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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:23 pm 
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First name: Peter
Last Name: Fenske
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So here's my first foray into the world of ukulele building! So far I've built 2 and a half guitars and a 3/4 size guitar, and I tried to pack in lots of features like carbon braces and adjustable necks, so now I'm looking forward to making something a lot smaller and simpler.
I'm building with wood that I've acquired over the years. The back and sides will be of cinnamon wood (!) that my granddad brought back from Brazil in the 60's. I've also laminated the neck out of some of it with a strip of beech in the centre. The soundboard will be sycamore that I harvested from a tree that got cut down in my church. I've decided to do a spanish heel for simplicity and lightness. I always draw my own body shapes, and this one is in between a concert and soprano in size, but I'm going for a 15'' concert scale length. Other than that I'm kind of making it up as I go along :)

Some pictures of the wood...
Sycamore top:
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Cinnamon back with some really nice figure!
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Neck blank:
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:29 pm 
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First name: Dennis
Last Name: Kincheloe
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State: MO
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I bet that smells good!

Looking forward to the build. Ukes really aren't any simpler than guitars... just smaller, so each individual task is quicker. And more socially acceptable to be lazy about non-essential features like binding/purfling/rosette :P


Last edited by DennisK on Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:13 pm 
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It certainly does - smells just like cinnamon!
Yeah I guess they have just as many parts, but compared to my previous guitars, it will be a lot simpler. Plus I'm doing the top, back and fingerboard flat so that makes everything easier.
I don't think I'm capable of being lazy when it comes to rosettes though :mrgreen: This will be my most complex one yet!

So I got the plates joined and took the thickness down a bit and have worked out a scheme for things. I'm going to do a cinnamon theme for obvious reasons. So, inspired by this image http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/2011/12/pile-of-cinnamon-sticks.jpg , the rosette will be a pile of cinnamon sticks scattered around the soundhole! There'll be a couple of black rings in there as well to tie everything together a bit. I might put one of those star shaped cinnamon pods in there as well...

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I'm going to have to inlay each piece individually to get the layered effect, and I'm putting ebony powder mixed with CA glue in engraved lines to put in the detail.
The first piece:
The black smudges will get scraped off afterwards

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Something like the end effect hopefully!

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:50 pm 
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I've never seen cinnamon wood. Looks very pretty


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:14 pm 
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I do love wood as an inlay material, for the layering ability. That would take many times longer in shell :) Great idea putting those two circular arcs layered in to give it some depth!

Is there more cinnamon wood where that came from? I'd love to get a stack of scraps to make dentellones, kerfed linings (only a few inches long, since I do them in short strips between side braces), side braces, maybe back braces and tail blocks...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:11 am 
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Image

I do have quite a lot of it, but I'm in the Uk so its probably not worth the postage for you.
I'm afraid I haven't got a clue where you could get any either. I'd never seen it before I found this piece in my grandfather's garage.
It's also called canella btw.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:07 pm 
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Rosette is progressing well :)

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:37 pm 
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Peter,

I love what you are doing with that rosette.

John


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:54 pm 
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Thanks John :)
Well I've got halfway through the rosette and am debating whether to leave it as it is or carry on to make it like the drawing.
Hmmm...
In the meantime, I've decided the bindings and fingerboard will be EIR. I've also done a bit of preliminary shaping of the neck, but the bandsaw currently has a broken blade at work and I haven't got round to replacing it so theres not much progress with that.
I'm doing a double wedged spanish heel btw.

Image

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You can just about make out the headstock shape to be...
Image

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:32 pm 
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I haven't made too much progress on this recently because of work and life getting in the way, but I've been doing bits and pieces here and there...
I nearly have a side bending machine! :) I'm just waiting for the blanket to get here from china. I've gone for a very simplistic type with just a form, waist caul and end clamps (not shown) clamped up with threaded bar. I've got 3 0.5mm aluminium slats for the sandwich too and a simple digital probe thermometer.

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All the parts are cut out, thicknessed and ready to go, the rosettes finished, so once I get the sides bent things should start moving more quickly 8-)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:45 pm 
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Nice!


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 8:30 pm 
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Very nice , I look forward to seeing much more

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 10:36 am 
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Thanks Pat and Jim :)
I'm doing a bit of neck carving while waiting for the heating blanket to arrive... This is the first time I've done a spanish heel - it's great not having to mess around with mortice and tenons and bolts! I'm counting on the low string tension of a uke making a neck reset less likely.
I've glued up a spalted maple headplate for it.

