Uke Build: Radius Dish Tooling

(Prev: Radius Dish Equation)

When the scotch comes out, it’s serious!

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do what’s necessary for a good final result. That was the case for introducing a 15 foot radius to the back of this ukulele. A truly flat back is much weaker than one with a compound curve […]

Uke Build: Radius Dish Equation

(Prev: Bracing Extensions)

I used to teach school, one of my best memories was homeroom math for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. You know THE single biggest question about math from the perspective of the students, don’t you? “Where are we EVER going to use this junk?!” Well, fast forward 20 years and I finally have […]

Uke Build: Bracing Extensions

(Prev: Completed Kerfing)

Recall the “flat top” design and issues of integrity? The small brace running between the front and center braces allows me to build a flat top instrument (with no top radius). This, and the corresponding brace on the opposite side, will keep the top from “sinking” and maintain integrity! The clamping pressure is […]

Uke Build: Completed Kerfing

(Prev: Back Kerfing)

These pictures show the completed top and bottom kerfing.

I always used to look through the sound holes of prospective guitars as a kid and search for glue drips… I can’t stand glue drips, it smacks at a lack of pride in workmanship! I use a wet Q-tip to wipe away the “squeeze out” […]

Uke Build: Back Kerfing

(Prev: Tooling)

These pictures show the back kerfing being glued in place on the ukulele. The “C” clamps are gripping the sides to hold the kerfing edges in position at the neck and tail blocks. Then it’s a simple matter of using clothes pins to hold the kerfing while the glue cures. Take note that the […]

Uke Build: Tooling

(Prev: Glue Top)

These pictures show two specific areas of interest for this ukulele where tooling is concerned. First, note the wing nut extension pieces on the front edge of the tooling, and secondly, the clamp bolted through the sound hole location. The wing nut extensions lets me mechanically lock in the neck block and the […]

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: Back Bracing

(Prev: Top Cleating)

My greatest burst of learning all things mechanical came from 4 years at Boeing. I had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Boeing Model Shop with some of the best model makers in the world and used some very unique machinery in the process. One of the first lessons taught was layout […]

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 […]

Uke Build: Kerfing Install, Tooling

These pictures show the solid mahogany sides of the ukulele already bent into shape. The issue at hand was if I wanted to build a side mold to hold the body in position for construction. That will come after the first instrument is completed. The kerfing used for this ukulele is traditional, it is […]

Guitar care in the New Year

Well, a few of you may have received new instruments for Christmas. That, of course, is excellent news!

With the gift of a new guitar, banjo, mandolin, or ukulele, comes the responsibility of understanding the needs of the instrument. Especially during the winter season. The reason I specifically mention winter is that it is typically […]