Got the last piece, the heel plate on today, the neck shaped, now begins, lots of sanding, pore filling and French Polish. but it is looking good. You may have it by the end of your tour circuit.
And here is a closeup of your Yin/Yang
Just received this photo of Kunal Khanna playing his Griffin concert Pinecone before the windmills of Greece.
It is not known how much money was dropped into his music case but this handsome native of India surely thrilled the crowds with his play.
Just proof that Griffin ukuleles can be seen wherever you travel.
With the construction of these two ukes. Today the Baritone peg head got finished, Now only the final sanding and the French polishing will begin.
The final shaping got done while holding the Bari in the parrot vise. Notice the rubber padding protecting the wood from the vice's strong grip.
Then I turned to Stu's tenor fitting the end piece and some black and white purfling. Here it is taped tight while the glue set.
And here is the completed result faired in and sanded. A piece of Koa to match the binding.
Tonight I glued on the peg head plate and tomorrow I will do the final shaping of the neck and peg head after making and attaching the heel plate of Ebony. Then the final sanding of both instruments will precede the French Polish. These ukes are nearing completion.
The Yin/Yang inlaid fretboard now has all it's frets and is permanently attached to Stu Fuchs's tenor. I like the look.
The peg head plate with the G on it is not yet installed nor shaped, I just laid it on top for visual effect, but the Yin/Yang is inlaid and in it's permanent place.
If that zero fret looks a little larger to you- you have a good eye. I use a little larger fret so that the string will leave it a hair higher. That avoids fret buzz on the first fret and makes for a better action. I am really pleased with the way the Yin/Yang fits. When finished, there will be a white bone nut, then a thin line of a dark wood before the spalted maple of the peg head plate. Gonna look good.
This ancient taoist symbol of the imbalance of nature combining to create stability and balance came to life today at Bay Engraving in Bellingham, where Kurt did some wonderful work on his laser machine.
You may know that I am building a Kasha tenor for renowned musician Stuart Fuchs. Stu is deep into the world of Zen and personal development thru meditation. He requested the ancient Yin/Yang symbol on his new uke. And here it will be, incised into the first fret space on his new uke.
I asked my friend Kurt at Bay Engraving if he could do the job, and wow! did he do the job. Note the holes in each half and the corresponding little dots, one black ebony, the other, white holly that will go in their alternate colored halves. I will glue this all in tomorrow, sand it to conform with the radius slope of the fretboard and Stu will have a perfect Yin/Yang on his uke. Just google Stuart Fuchs and you will find his Ukulele Zen website and hear some amazing ukulele playing.
Kurt also laser cut some great, accurate inlay grooves for the g that I will set into them, The signature Griffin g
This is the peg head plate that Stu chose for his instrument, A figured piece of spalted big leaf maple. It will pop with beauty when the finish is applied.
And the final pleasure of the day was this marvelous pick made of Agate. Yes the natural stone occasionally found on the beaches of our Salish Sea. One of Kurt's customers slices the agate and then shapes it into these perfect picks, He then brings them into Kurt to have the "circle K" engraved. The circle is just rough enough to make the pick easy to hold. I tried it tonight and loved the warm sound it produced, more natural than a plastic pic. If you would like me to get one of these for you let me know and will contact the maker for price and availability. It is a unique addition to your ukulele world.
A big day of progress. I cut the slots for the bindings and got them fitted and installed. Whew! Always a relief to get to this point, The tough jobs are done.
The grooves for the bindings are shown here. I had just cut the groove for the tail piece. Now it is time to start adding the bindings.
Here we are all ready to go, The binding cut and ready to install, the orange tape stuck to the drawers above waiting to be applied. Lets add the glue and get to it.
The first binding is on, held tightly by that tough tape as the glue dries.
Quickly I taped on the second binding and clamped the ends where the bindings join in a lap joint. i will let it cure til after dinner.
I got the soundboard binding on after dinner, Now it will rest til morning and we will see how it looks.
Is pretty special when you are only 2 1/2 years old. I might have gotten more done in the workshop, but it was much more fun to have a visit from my great grand-daughter and her mom and dad on Sunday afternoon.
