Mandolin Build: French Polish Top

This is the first time I’ve attempted a French polish on an instrument. French polish is simply a term for shellac. The shellac is purchased in a dry, crystal form and Everclear grain alcohol (190 proof) is added to a set weight of the shellac as a catalyst to dissolve the crystals. Under normal […]

Uke Build: Glue Top

(Prev: Back Bracing)

In this picture the solid mahogany top has been glued to the solid mahogany sides. The kerfing is traditional on this ukulele and is only .080” thick, so there will be no binding on this instrument. In future builds I could use thicker kerfing, similar to that used on a guitar which will […]

Uke Build: Top Cleating

(Prev: Gluing Top)

Notice the small “cleats” anchoring the front brace to the kerfing? This is an idea I wanted to implement to take note of sound transference. It seemed to work just fine – and I didn’t need to cut into the kerfing to “lock in” the top braces to the sides, which is a […]

Uke Build: Gluing Top

(Prev: Top Bracing, Tooling)

These pictures show the solid mahogany top being glued to the solid mahogany sides of the instrument.

I elected to make a truly “flat top” ukulele. In doing so I changed the fundamental response to a lower pitch, softening the sound a bit. Most ukuleles have a 28 foot radius to maintain top […]

Uke Build: Top Bracing, Tooling

(Prev: Kerfing Install, Tooling)

The top of this ukulele is solid mahogany and the braces are Sitka spruce. I hand carve each brace and work the top to a consistent thickness to bring the best out of each element of the instrument. The bracing design is traditional in this case, except for the 45 degree chamfer […]