Enjoying the great international city of Vancouver while attending the Ukulele Festival. What an amazing city it has become. Surely world class.
Held at the Croatian Cultural Center, it attracted 550 people to the Friday opening concert.
Each of the headlining tutors played a couple of numbers. Among them were Del Ray, Casey <MacGill, Daniel Ward. Daniel Ho, Neal Chin, and my friend Stu Fuchs. Here is Stu doing his gig.
I was thrilled to see that he was playing the tenor ukulele that I had made for him last fall. Griffin # 111.
I took four workshop classes today , including this one from Stu. He is an excellent teacher.
Delighted to introduce a new owner of a Griffin Kasha, Marta, who bought my #113, a really nice East Indian Rosewood and Redwood tenor. Here she poses with Stu and myself, each of them holding their Griffin Kasha tenors.
Beth, and Torsten, it will not be much longer. They are almost at that point of rich luster that signals, they are done, It is time to string them up. Not that a moment you can calculate, it just comes. Not there quite yet, but your ukes are looking very nice.
A huge box appeared at my front door today. It looked large enough for a guitar, and "Breedlove" was printed on the outside. I thought I had received a Breedlove guitar by mistake instead of the tenor hard case I was expecting.
Upon opening it, I was relieved to find a beautiful Kala tenor ukulele case that Torsten had purchased and had delivered to me. It was extremely well packed, and when the uke is finished it will ride this great box all the way to Denmark.
'this is a lovely fabric covered hard case, three latches, key, and a very luxurious interior.
'A regal interior, padded velvet fit for a King.
And Torsten will be relieved to know that his new tenor fits into the case firmly and perfectly. It will be a soft and cushioned ride across the Atlantic. I am very impressed with the quality of this case. Kala is putting out good products.
It is often difficult to see how well wood has been snnded until you put the finish on it. the lovely maple neck on Torsten's instrument revealed sanding scratches from the coarse sandpaper of the bow sander. Each coating of French Polish seemed to make them stand out more- so today I sanded all the finish off and started again. First 220, then 310, then 410 and finally 500 grit. Now I feel better and that neck will be plenty smooth.
220 grit to take off the finish and remove the scratches.
The first application of French Polish and now scratches can be seen. We are on the road back now.
I always begin a build with the sound board. First you join the wood, then you cut the groove for the rosette, then you cut out the sound hole. Here is how I do it.
With a router, guided by this 1/4 inch thick guide I made, I first cut the rosette groove. Then the soundboard is repositioned and the sound hole is cut. The sound hole is not cut entirely through the wood but when this raw soundboard is sanded the "almost through' cut will be released and the sound hole will fall out.
Here is the raw beginning. The grooves are cut, the rosette groove shallower than the sound hole cut. I will install the rosette and then sand the soundboard down to its final thickness. In the process, the ugly glue line will disappear and by sanding from the back, the sound hole will fall out and reveal itself.
The French Polish is progressing well on #114 & 115 so it must be time to begin a new build. First up is joining the Bearclaw Spruce top for Lee's tenor. This instrument will be going to California.
I use this very old and very large plane to true up the edges to be joined.
Clamped into the bench vise, it is easy to pass the edges over it.
The final mating of the two pieces is done with sandpaper laid flat on the surface of the table saw.
When you can hold the joined edges up to the light and see no light in the joint, it is time for gluing.
And that is done with this homemade contraption. Looks pretty crude but it works just fine.
A remarkable day of progress. Finished the final sanding before lunch and began the French Polish after a bite. First the pore filling. Then the first applications with a munica made from a material other than cotton. It is working remarkably better and these ukes are beginning to glow a bit already.
Curly Koa binding and high grade East Indian Rosewood.
Curly Big Leaf Maple binding and Bubinga
Pretty wood beginning to glow after only two applications. Love this new cloth!
Shows a little lighter in the natural sunlight.
The bear claw begins to pop in the sunlight. The Redwood will darken
And so the weary luthier sits with his martini at the end of the day, admiring his beauties. The setting sun is streaming through the window and all is right with the world.
An incredible performance at last Saturdays BUG jam. Our leader Wes Lewis surprised us all by impersonating the late great British showman George Formby and his classic "leaning on a lamppost". Wes's talent knows no bounds. I hope I can get all 4.5 minutes on this blog. Be sure to watch. Amazing!!!
During our usual intermission Wes left the room to change into George Formby's typical white shirt and bow tie, Asking me to introduce our special guest from Britain, the immortal George Formby, Wes came striding back into the room with his banjo uke and gave us this charming impersonation. What a talent, what a leader for the Bellingham Ukulele Group, and what fun for all. Thanks Wes.
Meanwhile, back at the workshop. These tenors, #14 and #15 are built and ready for the final sanding and then the French Polish. The blonde is going to Denmark, the brunette to the mid-west. Lots of finishing to do yet however. It will be a couple of weeks,
I will have the sanding done in a couple of days, and then when the French polish begins I will start another build or two. Not sure just yet what I will be building. Anyone got any ideas?
Before the neck can be completed, the fretboard must be attached. Here it is, glued and clamped.
The neck is always left wider than the fretboard so now it must be shaved down to fit the fretboard and fit the hand. That begins with a pretty aggressive rasp.
Here we are getting pretty close to the fret board, Time for a finer tool.
This is my old reliable half round rasp. Had it for years and it still cuts well for fine work.
And now that the shape is pretty well established, I turn to the scraper for long fine strokes the length of the neck. This will continue until I get to the shape and feel i want. Then it will be sanded to finish.
Getting close to the finish now, It is time to do the g on Beth's uke.
When the g is installed it stands a little proud above the spalted maple peg head. I first plane it down with this tiny, but sharp plane, and then sand it the rest of the way.
Now it is where I want it. 'when the finish is applied it will jump, as will the tiger stripe and the spalted colors.
And Torsten's is done and sanded to the 220 grit. Time to bring it up into the sunlight to check for flaws and sanding challenges. Nothing better than natural sunlight for this.
Can you see the rough section on this maple binding. Needs more sanding.!
Next sanding grit will be 320. then 500, and the French Polishing can begin,