Your ukes can wait a bit Stu and Ron.
But then it was back to the workshop for a bit of progress getting the back on Stu Fuchs's tenor.
This morning I rushed to the workshop to take the clamps off and see the results. Looks great, Now to trim the overhangs on both the back and the soundboard.
This is a really messy job with sawdust flying everywhere, so I set up the shop vac in this manner to catch the worst of it. You also must hold the instrument firmly and for that I use this simple device clamped to the work table. Now the router with the trim bit can do its job.
I also run a piece of tape around the instrument for the roller guide on the trim bitt to ride on. This way the trim med edge stands proud just the thickness of the tape.
the idea is to avoid cutting into the side. The tiny overhang is better, sanded off with 180 sandpaper until the joint is perfectly smooth.
So here is the trimmed back. Pretty piece of East Indian Rosewood is it not?
This baritone for Ron is going to be something special. Today I did the final sanding. As soon as I get the peg head plate installed I will begin the French polishing. It is going to be very handsome.
It is the wood that will make it stand out. A Bubinga body bound with curly maple binding, Honduran Rosewood fretboard, and a wonderful soundboard of "bear claw" Sitka Spruce, plus an amazing tiger stripe maple neck. I put a coat of French Polish on top and neck today so they would not get dirty. It hints at what the wood will look like when completely finished.
Look at that choice "bear claw" Spruce.
This neck is going to be spectacular when all finished. If this Bari sounds as good as the last Bubinga/Spruce I built Ron is going to be very happy.
I finally tore myself away from the baritone to put the side sound port in Stu's tenor. Here I have glued a patch of thin ebony veneer on the inside where the port will be installed. The ebony grain runs counter to the grain of the side. I have clamped a caul, the shape of the side, to hold the patch tight as the glue sets.
Now, with a drill bitt in my Dremel, I cut out the rough hole after marking the shape with a pencil.
Here you can see everything, the patch, the hole, the Dremel
Now the oval ring is installed and held in with superglue. After trimming and sanding both inside and out- it looks like this
A little more sanding and that spot of super-glue will disappear. Looking good, got a good fit with the little grinding wheel in the Dremel. No gaps.
I tuned up Stu Fuchs's new fretboard, sanding it and refining the shape of the scoop a bit. It is going to be just fine, and give Stu those high notes way up there where few of us venture.
Got the Paua Abalone dots on at the 5th,7th 10th and 12th frets.
and the Paua side dots on as well, Maybe tomorrow I will get to the side sound port.
Then I took the bow sander to the neck of Ron's bari.to get it feeling slick and nicely rounded.
It is feeling really good. Fast and slick, and I can hardly wait to start putting the finish on this piece of tiger stripe maple. It is going to be lovely.
I had the fretboard for Stu Fuchs new tenor all completed, shaped, thickness, frets attached, ready to go. Then Stu realized it would not allow some of his favorite high notes up there in "No man's land" Simple solution, I will make him a new fret board and use the original for another uke one day soon.
Here is the new fretboard with the slots freshly cut. It is stuck to this jig with double backed tape so I can sand a 12 foot radius into it's surface. Note that this will have a zero fret as does #100 that Stu played and liked so much.
The radius is created simply by sanding with this long sanding block. Time to get to work.
After twenty minutes of sanding you can see the radius. The fret wire must be bent also on a special tool. I ran over to George Thomas's workshop to borrow his fret bender. Great to have luthier friends.
Now to the table saw, and the band saw to cut the fretboard into shape. 1 1/2 inches at the nut, 1 6/8ths at the 14th fret just as Stu ordered.
And here is the old beside the new. I will be doing a little sculpting at the scoop of the new fretboard. Beside it you see the bent fretwork ready to be installed.
getting ready to drill the edge for the Paua Abalone side dots. First the exact location is located and marked with an awl to guide the tiny drill.
Now, with the location scored by the awl, the drill bit, in the finger drill will cut in the right spot, the exact center of this narrow edge of the fretboard. Too much pressure with the awl or the drill can result in a disastrous split in the wood. Not this time, everything went perfectly.