings, which of course wouldn’t work with the usual magnetic pickups.  So I’m using transducer pickups.  I’ll have to make a post about them sometime.  For now, I’ll just show how they’re installed.

I’m using two, one at the end of the neck, the other under the bridge.  This is the bridge pickup:


Here both pickups are glued in, and their wires have been threaded into the control cavity.  I’ve stuck some pieces of foam in the wire channels to prevent any buzzes from loose wires.


Gluing the maple top to the mahogany bottom:


After the glue dries, it’s time to carve the top.  Most of the material is removed with a router, with templates to guide it.

Here’s the first pass with the first template:

I use two templates, one bigger than the other, for the first “level”, because it’s the widest, and the router bit tends to put divots all over the place if I only use the smaller template.

Here’s the smaller template:


Now the rest of the templates are used, from biggest to smallest, making the cuts 1/16″ shallower with each one:


Now it’s time to rout the neck angle plane.  For the other uke, I used an angle of about 4 degrees.  This time I used 3.5, which looks about right.




Now the mortise is made.  First I hog out the material with a Forstner bit on the drill press, then use the router with a top bearing flush cutting bit and a template to remove the rest.  The template is held in place with double sticky tape.



Then I used a gouge to remove the ledges made by the router:


Tomorrow I’ll sand the gouge marks off, and start the neck.

In other news, here are some knives I’ve finished lately:





Until next time,