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 Post subject: My challenge build
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Hey folks,
I've decided to go with something pretty different for this project. I'm going to make an archtop steel string ukulele.

I'm going to try to use all local (as in, it grew within 3 miles of my house local) woods. I'll use either black walnut, maple, or osage orange for the back and sides, and catalpa for the top, braces, and neck. If I don't like the tone of the catalpa, then I may break down and use some western red cedar for the top, or even pine.

We actually have cedars growing around here, but I haven't seen any made into lumber.

I'll post pics as soon as I get started.

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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:47 pm 
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great idea .. Thats what I call Local Woods laughing6-hehe Looking forward to it .

_________________
The Shallower the depth of the stream , The Louder the Babble !
The Taking Of Offense Is the Life Course Of The Stupid One !
Wanna Leave a Better Planet for our Kids? How about Working on BETTER KIDS for our Planet !
Forgiveness is the ability to accept an apology that you will probably NEVER GET
The truth will set you free , But FIRST, it will probably Piss you Off !
Creativity is allowing yourself to make Mistakes, Art is knowing which ones to Keep !
The Saddest thing anyone can do , is push a Loyal Person to the point that they Dont Care Anymore
Never met a STRONG person who had an EASY past !
http://wiksnwudwerks.blogspot.com/
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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:32 pm 
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First name: Phillip
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Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Well, I made a trip to my local sawyer this morning, and picked up some wood. I got some eastern red cedar, some catalpa, and some pine, all locally grown. I'm probably going to use the catalpa for the neck, cedar for the top, pine for braces, and walnut for the back and sides.

Some pics:

Cedar:
Image

Pine:
Image

Catalpa:
Image

Walnut. I'm not sure I want to use this. It's almost perfectly flatsawn, and has a lot of runout.
Image

The pieces for the top:
Image

After planing and jointing:
Image

Gluing together:
Image

More later.

_________________
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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:57 pm 
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Wow! That's some pretty Cedar!

I think I more or less agree with you on the Walnut... but I believe it would work just fine if you did decide to use it... You may end up slip-matching the back halves - that way you will keep the cup going the same direction.... rather than having an S-shaped back plate...

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:50 pm 
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That is Beautifull cedar ! Man , I would love to have some of that . Where did u get it and do they ship ?

And I couldnt help but notice the Lathe chucks . Do you have a Metal Shop ?

_________________
The Shallower the depth of the stream , The Louder the Babble !
The Taking Of Offense Is the Life Course Of The Stupid One !
Wanna Leave a Better Planet for our Kids? How about Working on BETTER KIDS for our Planet !
Forgiveness is the ability to accept an apology that you will probably NEVER GET
The truth will set you free , But FIRST, it will probably Piss you Off !
Creativity is allowing yourself to make Mistakes, Art is knowing which ones to Keep !
The Saddest thing anyone can do , is push a Loyal Person to the point that they Dont Care Anymore
Never met a STRONG person who had an EASY past !
http://wiksnwudwerks.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/groups/GatewayA ... rAssembly/


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Well, I haven't really worked on this since last time I posted, except for today. I'm making a laminated neck. The catalpa I got is mostly flatsawn, so I'm gluing two pieces together, flipping them, to get a more or less quartersawn piece. Two pieces of catalpa wasn't quite wide enough, so I stuck a piece of black walnut in the middle:

Image

Image

Enough clamps, do you think?

Image

I also processed the fingerboard. It's osage orange. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to leave it this color or not.
This piece was straight grained enough that I was able to thickness it with my planer.

Image

And here is the cedar top, joined and sawn to shape:

Image

Image


Wud, I don't think this guy ships. I might be able to though.

I'm kind of a hack machinist. I have an old Cincinnati drill press and a very old South Bend lathe that my dad got real cheap when one of his employers closed down. I use them (especially the drill press) a lot for my knifemaking.

_________________
Regards,
Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:07 pm 
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I love the choices on your challenge build thats going to be nice !

Kewl on the knife making . I sell belts to a knife maker in central Illinois . It is really interesting to watch him forge the steel and hammer and fold it and work it , and then to see him come out with a finished knife ! [:Y:]

_________________
The Shallower the depth of the stream , The Louder the Babble !
The Taking Of Offense Is the Life Course Of The Stupid One !
Wanna Leave a Better Planet for our Kids? How about Working on BETTER KIDS for our Planet !
Forgiveness is the ability to accept an apology that you will probably NEVER GET
The truth will set you free , But FIRST, it will probably Piss you Off !
Creativity is allowing yourself to make Mistakes, Art is knowing which ones to Keep !
The Saddest thing anyone can do , is push a Loyal Person to the point that they Dont Care Anymore
Never met a STRONG person who had an EASY past !
http://wiksnwudwerks.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/groups/GatewayA ... rAssembly/


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:41 pm 
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First name: Phillip
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WudWerkr wrote:
I love the choices on your challenge build thats going to be nice !

