#2's Not A Ukulele (1 Viewer)

Micron

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I think the only thing keeping me sane during lock down is my Little Shop of Horrors. While I wait for more warm weather to spray #1, I have #2 on the go, but I will run out of things to do very soon if I can't shop for materials. I'll just post highlights rather than document a build like I did for Nautical Gent, and will include a few concepts that didn't apply in that build...

This is a back brace sitting on a radius sanding dish (15 ft radius). The braces are placed in the approximate location that they would be if this was a back and they are sanded until they conform to the arc of that location. Each brace takes on a different arch because the dish arc is not the same near the perimeter as it is in the center. When glued on in a companion radius dish (in the go-bar deck) the back takes on the shape of the arcs.
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Note the back plate sitting on the glue-up radius dish, showing the gap. Top and bottom touch the dish but the rest of it, not so much.
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Same story for the top, but a 25 ft radius. Some builders do 40 ft but I don't see the point in that.
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If you saw the Uke thread, you saw in top and back glue up before. The uke back was not arched (too small).
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One needs lots of clamps to glue up kerfing on 2 sides at once!
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Headstock plate & rough carved heel.
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Micron

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PART 2
I didn't think the first post would take all the images, let alone all of the ones I managed to get in there. Thus the reason for splitting them up.
I need binding (planning on Curly Maple); regardless, I don't know when I'll be able to shop for anything so not sure how much more I can do on this one.

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AccessBlaster

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Can you put a rule next to it for scale? What style will this be Spanish, folk? Is this for Moke?
 

Micron

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Good question! Here are the spec's (hope everyone is OK with imperial measurements):

6 string dreadnought; Pao Ferro back, sides & headstock plate; Sitka Spruce top, Abalone rosette
Lower bout - 15 13/16
Upper bout - 11 5/8
Waist - 10 7/8
Depth (lower bout) 4 3/4; (upper) 3 3/4
Body length - 20 3/16
Fingerboard (planned) 1 3/4; 2 1/8 at body
25.4 scale; 14 fret (at body)

Did I forget anything?
No, it's not for Moke. So far, it's just for me. I plan on doing one more after these - maybe an Indian Rosewood 12 string.
 

Micron

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Been waiting all this time to get materials and a new fret saw. I've had the fingerboard glued on the neck since the last post and nothing done before today.

About 26 clamps is all it takes.
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Hard to get a decent pic of the abalone dot inserts between the frets because some of them shine back too much light and cause glare! Will be even harder to finish sand in between some of those frets.

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Next step is to cut up curly maple stock that I bought yesterday and glue up some bindings. I'll go back to the fretboard and/or neck shaping while the binding glue-up is drying. When they're ready, it's time to drag out the bender machine again, bend the bindings and rout the binding channels in the body - if the bindings don't break that is.
 

NauticalGent

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Looming good! Is this one for anyone or are you just keeping busy?
 

Micron

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I'm building 3 for myself just because I wanted to. Kid #2 has already laid claim to this one but I dunno. He wanted my Fender F65 that I got for my bd about 45 years ago so I gave it to him about 6 years ago after a little bit of arm twisting by the missus. I have 3 other kids; only two ever showed any interest in guitars so we'll see. The 3rd one will be an East Indian Rosewood - maybe a 12 string. Really like that sound.
Next pics here will be when the binding and purfling is installed.

Hope the uke lessons are progressing well. Can hardly wait for that vid!
 

Micron

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I used a scrap of Rosewood as an end graft and was surprised how the purple/black looked with the Pao Ferro sides (hard to see the purple in the pic but it's there). This pic obviously shows the bindings installed as well, but I was going by the end graft only.

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When I bought curly maple for binding I grabbed a billet of Rosewood as well - just in case. After bending the maple, I wasn't real impressed, so I made up and bent RW bindings. After pondering the purfling combination for a day or two, the RW went in. Shown here (above and below) with a bit of thinners wiped on to bring out the grain (not nearly as glossy as it will be when the lacquer finish is applied).
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Next: finish carving/sanding the neck and drilling out the headstock for chrome tuners. After that I guess it's pore filling and other prep work for lacquer application.
 

Micron

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Abalone shell. AFAIK, MOP would be white or pinkish white but I could be wrong about that. Maybe MOP can be blueish too. Whenever I've seen MOP materials for fret markers or inlay, it's always pearlescent white.
 

moke123

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No, it's not for Moke. So far, it's just for me.
You selfish Bast***! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

I was tempted to give that post a 👎 (but I wouldn't do that to you.)

For those of us who barely know the difference between a regular 2x4 and pressure treated, your knowledge of wood species is equally impressive to your craftsmanship. Where does one go to even find Pao Ferro or Sitka Spruce? Especially in a pandemic.
 

Micron

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Well, you did say you would rather have a refrigerator?
When I got the bug long ago (that was a thing that I still remember) I searched on line and bought the figured African Mahogany from a tone wood business in Kenmore, NY. That became #1, which is awaiting polishing out when the finish is fully cured. There was a long time in between #1 start and now (that's a different story) during which I knew one wouldn't be enough, so I bought 2 more sets on EBay over a period of time. The PF looked real nice, so I bought that set. At some point I also bought an EIR back and side set (East Indian Rosewood) which looks as nice (blue/purple/black/brown) as the rosewood binding pictured here.

