This blog just shows some of the recent everyday activity in the workshop starting with getting the bridges glued to the two concerts recently finished.
First you must very carefully determine the location of the bridge. I use this pre cut jig which extends from the center of the zero fret to the front edge of the saddle thus establishing the 15 inch concert scale. i.e. length of the strings.
When confident that you have it properly placed then the bridge is surrounded in tape to hold it in place when the glue is applied and the clamp is tightened.
The tape also outlines the area to be scraped clean of the French Polish so that the glue can adhere, wood to wood.
Then the glue is brushed on and clamped with my Rube Goldberg clamping device.
Now I need to cut some sound hole patches for the two tenors I am building. Might as well make a bunch of them while I am at it, it will make future jobs go faster.
Got the patches on as well as veneer patches up the center seam so it is time to glue the necks to the sound boards.
I was running low on tentalones so I set up my bandsaw jig and cut enough for three or four more ukes. this are made of basswood.
Then it was time to make and attach the butt blocks. Here they are clamped as the glue sets
Then, got the hot pipe heated up and got a very nice bend on Ree's East Indian Rosewood sides. I will let the wood dry for a couple of days before taking them out of the mold and attaching them.
It was a delightful afternoon. Samantha and her parents, our good next-door neighbors, came down to receive Sammie's birthday present, her new Concert ukulele. It was so much fun to see her pleasure and listen to her play the pretty instrument for the first time. It was a wonderful moment as a luthier and a friend.
She has a MiSi pickup in her concert, and here she is listening to it for the first time and playing with a thumb pick for the first time as well. She went home a happy girl.
Strangely it seems that after dozens of applications, suddenly the French Polish is done. One last application and the shine magnifies and you just know, it is done. We are at that point with the two concerts. Time to attach the bridges and string them up.
The next built is progressing well. The backs are now finished, the whittling stage of the tone bars is done.
Now the tone bars are being glued to the sound boards.
when looked at carefully one can see why the Kasha bracing develops such volume and sustain. It acts like a large bellows activated by the strings. Simply, more of the top vibrates with the Kasha design.
Work began with the cutting of the shallow groove for the decoration around the sound hole. The top is firmly held under the acrylic guide screwed down to the plywood backing. The router is guided around the oval.
here is the result, a nice clean oval groove
Next is important to paint the grooves with shellac to seal the grain and prevent super glue from staining the wood when the decoration is glued in.
After bending the "Rope" on the hot pipe it is carefully tapped into the slot. The joint will be covered by the fretboard tip when the uke is finished.
Now comes the superglue which flows down, around and under the "Rope" trim.
After cutting an entry hole the sander is used to complete the sound hole.
Here are the basic parts for the two tenors, sanded to 180 grit on exterior surfaces. Tomorrow they will be turned over and sanded with 120 grit to final thickness.
And so it is pleasant to spend the evening before the fire checking over the almost finished Concerts I have been finishing.
Got a lot done today assembling and preparing the various pieces for these two new tenors.
The necks are now rough carved and will be set aside until the soundboards are ready to receive them. It was a busy afternoon in the workshop
Today two new Kasha tenors began their journey. It began with selecting the wood chosen by Stephen in Alameda and Ree in Idaho. This is a look at some of my stash of wood. Always fun to make the individual selections.
Stephen has decided on a tiger stripe Maple body and bear claw Sitka Spruce soundboard. Here were my choices for him. Below, a nice piece of bear claw.
That will make a great soundboard. Now for the back and sides. How about this lovely piece for the back.
Yep, that will be great. and here it is with the sides.
Ree has chosen a uke just like the one I built for Stuart Fuchs, East Indian Rosewood body and Redwood from that NYC water tank. Here is the Redwood top being glued together in book match fashion. The Rosewood back will be glued together tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the concert being built for that girl next door is rapidly beginning to shine as the French polish is applied. She has a birthday in ten days so the pressure is on.
These two instruments are now finished and will be sent off to their owners in the next few days. I call the Pinecone the "Beetle" because of the image of the dung beetle at the first fret.
Both have Sitka Spruce soundboards called "bear claw" spruce, The name comes from the light marks which hint that a bear might have clawed the tree. It is pretty scarce and I find it lovely. It is also reputed to make better tone. These two attest to that.
And here are the backs. the Bari has a fancy piece of East indian Rosewood. The Pinecone back and sides are tiger stripe Big Leaf Maple, a great and beautiful instrument wood. Each uke has a MiSi pickup installed.
I was unable to tear myself from the television Wednesday watching the tragic events in our capital. No ukulele work was done. Finally, today I got a couple of hours in, and finished Mo's baritone and got the nuts and peg head plates on the concerts. It calmed my troubled soul to hear the rich tones of the baritone as I watched the news again tonight. Hopefully tomorrow and the days that follow will make us all feel better.
The Partridge and his friends are back in the box til next year. Now it is back to work.
Lloyd's tenor is in its case and on its way to Tucson.
Now its time to make some nuts. This one is marked off and cut for length.
It's time to place the bridge on Mo's baritone. This must be exact.
And soon we will hear the baritone's voice.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Cindy from Arkansas has ordered a tenor with a Western Red Cedar soundboard and she specified cedar with stripes if possible. Well I have some marvelous cedar and some of it has stripes. Here are her choices. Which would you advise her to choose?
Another choice is just a clear piece of this fine grained cedar with no stripes at all. This is wood that I have had for fifty years, I split many seven foot long, two inch thick planks from a 40 foot log of perfectly straight grain. The best old growth cedar I have ever known. I still have a couple of the planks, priceless.