It is such a delight to sit before the fire and inspect two lovely finished instruments. #s 151 and 152 are finished. today I installed the MiSi pickups in each of them, put strap buttons in the necks and did the final tweaks, these babies are done and they both sound and look great. Here is a little pictoral review.
The MiSi pickups installed also provide a nice strap button.
And that calls for the other strap button at the base of the neck. this is the best location for the button, Doesnt interfere with the playing and the uke hangs in balance.
So, now completed it is very pleasant to sit before the fire admiring them and playing a bit. These are both very nice instruments. I will hate to see them sent off to their new homes in Idaho and California.
THATS ALL FOR TONIGHT, GOT A COUPLE MORE ABUILDING IN THE WORKSHOP FOR TOMRROW.
First Stuart Fuchs wanted a Yin/Yang on his first fret. Soon a veterinarian requested a horse head, then I was asked to put a beaver in the space. I was then astonished to get a request for a Dung Beetle , but Cazzie's request for a Dragon was a new challenge. Well we got it done, Kurt at Bay Engraving did his usual wonderful work.
Cazzie, who lives in Spain, is of apparently a native of Wales and this dragon is from the Welsh flag. The red dragon is historically reflects the welsh peoples throwing off the Roman occupation of their land. A google search revealed that the dragon may indeed be a Griffin copied from a Roman battle flag. Who knows, Cazzie will be happy.
I was able to find red dye which successfully dyed the epoxy resin which I then put into Kurt's laser incisions.
With rasp, scraper and sand paper I got the end pieces faired in today and these two ukes are now ready for their fretboards and peg head plates, then the final sanding and the French Polish can begin.
Here are the two builds. The two on the left are in the final stages of French Polish. They will be singing by week end. The two on the right just got their end pieces.
Is the decorative end piece. Its only function is to hide the joint where the two sides meet, a difficult joint to make meet perfectly, so most luthiers cut out the joint and insert a pretty piece of wood. so do I. It starts by routing out a gaping hole and cutting away the black/white/black purfling.
Next, you glue in some black/white/black down the sides of the gap with super glue. The wet stain is the sprayed on glue catalyzer for a quick set. It is not permanent.
Now the challenge is to fit the end piece into the slot. That is done by sanding to fit.
A bit of tape will hold it tightly as the glue dries and tomorrow I will sand and scrape that down to its finished condition. I will show you the result on the next blog.
Once the bindings are bent you must prepare the instrument where the neck joins the body.
slots to accept the ends of the bindings are cut on the top side.
the slot for the end piece must also be cut now. This rig guides the router.
Finally glue is applied to the bindings and they are held in place by lots of tacky tape.
And after a couple of hours the glue has set and the tape can be removed to give you a look and a hint at what the finished instrument will look like.
But first you need to cut the deep slots all around the ukulele, always a nerve wracking project .
The router is carefully set up to make the depth and length of the cut just right and trial runs are made on a scrap of wood. The uke is held firmly in the clamping device, slowly and carefully the cut is made.
Here is the router attachment which controls the cut,
This is another messy job, throwing sawdust all over, but the cuts on both ukuleles went perfectly. The next job is setting up the hot pipe and bending the bindings.
Two ukuleles require eight separate pieces bent to shape. They are all ready to install.
Just a few more applications of French Polish and these two ukes will be ready for their bridges, their tuners and their strings.
After carefully measuring to be sure all is even and a bit of sanding on the big sanding disc to make sure they would fit properly glue was applied and the backs clamped on.
After a few hours the clamps are removed and now the edges must be trimmed. time to put the router in play.
backs are purposely made too large, now that overhang must be cut back to be even with the sides.
the Soundboards must also be trimmed, Note the blue tape. The guide of the trim bitt will roll on the tape causing the bitt to not quite hit the sides. The trim is completed by hand sanding off the tiny overhang, just the width of the tape
This is kind of a messy job throwing sawdust all over the place. Clean up takes as long as the trimming.
But the finished result is worth the mess. This wild piece of East Indian is going to live with Cazzie in Spain.
Yesterday I glued and clamped the patches behind the side sound ports. Here is what a patch looks like.
Then it was time to cut the hole. That is done with a drill bit in the Dremel, simply making a series of holes around the drawn oval. Then the hole is perfected using a disc sander in the Dremel. You go very slow wanting to get a perfect fit.
After many fittings, the ring finally slips tightly into the hole.
where it is glued in with superglue injected from the inside.
And after a little whittling and sanding we have a nice looking and effective sound port.
And so now we have two generations, two about finished for Ree and Stephen and two that will be boxed tomorrow for Cazzie and Michael.
Days like this it is nice to hide in the workshop
The first task was to glue on the rest of the tentalones.
that done, the next task will be to install the side sound ports.
Before that can be done I like to place a patch inside the uke to prevent any possible splitting of the side from the sound port oval.
Here is the veneer patch and the cauls and clamps holding the patch against the side as the glue sets.