Project Ukulele

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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Moroccomoose »

Project Uke back in the 'latest posts' Yay!!!...... Oh, Its just a bump! booo!

Here is another bump :lol:

Zen? any news. Hoping it is just a weather thing! We're all on tender hooks, waiting for the next instalment!!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by lukeandrewhill »

Tenterhooks...
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Frisonic »

Last I heard (in another thread) Zen was still trying to be zen like in his emotional response to a second piece of pheasant wood not behaving itself. And it's still too cold for the workshop. Soon guys, soon....
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Yep... I've been sulking :)

The uke that suffered from a split back twice before has, you've guessed it, split again!!! So after all that work trying to save a beautiful piece of wood, the underlying problem is that the it was too beautiful for it's own good.

I was in the room with it a couple of times when it split. Quite scary how loud the crack was!! So, the decision has been made to get a replacement back. It has to be pheasant wood to match the sides, and I have to get a full set of bindings and purfling strips for the back stripe, braces, back re-inforcement strip.

So, a big job ahead. And as I have to get materials from a couple of suppliers in the USA, I'm looking at getting a full set of woods for a Baritone Uke at the same time. Yep, glutton for punishment :)

That still leaves the well behaved uke to finish. So in the next week or so I'll make a start on final polishing, then fit the tuners, mark out the saddle slot, rout it, and fit the saddle. And then that one will be finished at long last.

And thanks everyone. I really haven't minded the problems, if anything they make the project more interesting and you always learn more from solving them than when things go smoothly. But things would have gone a lot smoother and quicker had I had a proper workshop and that has been a frustration and, frankly, a little depressing too.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by yelemusic »

Hi Zen, you there? Everything alright? Another two months have passed, and no Uke-news. I'm starting to think you might have lost interest in finishing those two gorgeous Ukes! Please don't give up! You're doing a wonderful work!
And I love following this thread! :lol:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Thanks yelemusic.

I got caught up finishing some other projects to clear the bench. But that's almost finished now. Just got to finish servicing a mixer for my brother. But I did receive the Uke strings last week so I should be making a start next week.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Folderol »

:)
I guess Spring finally deciding to turn up helps as well!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Goddard »

Good to hear that! Watched a great uke docu (Canadian film) recently and had got to wondering what was happening with your project.
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Frisonic »

I saw that too. Very inspiring (and it made me too think of Andy's fledgling ukes there in Devon, just waiting to get out there and be heard)!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by yelemusic »

zenguitar wrote: Just got to finish servicing a mixer for my brother.

You're a man with many talents!

Good to hear everything's good, and the Ukes are on the way again :)
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Folderol »

He's a man of many parts... most of them still moving :D
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

And, at last, finally got started today.

Nothing of any photographic interest. But with the bench cleared I could start on some general tidying up in readiness for flat sanding.

The fret ends were a little rough to the touch, possibly due to some very slight shrinkage of the fretboard. So I carefully stoned them flush and reshaped the fret ends with a triangular file.

Next job was to make a start cleaning up the bridge. In wiping on the shellac with a pad there is a build up of shellac on the sides and edges of the bridge. So rather than risk marking the polished front it was better to carefully clean things up first.

It's mostly done now. But I'll go over it again with finer grades tomorrow to be sure.

Then it's out with the 2000 grit wet & dry and olive oil.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Oh, just for the record, I've hidden Ruth's Uke in my hardcase. Out of sight, out of mind. But I am already working on the long term solution.

A new back will be ordered, together with the purflings for the back stripe, braces, back strip, bindings and purflings, and the new back will be jointed, thicknessed, braced, and fitted.

But the old back will be framed, complete with back-lit LED lighting to highlight the cracks, and labelled as the Pheasant Wood Ukulele Back of Doom.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Frisonic »

zenguitar wrote: the old back will be framed, complete with back-lit LED lighting to highlight the cracks, and labelled as the Pheasant Wood Ukulele Back of Doom.

Andy :beamup:

Have the Arts Lottery Fund been informed yet? Sounds like one for the Tate... Perfect for the one in St Ives, don't you think?
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Image

Flatted the finish on the back and neck this afternoon. Went very smoothly too. Used 2000 grit wet & dry lubricated with olive oil. You can see the saucer of olive oil in the background. Then cleaned up with white spirit and paper towels.

Now I know what to expect the sides and front shouldn't take too long either. Then I'll make a start on polishing with the rottenstone.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Folderol »

Ahhhhhhhhh!

That's all :D
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Image

Yes!! Front and sides finished too.

All flatty smoothy and Mmmmmm...

In an ideal world I would be making a Rottenstone concoction tomorrow. But it's the village carnival this weekend and I have belatedly discovered that I need to provide a costume. So tomorrow I will be... panicking.

But, hey!. you got a picture to look at. What more do you want?