Kewl on the knife making . I sell belts to a knife maker in central Illinois . It is really interesting to watch him forge the steel and hammer and fold it and work it , and then to see him come out with a finished knife ! [:Y:]


Who is the knifemaker? I might know him.

I'll be making the tailpiece myself, so I'll be showing more of the metal working side of my shop later. pizza

_________________
Regards,
Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Nothing does it for me like an archtop--I don't care what the instrument is. I am excited about your concept, and I'll be watching so please post often. I'll say something else, too: Win, lose or draw, between the red cedar and the walnut you are going to have the prettiest-smelling instrument in the game! (And I'll wager it'll come out a good player too!)

Patrick


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Wow!
Great idea and materials.
That cedar might be real nice to carve.


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:54 pm 
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Looking good so far! Can't wait to hear how she sounds.

What are the stats on this baby? Box size, scale length, tuning, string gauges? I'm still debating tension on my steel string harp uke. Scale and tuning are like a concert size, and I'm thinking about 15-20lbs per string should do it... but I have no experience with nylon ukes, much less steel string, so I'm sort of shooting in the dark.


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Thanks for the comments, fellas!


DennisK wrote:
Looking good so far! Can't wait to hear how she sounds.

What are the stats on this baby? Box size, scale length, tuning, string gauges? I'm still debating tension on my steel string harp uke. Scale and tuning are like a concert size, and I'm thinking about 15-20lbs per string should do it... but I have no experience with nylon ukes, much less steel string, so I'm sort of shooting in the dark.


The body is 14" long, the upper bout is 8.5" wide, the waist is 6.5", the lower bout is 10.5". I'm thinking the depth will be about 2-1/4" at the neck end, and 2-3/4" at the tail. Maybe a little deeper.

The scale length is about 19". The nut width is 1-3/8" and the string spacing at the saddle is 2".

The tuning will be DGBE, so, a baritone uke. It could probably be tuned GCEA also.

Ok, more pics. Gluing the headstock on:

Image


Cutting it to final thickness:

Image


Tapering the neck. It's 3/4" at the thick end, and 5/8" at the nut end.

Image

Image


Gluing the stacked heel:

Image

_________________
Regards,
Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I used my Stew-mac scale ruler to draw everything in it's correct place. The 5th fret becomes the nut, and the 17th fret becomes the 12th. I goofed and made the neck too short, so this will probably be 13 frets to the body.

Image

Image


Marking the initial edge thickness:

Image


My gouges. I made them. The one on the left is damascus steel, the other two are A2.

Image


Carving the edges down to thickness:

Image

_________________
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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:03 am 
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How do you like gouging the top by hand? I've seen guys do it on the drill press and on a CNC, but not too many have I seen with gouges. I bet if you're good enough with the gouges (which it looks like you are) you can probably carve by hand quicker than it takes to do the setup for just one piece.

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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:21 pm 
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when i carved a violin with gouges, i found it easier to carve out the inside(concave) first. that way you have a nice flat stable top to hold the work firmly...then you flip it over to carve the top, it remains stable, just cupped...the inside is much more difficult
looking good!


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:02 pm 
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crazicarl wrote:
How do you like gouging the top by hand? I've seen guys do it on the drill press and on a CNC, but not too many have I seen with gouges. I bet if you're good enough with the gouges (which it looks like you are) you can probably carve by hand quicker than it takes to do the setup for just one piece.


It's actually kind of fun, except for the knots... This cedar has a much smoother texture than the spruce and cedar violing tops that I've started, so it's very nice. I've never finished an archtopped instrument, so I'm learning as I go. But I do have a good violing making book, which helps a lot.

I will be using the drill press when I do the inside.


crazicarl wrote:
How do you like gouging the top by hand? I've seen guys do it on the drill press and on a CNC, but not too many have I seen with gouges. I bet if you're good enough with the gouges (which it looks like you are) you can probably carve by hand quicker than it takes to do the setup for just one piece.


I'm sure there's lot's of ways to do it. I'm going this route for this instrument because it's the method used in the book I'm working from. Once I get more experience, I'm sure I'll try different things.


Ok, yesterday I made the headstock veneer and glued it on. I'm using black walnut, bookmatched, then some fairly thick layers of black and white fiber.

Image

Image

Image


Today I cut heel to length, angling the cuts. I guess I forgot to mention that this will be a bolt on neck.

Image

Image


I've also been working more on the top. I finished with the gouges, and started using scrapers. Worked up a pretty good sweat...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Should finish the outside of the top today.

_________________
Regards,
Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:56 am 
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Phillip Patton wrote:
WudWerkr wrote:
I love the choices on your challenge build thats going to be nice !

Kewl on the knife making . I sell belts to a knife maker in central Illinois . It is really interesting to watch him forge the steel and hammer and fold it and work it , and then to see him come out with a finished knife ! [:Y:]


Who is the knifemaker? I might know him.

