Gluing on 24 little tone bars is quite a project. Takes a little time.
And you want to clean up the glue squeeze out that is inevitable when the clamps are tightened. I use a plastic straw that I have sliced at an angle leaving a sharp "pen point". picks up that glue perfectly.
Here it is from either end. I have run out of clamps. Will have to finish this in a couple of hours after the glue has set up.
So I took that time to shape and sand the back braces and get them glued up in the Go Bar.
The workshop day began with French Polish applications for four ukes, two pinecones and #142 & 143, Then it was time to make tone bars for Paul and Stephen's tenors #s 144 and 145.
The acrylic pattern is placed over the soundboard and the locations of the tone bars are marked with a pencil through the holes drilled at each tone bar end through the pattern.
Pencil lines are drawn connecting the dots, now I can properly place the tone bars.
Fine grained Sitka Spruce was planed to the proper thickness and then run through the small band saw to achieve the 3/16th and 1/4 inch height of the various tone bars.
They were then cut to the proper length for each tone bar. Here are 24 tone bar blanks set in their proper location to show you. 12 each for #s 144 & 145.
But while I was at it I cut far more stock than needed in anticipation of lots of Kasha ukes to be built in the future.
And then the whittling began and after a couple of hours I had most of the tone bars shaped and sanded. The trumpet shaped braces are glued to the underside of the soundboard
By days end they are all done and ready to be glued. That will happen tomorrow.
The soundboards are done, the sound holes cut. they are ready for the necks to be attached, so necks are todays project.
Here is the carbon fiber rod about to be epoxied into the neck to insure that it will never bend. This is probably not necessary in a ukulele with low string tension and stable Honduran Mahogany wood, but it adds to the quality of the instrument.
I am plotting out the location and angle of the cut I will make to accept the bent sides.
The cut is made with the bandsaw carefully set at 90 degrees.
I always like to check the size of the cut with a bent scrap to be sure the sides will fit easily into the slots at assembly time.
Getting those rods installed with epoxy is always a sloppy mess, but it sure strengthens those necks.
In the meantime these two beauties are getting additional applications of French polish each day and now beginning to shine a bit
AND THEN THE NEXT DAY A NEW BUILD WAS BEGUN.
First the two Concert Pinecones hanging in the workshop as the latest application of French Polish hardens. They are almost ready to get their strings and go to their new homes.
Next are the two identical tenors that have just begun the French Polish
And Finally, todays beginning, the two new tenors.
And so at the end of the day, out on the porch on this warm evening, I sat and played my ukulele into the night as the sun went down.
I got the peg head plates on yesterday and have them pretty well trimmed in. there will be some sanding and touch up work, but they are looking good.
'also got the holes drilled for the tuners, Always a job to do carefully.
And the heel plates are now attached and the final shaping of the neck can proceed. So these tenors are movin along. Lots of sanding ahead.
I have installed the MiSi Simple Jack Uke pickups for years with great results. Now I am about to try their latest invention, a pickup with both the under-saddle piezo pickup and also a tiny new microphone, so small to be almost unseeable.
The Treo Air comes with a double wheel volume control, one wheel for the under saddle piezo pickup and the other for the tiny microphone. The control wheels are accessible from the sound hole.
Here is a close up. Can you find the microphone? The round blue edged things are not batteries but capacitors. They store electricity and slowly send it out to power the pickup.
Here is the answer. The microphone is seen inside the red circle. it is reputed to be powerful enough to pickup the remarks of your audience if turned all the way up. Maybe you would rather not broadcast that.
Heres a comparative photo of the new Treo Air and the veteran Simple Jack Uke. A difference in length, more wires to stuff into a ukulele, and a small difference in weight. My scale shows the Treo Air weighing 34.26 grams and the Simple Jack 28.20 grams. It will be some weeks before I will be installing the Treo Air but when I do I will report my opinion.
Now we are at the stage in this build when the choice of the Peghead Plate must be made. My signature peg head plate is made from spalted maple and the choices are myriad. What would your choice be?
I have set out eighteen plates, all of them lovely. Now it is up to Lloyd and Joe to choose their plate. First come first served, so don't delay guys.
Lloyd and Joe, you have only until tomorrow about noon to make your choice. The lower left plate is number 1 and the one above it is number 7, the one above that 13. the numbers progress to the right. let me know which you choose, each one different, each one beautiful. Have fun!!
Kind of sorry to see it go, it is a good one, and my favorite for many months, but fell in love with another. It's new home will be Panama City Florida.
It not only sounds great and plays beautifully but the Sycamore body is quite lovely.
So its goodbye to #124 and lets get to work on the fretboards for #'s 142 and 143. Got the frets put in today.
The basic tools, The fretting hammer, nippers, the arbor press, a little glue and a damp rag.
Fretting is not the most exciting job in a build, but it must be done. The two missing frets will be installed after the fretboard is glued to the neck. Brads will be driven through those holes to secure the fretboards position while being glued.
Is there a part of the ukulele more important to the player than the fretboard???
Here are the two fretboards for Lloyd and Joe's ukes. I have sawn them to the desired shape, sawn the slots for the frets and marked with an awl where I intend to drill the holes for the marker dots.
But wait, they are not the same. Joe's fretboard, seen on top, is exactly 1 1/2 inch wide at the zero fret, my standard. Floyd wanted his to be 40.5 mm. at the zero fret. You can see the difference. floyd likes his fretboard wide at the nut.
I am drilling the marker dot holes with a hand drill. They must not be too deep and I have much better control with the old fashioned hand drill. They will soon be filled with 3/32nd dia. Paua abalone dots.
Paua Abalone fascinates me. Looks like my supply is running low.
Once the glue holding the dots is dry it is time to sand in the radius. Here it is in progress.
I start it out with 80 grit sandpaper, then finish with 220 and 360. This one has a long way to go yet to achieve the rather shallow 12 foot radius.
It is always fun to come up with new ideas- here are a couple of recent ones.
This Pinecone concert will be going to a Canadian who has a special interest in the Beaver. My friend Kurt at Bellingham's Bay Engraving did his usual good job with his laser. I think it is a fun touch. Thanks Kurt.
I also am pleased to show you the new label that my talented grand son Evan Christie designed for the Pinecone ukuleles that I produce.
And here is look a at Lloyd and Joe's new tenors, now complete with their bindings. Both of these tenors are going to be very pretty. The tiger stripe maple will really jump out when they are finished with the French Polish.
These backs will be spectacular.