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Frisonic »

The sun is shining again!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by yelemusic »

It doesn't take much to make people happy :)
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Madman_Greg »

Sod the Uke, we need costume pics with you wearing it.
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Waiting for the costume pics to be uploaded. Once they are, I'll post some here for a laugh.

My brother was dressed as a Jester and decided to recover my old 12-string mandolin from his garage, the first time it has been out of its bag for 20 years!!! The neck needs resetting (but it always did), it needs a refret, the tailpiece had almost pulled off, and there are some joints opening that need closing again. But it's not in that bad a shape.

So, it's already on the bench and stripped down ready for rebuilding :)

But ukulele polishing, and saddle fitting, comes first.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Mixed up a potion today. Some rottenstone, a drop of soap, and some White Spirit.

Add a piece of felt.

And then apply potion to felt and start polishing ukulele.

Image

Image

Back and sides completed now. Neck mostly finished. So just neck to finish tomorrow and then the front and headstock face. And looking OK so far :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Have you seen the price of Elbow grease!!!!!

More Polishy Walishy stuff today. Going over the front and headstock with the rottenstone mix. Cleaning up. Then grabbing the Brasso and going over everything again.

It's close, very close now. But do I go back to the 2000 grit wet & dry and do some 'spot fixing' from 1st principles? Or do I roll up the sleeves and Brasso it into submission? Decisions decisions...

Image

Image

Oh... just remembered. I need to make a truss rod cover of some sort. I've got some thick Ebony veneer lying around if there's nothing else suitable.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Frisonic »

Looking great and on a roll 8-)
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Folderol »

Lovely shine on that.
Probably the same for Andy :D
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Another polishing day today. Did some more spotting with the 2000 grit wet & dry and Olive oil lubricant. Then cleaned up before going over the entire instrument with the rottenstone again.

And then I got out the cotton pads and Brasso and went over everything twice.

Result? Well, there are a few small spots where it could be better. But that would mean ladling on a load more shellac and then working through the grades of wet & dry to achieve perfection before polishing with more rottenstone and Brasso. But we aren't looking at anything major here, and besides, Sod's Law tells us that within a month of finishing general wear and tear would generate enough dinks and marks to catch the eye at least as much.

Image

Image

Image

And now all that remains is to fit the machine heads, the nut, and the strings. Then mark the correct intonation ready to cut and fit the saddle. So here are most of the bits that are needed.

Image

The nut is already rough cut and ready to fit. I'll pull out the fret press to press in the tuner bushings. And then I can drop in the tuners and adjust the post heights. Then I can mark out the nut slots and test fit the strings. With the strings fitted I'll use some temp saddles to mark the correct intonation for each string at the bridge and use the Dremel and saddle jig to cut a saddle slot. Then it's just a matter of fitting the saddle to the slot and profiling it with the correct intonation.

And then this uke is finished. And I promise to grab a decent recording for you all to hear. Then it's time to source the parts for the new back for the second uke and get that finally finished too.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

First job of the day, fit the tuner bushings. So step one was to grab my Fret Press and then to look at how to make best use of it. A little experimenting found that I had a Star drive Hex bit where the Star drive was just smaller than the standard 6mm Hex. The Star drive tip passed through the bushings, but then opened up wide enough for the shoulder to press through. Everything was in place, and once held in the press it all looked good.

Image

Once it went in neatly it was just a matter of doing the other 3.

Image

The Gotoh tuners have Height Adjustable Posts. So I took a few minutes to get the post heights correct. A few more minutes with a drill for some pilot holes. And all 4 tuners were neatly fixed in place.

Image

Image

All looking good. And tomorrow I just need to make sure the nut is neatly seated, cut the slots, trim it to final size, and cut the slits to depth. Then I fit the strings, mark out the intonation points for each, and fit the saddle.

Finish the nut and saddle, and the uke is finally finished.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Folderol »

:D that's all.
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by zenguitar »

Easy start. Fit nut and mark the string locations. Cut start slots with saw, then take them deeper with the nut slotting files. Fit strings.

Image

If you look carefully you can see the Allen key used as a temporary saddle :)

Then it gets frustrating GGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!

The StewMac saddle slotting jig for the Dremel and router base is brilliant. Let's you line up the saddle slot VERY accurately and lets you cut a very neat slot with a perfectly flat bottom. Ideal. However, it's designed to sit on a guitar, not a cute little ukulele so is just too big to use as designed. OK, flip it around 180 degrees and it will work.

Image

Now I just need to work out how to assemble everything neatly and securely. If I had a proper workbench it would be easy. Screw down some padded supports for the uke body, screw down a couple of rails for the jig to sit on. Job done. Ten minutes work with a bandsaw and some scrap wood, easy.

OK, a petty problem, I know. And I'll come up with a solution in the next day or two. But still another small frustration and delay :frown:

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Post by Folderol »

I notice a considerable use of soft cloths lately :)
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