I like to cap the heel with a wood that matches the fingerboard, but in this case Stephen wanted some Koa on his instrument so I decided to match the koa on the end piece with this Koa end cap.
Preceding the end cap will be three pieces of thin veneer sandwiched to make a black/white/black detail under the thicker Koa Cap. Lets see how it goes.
and here is the final result after a little whittling and scraping. when this is all shaped and sanded it is going to look very nice.
They are all glued on now. The clamps are needed to keep the bindings tight in the groove at the neck joint. They work just fine and when the glue set and the tape came off I had good tight joints everywhere.
Now with tiny plane and scraper the binding is shaved down a bit so that it is perfectly smooth where the binding meets the body.
At the end of the day I often bring the ukes up for a close inspection as I relax in the living room. Here they are with bindings. The fretboards are just sitting on them for effect. The flowers, a gift from a friend to my wife. sorry about the knee.
The next day I had time to work on the end pieces. I take the black/white/black purfling from some spare binding material and fit it into the slot i cut the other day.
It gets glued in with superglue and the accelerator really comes in handy at this juncture. Next I select a matching piece of scrap wood to shape.
Stephen wanted some Koa on his ukulele for sentimental reasons, so I selected this nice piece of Koa for the end piece. And after a bit of fitting, slipped it in, glued and taped it down
And here it is, after a little rasp and sanding, nicely filling the gap. The Koa will really pop when the French polish is applied.
It takes a little more preparation before we can install the bindings. Knife, saw and chisel do the job.
Now it is time to heat up the hot pipe and bend each binding to the curves of the instrument
Once the four bindings for each uke are bent it is time to add glue and tape them on
This tough but rather gaudy tape does a nice job of holding the glued binding tight in its groove.
This is the best opportunity to sand the instrument smooth. The finish sander with 220 paper does a good job. Final sanding will be done by hand later in the build.
Then it is time to cut the slots for the binding to fit into. This is done with a downward spiral bitt in the router and a careful setting of the roller guide.
All Done, top and bottom
But we still have to cut the recess for the end piece. That requires adding this guide to the router. it will ride the clamp on jig and cut the diagonal shape I desire.
And here it is, ready to fill with a pretty piece of wood, but now what sort of binding would look best??
This ??? or this???
Thats a decision for tomorrow
Before putting on the backs the body must be leveled by sanding on this big chunk of sand paper.
once everything is level it is time to fit the back. First I clamp it in position in order to mark the cross brace locations.
And here they are, all boxed up and the edges trimmed. the fingerboards awaiting their frets and the bodies awaiting their bindings.
when Stuart Fuchs asked me to build that uke for him a year or so ago he asked me to inlay a YinYang symbol in the first fret. Now it seems to be a constant request as I get build orders. I kind of like it myself, adds a bit of intrigue to the instrument. Here I am marking the dot locations on a PauFerro fingerboard for #145.note the YinYang requested by the buyer.
After marking the dot positions with the awl I get out the old fashioned hand drill to carefully drill the right depth hole for the Paua Abalone markers. An electric drill is too hard to control.
A hole drilled just the right depth, a bit of glue, and the dots are installed. I love the abalone markers but they are getting hard to find.
Now it is time to sand the radius into the fretboard. I start out with a sanding block with 80 grit because I need to remove quite a bit of wood. Then finish it up with 220, 320 and finer.
this handy little gadget tells me when the radius is completed .
It also tells me that each fret slot is deep enough to properly seat a fret. If too shallow I would have to make a correcting cut with a fine saw. a simple but ingenious little tool.
First thing this morning I shipped the Cocobolo off to its new owner in Ventura CA. Note the nice tweed hard case that I ship all my ukes in. UPS does a nice job delivering them.
Before you can attach the lower tentalones you must trim the sides to their proper shape. That is done with these little planes.
That done the tentalones can now be glued on.
And after the glue is dried they are ready for the next step, Putting in the Side Sound Ports.
And now 144 and 145 are ready to receive their backs, To be "boxed up"
Now the sides are firmly attached with tentalones to the bottom of the soundboard. It is time to glue tentalones on the bottom side of the instrument that we will attach the back to. But first the dimensions of the side must be carefully determined and established.
After careful measuring a flexible plastic ruler is clamped to the sides and a pencil line is drawn.
'Then this tiny plane is used to trim the side down to the pencil line.
Once that is done I will glue tentalones all around the edge so that there will be a good surface to glue the back to. That will happen tomorrow.
I have a couple of tenor ukuleles that are needing tentalones to tie them together. This is all I had available. It was time to make some more.
This afternoon I got at it. My little homemade tool runs in the table groove of the band saw. The rubber bands power a boxwood index pin that stops the stock at the last cut. then I push the tool and make another cut. A fun and effective device that has made hundreds of strips of tentalones.
Now with plenty of tentalones it is time to complete adding the sides to #145. The sides are trimmed to fit and tried carefully to be sure. 'then glue is applied to the under edge and to the butt block.
Then it is all clamped into the proper position. At this point the only glue is on the thin edge of the side and at the butt block.
Now it is important to glue on as much tentalone as possible to be sure the sides are securely attached. This will secure the sides, I will finish the tentalones later when I can get the clamps out of the way.
Ah! now I can get the rest of the tentalones installed and get on to other projects.
Like gluing on the bridges and stringing up the two concert Pinecones # 140 and 141. Got that done. they both sound great.
Not much time for the workshop today, but I go the mahogany sides on #145. A nice fit, this was a good one.
Now it is time for the tentalones. This is all i have ready. Looks like tomorrow I will be making more of them.