The tops (15 sets or so) and bracing billets were sent to me as payment for fixing the website of Alaska Specialty Woods a long time ago. He had a lot of issues with his site and no time and nobody to fix them, so I did it for trade. He was quite generous I think. P.S. if you visit that site now, that is not my work; it has been re-done at least once since. Other things like fretboard and bridge blanks, tuners, bridge pins and fret wire I had bought over the years with a notion of which set they'd go with - when I got around to them. As for binding material, I only had the Bloodwood for #1, not having given much thought to any other project because it's not something I wanted to decide before seeing an assembled body. Covid was a bit of an issue for #2, as was getting a new fret saw.

To say that 1 or 2 guitars would not be enough might sound odd to some (some musicians/collectors have literally dozens) but my reason is more related to learning a process and getting satisfaction from that as opposed to wanting to own multiple versions of something. When I said to an instrument builder at my local exotic woods supplier that I would probably stop at 3 he said "Why? You're just getting started" I knew exactly what he meant. It is an extensive process, replete with exacting measurements (to 1/64"), geometry in 2 planes and all sorts of considerations, the least of which is, after it's strung up, will 200 pounds of string tension bow the neck or rip the bridge off of the body? Will it look nice but sound like crap because the saddle is loose/too low/too high, the top is too thick/too thin, is over-braced thus too stiff, the nut is too low/too high? And so on...

But some days when I'm in that zone, I wish I had started 20 years ago and turned it into something more than just a hobby.
 

moke123

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Well, you did say you would rather have a refrigerator?
I think I said needed, not rather. The only bonus is this was the third refrigerator I've ever bought and the first time I've ever had an ice maker. My daughter can cook fancy meals but doesn't know how to fill an ice tray. I feel like I've suffered needlessly for years.
 

Micron

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Rather, shmather, what's the difference? You chose cold beer over a guitar.

(OK, I probably would too). :)
 

Micron

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This will likely be the last set of pics or updates for about 3 or 4 weeks. I have 7 coats of clear finish on it now and tomorrow I'll be sanding out any dust marks and such with 600 grit. After that I have to wait at least 2 weeks before I can sand out to 2000 then 4000 and then polish. I hope to end up with a finish as glassy and smooth as if I had used nitro cellulose lacquer (hope I spelled that correctly) which is something you have to have a business license of some sort to use. To get that, you'd need a spray booth setup with positive ventilation - or so I'm told.

You can see all sorts of reflections in these next photos - some make the finish actually look milky or deficient in some way but it's only light reflections. What's not coming across is the true chocolate colour of the wood - it's actually nicer than it photographs!

In this side view of the upper bout you can see a reflection of the wooden support that is bolted into the neck mounting cavity! Pic on the right is the bottom with the rosewood end graft.

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What also appears to be not true colour (at least on my laptop) is the neck. It is more orange-brown that what you see here and it goes with the body colour better than you might think by looking at these. This time around I decided to apply the finish with only pilot holes where the tuners go, which is why you only see small holes there at present. This was to stop clear finish from running through full sized holes and creating any drips or runs on the down side during drying. I just need to be careful when drilling these out so as to not mar the finish on either side.

Middle pic is the headstock with a black layer then maple (the white part) and then the veneer on top (on the right). The veneer is left over side or back material (left pic).
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Micron

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I guess I'll close this out with this update and will try to make a very long story not so long.

Based on my research I waited 6 weeks for the 6 coats of clear finish to harden, then dry sanded to 320 and 600 then wet sanded with 2000. Next I used an automotive paste wax that contains micro abrasives, then used a liquid swirl polish to remove very fine circular patterns. Tuning machines next, and that's where the trouble started. The fasteners (furl nuts) were 2mm shorter than advertised so I could not install the tuners and I had to source replacement nuts. Took weeks to sort out all the related problems that I won't bore anyone with but the supplier was very good about it.

Upon my first attempt at nut slotting (where the strings are held at the neck's narrow end) I thought the high E (1st string) was too close to #2 for my comfort so I cut another one with a bit more room. I think I also took the saddle down too far so I ended up replacing that as well. Afterwards came setting up the neck relief and adjusting frets to take out any buzz at the high end. That in itself was a tedious and frustrating process. A couple of times I put it aside for 1 or 2 weeks just so I could get my enthusiasm back - especially when strings would break right at the tuner when UNWINDING them! I broke at least 1 each of 2, 3 and 4.

I've decided I would much rather build one than do a setup. I think I will play it for now and develop some fingertip callouses then switch over the strings to a lighter gauge and see how I like it. I think it sounds pretty good but it could be brighter. Then again, I am my own worst critic.

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Just figured out what the white strip is below the bridge. Looks like a glue line, but it's the top reflecting on the sheen of the bridge.

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just showing off the shine with
the pic above

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Now that I know that I know where to properly locate a bridge, I'll get around to finishing #1 sooner or later.
Thanks to all who participated in this thread. I have to wonder how many will read the finale now that members can ignore a whole forum.
 

Micron

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I cannot see a way to mark this thread solved to close it out...
 

moke123

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Thats a beauty!

Just leave the thread open so you can get my address when the 12 string is done :cool:
 

Micron

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Well you know how to get in touch. By the time I get around to it, you should have enough saved up - but you'll probably need a new stove to go with that new fridge. ;)
 

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