Image

Still needs a bit more work
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 6:12 pm 
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Hooray! I've bent the first side on my new bending machine :) Worked perfectly. I'm very glad I didn't go with an automatic timer and thermostat - that would have been way overkill! Instead I have a nice slightly blingy, quilted maple and walnut manual temperature controller :D
I really didn't realise how hot this thing got! I managed to melt a couple of the plastic spring clamps holding the sandwich together. Thankfully no more accidents...
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 1:08 pm 
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This seems to be coming together nicely now. I've got the other side bent and the tail block glued in, so as soon as I glue them to the neck, I'll have something looking like a ukulele :)
Before that, though, the neck needed a bit of work. I glued on the spalted maple headplate that was gluing up in the last post. I also decided to try binding the headstock for the first time. I've gone with the same binding as the rest of the instrument will have - turned out wonderful! (Although I cheated slightly and left the top unbound as I didn't fancy cutting the channel by hand)
I never understood why classical guitar builders carve the neck after it's glued to the body. It must make it so awkward. I'm kind of making up my own build method for this one - half traditional with a solera and spanish heel and half modern with a proper outside mould. I have tried to think through every step and I think it should work ok.

Image

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I'm also working on an inlay for the back.

Image

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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 12:34 pm 
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Lookin' good.

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 4:09 pm 
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Thanks Brian :)
I had a load of time to work this weekend and it's getting toward the nearly finished stage!
I got the linings all cut with a bodged up kerfing jig and got them glued in.

Image

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Then, before I could start bracing the plates, I had to finish the back inlay. I'd been putting this off because, since my last guitar, I've moved into a flat (no more workshop :( ) and in the process lost the part of my dremel that holds it onto its base. I also need to keep the noise down. So that meant I had to cut it all by hand.
It actually turned out better than I expected. In keeping with the cinnamon theme, I've done a simple stripe down the middle and a cinnamon pod at the bottom.
For some reason I did it backwards, so I inlaid the dark centres of the pods first, then cut the mahogany shape out and inlaid that, upside down, into the back and chiselled it down from above.

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 4:14 pm 
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I was then ready to brace the plates. I kept to a fairly standard uke pattern, only I shortened the middle fan brace so it stops at the bridge patch. The body is smaller than a standard concert, so I thought it would be too stiff with 3 full braces.

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I also lost my go bar deck in the move, so I'm using the underside of my dining room table with weights stacked on top.

The finished bracing with the top glued on:

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My label is on - number 5! :)

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And we have a uke!

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Forgot to mention I put in a soundport to cover up a crack in the sides :D I'm going to do an inlay to cover the rest!

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 5:38 pm 
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I've been enjoying watching this one come together. I like the originality of the rosette.

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 9:49 pm 
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I love the rosette. Very cool!

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 10:04 pm 
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Must be my Catholic upbringing, but that rosette reminds me of a crown of thorns. A little upsetting to look at, actually. Otherwise a beautiful build!


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 4:16 pm 
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Thanks for the comments guys. I certainly didn't intend to upset anyone by it, but now that you mention it, I can certainly see what you mean.
I really should give credit (and blame :) ) to Michi Matsuda for the rosette as usual. It was more than a bit inspired by this far better one!

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 4:13 pm 
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I had some spare time after work this wek so I got the binding channels cut. Thats one thing I love about ukes - the flat top and back mean you can just use a standard router table with bearing guided cutter. No fancy binding jigs needed :) I still need to clean up the neck area by hand.

Image

I also worked on the fingerboard some more. I got the fret slots cut after much deliberating. For those that saw my other thread, I just used my normal pullsaw in the end. I hope the frets fit - I haven't tried them yet.
I think the fret marker inlays tie in with the rosette quite nicely.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 4:23 pm 
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Finally got around to working on this again! I've installed the frets and the binding. I did a palm tree silhouette inlay on the tail too just for fun :) I want it to have a sort of Brazilian feel (because that's where my Grandparents lived and where they brought the wood back from that it's made of) but I guess to most people it'll just look Hawaiian!
I still need to clean up the tape residue and make a heel cap of some sort and glue on the fingerboard. Then it's ready for spraying.
The binding is EI rosewood with maple and macassar ebony purfling (just because it was left over from a job at work :D ).

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:32 pm 
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Finishing time!
I've drilled the holes for the tuners, put in the heel cap and done the first coat of zpoxy pore filler.

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