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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Default A new set of ukuleles

    Just starting to embark on a new set of ukuleles. These three will be baritones. I will also be adding some tenor and maybe a concert or soprano.

    Timbers in two of them will be Sapele back and sides with Western Red Cedar for the tops and Mahogany necks.







    The third one will be an experiment in an all Huon Pine body. Will see what I come up with.







    I have to create new bucks for this lot as they are a different design to my last ones. These are a modern standard in ukulele design as built by Graham McDonald and Allen McFarlen here in Australia.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Shepparton
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    just a question Cal on what thickness are the body top and bottom I built my first concert ukulele happy with the build but not the sound any suggestions.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    For concert size a thickness aimed for is 1.5mm all round, meaning soundboard sides and backs. Tenors are 1.75mm all round and Baritones are 2mm. There is always a but! This all depends on the timber being used. For sides of any of the above, it depends on how well the timber wants to bend at a given thickness for a given radius. For backs itís the stiffness, for soundboards itís the tone and resonance.

    The other thing that will happen with your instrument is it will improve with age, sounds strange I know but the timber will relax and the ukulele will start to resonate better as it gets older.

    Iím learning a lot as I continue my journey through building, and Iím only at the beginning. Itís a great ride!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Shepparton
    Posts
    234

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    thanks Cal the sides are Queensland oak at 1.5 mm the top and bottom are walnut about 3mm this may contribute to quality of sound ,good to hear that the quality will improve with time, once again thank you. I agree the ride is interesting to say the least.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Warragul Vic
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    1,004

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    Looking forward with great interest how this journey goes for you, and what you produce and how they sound.
    Enjoy the journey Cal and please take us with you. Thanks

    Eugene

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Default A new set of ukuleles

    I have been side tracked!
    A friend at work asked me to convert a 6 string guitar to a 5 string, I tried as hard as I could to refuse the challenge, but he insisted.

    So I decided to just get it done, I have had a bit of a go at it this afternoon. Had to turn up some plugs for the headstock and remove the original cover plate.








    And then run some timber through the drum sander to create veneers for the front and back of the headstock. I used Sapele for the back and Sheoak for the front.






    I also removed the original bridge with a trim router, I will make a new 5 string bridge and cut a new saddle for it. I will have to route the soundboard out where the string pins go and glue another piece of timber in before fitting the new bridge so I can drill and ream new pin holes.



    I will clean up the soundboard for the bridge with the trimmer after inserting the new piece in.
    I have never done this before, I hope it all works out ok. As mentioned earlier my friend was insistent that I do it, that will teach him!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Early start in the shed (6am), headstock complete, polished and tuners on.





    Cleaned up the fretboard and frets (he didnít want me to dress the frets)



    Will have breakfast before I wake the neighbours up!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    blue mountains
    Posts
    4,219

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    Nice work Cal. I take it you will just have more room at the sides of the fretboard and keep the string spacing much the same. Got me pondering on a strat neck I have waiting for the right project to come along.
    Regards
    John

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Thanks John, the player has large hands and has marked on the original nut and saddle where he wants the string placement which leaves the two outer strings pretty much where they are.
    I will set it up as per his request, but if he wants to change it after playing I will just make a new nut and saddle for it.
    I would have liked to pull the frets and reshape the neck to narrow the whole thing down, but thatís more trouble than itís worth.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Yesterday my friend come around to help me with the new bridge, I routed out the pin holes in the soundboard to level with the bridge patch underneath.
    Cut a new piece and glued it in place.


    I let it dry and then levelled the soundboard to remove the old glue and accept the new bridge.

    I then cut a new bridge out of some quarter sawn redgum. Itís not overly hard like some other redgum I have but plenty hard for a bridge.


    I will set out the nut slots and saddle position then the pin positions. I will drill and ream the pin holes and create a temporary saddle for setting the intonation. I wonít put any strings on it for a few days though, just to let the glue really bond the bridge to the soundboard (I used Titebond 3)

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    Default A new set of ukuleles

    Picked up a new toy this arvo
    That should make things a little easier.



    All I have to do is ditch the crappie dust port and make a new one for a 150mm port!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    A bit of melamine and a couple of hinges gets the job done.





    I can open the lid fully for paper changes and a single m8 hex head bolt holds it all in place. I left a bit of room either side of the drum for air to make itís way in aiding dust removal.
    I have used it a fair bit today and the paper still feels fairly sharp.

    Mahogany back and sides.





    Huon pine back and sides





    Camphor Laurel back and sides



    Southern Silky Oak back and sides




  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    blue mountains
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    4,219

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    Setting a fast pace there cal. The sander will surely speed things up. Almost a production line going on.
    Regards
    John

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Strathalbyn South Australia
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    929

    Default A new set of ukuleles

    Iím just trying to get all of the timber into thinner stock so that it can reach equalibrium and I donít have to bide my time waiting for it when I need it.
    And yes to let you in on the secret, I have a few to build. Two good friends now want me to build them a baritone each.
    I have had a few people asking for me to build them one. I am not going to build them to order, the plan is to build them and have people try before they buy. I canít commit to timelines for commission builds.
    Iím going to have a red hot go at producing quality instruments that people canít put down.

    I found some nice book match pieces of Huon big enough for a concert size this morning.



    Along with some more Blackwood and Silky Oak.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Lower Blue Mountains
    Posts
    130

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    Hi with the melamine box over the sander I would keep an eye for stress if itís a typical cast housing I had one from jet that cracked at the motor end nearly impossible to find anyone to repair it. Cheers Peter

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