I'll be making the tailpiece myself, so I'll be showing more of the metal working side of my shop later. pizza



His name is Mark kneveling and he is Burr Oak Knives ! Good guy .

_________________
The Shallower the depth of the stream , The Louder the Babble !
The Taking Of Offense Is the Life Course Of The Stupid One !
Wanna Leave a Better Planet for our Kids? How about Working on BETTER KIDS for our Planet !
Forgiveness is the ability to accept an apology that you will probably NEVER GET
The truth will set you free , But FIRST, it will probably Piss you Off !
Creativity is allowing yourself to make Mistakes, Art is knowing which ones to Keep !
The Saddest thing anyone can do , is push a Loyal Person to the point that they Dont Care Anymore
Never met a STRONG person who had an EASY past !
http://wiksnwudwerks.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/groups/GatewayA ... rAssembly/


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:01 pm 
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Status: Amateur
This morning I finished scraping the outside of the top:

Image


I made this contraption for drilling out the back. I think it was set at about 5/32".

Image


Drilled:

Image


Starting to remove the excess:

Image


Just some dimples left. Next thing is to buy or make a thickness gauge.

Image

_________________
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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:43 pm 
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What a great thread this is!
Thanks for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Florentin wrote:
What a great thread this is!
Thanks for sharing.


Thanks, and you're welcome. I'm sure there's going to be a lot to be learned from all the other threads, and I'm looking forward to that.


I've been putting off buying a thickness caliper, because they are so expensive. The other day I noticed that Menards sells dial gauges for $30, so I decided to make my own.

I used a deep C-clamp for the frame. Just take the screw out, and drill it to fit the gauge. Then drill another hole on the bottom for a post. I just used super glue to hold the pieces together. Some pics:

Image

Image

Image

So I saved about $90. bliss

Here I've switched to a flatter gouge and removed almost all the way to the bottom of the dimples. I'll use scrapers for the rest.

Image


According to my new gauge, the top is about .140" thick. Anybody have any idea how thin I should go?

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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Phillip Patton wrote:
According to my new gauge, the top is about .140" thick. Anybody have any idea how thin I should go?


Phil... you may have just blew it, pre-emptively. The general rule, for mandos at least, on the recurve is that it is 60% of the thickest part of the top... so your recurve should be around .084" which is just over 1/16".

I just carved some mando tops, of extra stiff Sitka, down to .2" at the bridge location and .12" at the recurve. You are using cedar... which is less stiff than spruce... and... using aromatic red cedar... which is less stiff than western red cedar.

On the other hand... if you find some tried and true info that still has you on the right track, I can't wait to see/hear it fully loaded.

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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Chris Oliver wrote:
Phillip Patton wrote:
According to my new gauge, the top is about .140" thick. Anybody have any idea how thin I should go?


Phil... you may have just blew it, pre-emptively. The general rule, for mandos at least, on the recurve is that it is 60% of the thickest part of the top... so your recurve should be around .084" which is just over 1/16".

I just carved some mando tops, of extra stiff Sitka, down to .2" at the bridge location and .12" at the recurve. You are using cedar... which is less stiff than spruce... and... using aromatic red cedar... which is less stiff than western red cedar.

On the other hand... if you find some tried and true info that still has you on the right track, I can't wait to see/hear it fully loaded.


Are mandolins braced? I was planning on using an X bracing scheme on this like many archtop guitars have. Also, this is a uke, which only has 4 strings, so I would expect the tension to be quite a bit less than a mandolin.

Thanks for your input though. I've never done anything like this before, and I don't have any books on archtops (other than violins) so the probability of messing up is pretty good. My gut feeling though, is that it's ok.

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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:04 am 
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Maybe I should just consider this a practice top, since I forgot to leave a flat area for the head block, besides (maybe) making it too thin.

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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:58 pm 
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Phillip Patton wrote:
Maybe I should just consider this a practice top, since I forgot to leave a flat area for the head block, besides (maybe) making it too thin.

The neck and tail block areas appear fine. You square out an area at the neck block and glue in some cedar if needed. Also.. don't carve the recurve until you have strings on it. That way you can tune it in to the way you want it to sound. Like you wrote, only 4 strings... not too much down force. Plus, the knowledge that it could implode at any time is kind of exciting. gaah

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live every minute...


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 Post subject: Re: My challenge build
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Chris Oliver wrote:
... don't carve the recurve until you have strings on it. That way you can tune it in to the way you want it to sound. Like you wrote, only 4 strings... not too much down force. Plus, the knowledge that it could implode at any time is kind of exciting. gaah


I'm guessing you do that from the outside, before finishing, yes?

I've been researching online some, and I think I want to go with parallel bracing for this one.

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Phillip Patton

http://www.pattonblades.com

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has faded.

https://hoosierbladesmith.wordpress.com


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