Thursday, July 19th, 2012:

Today I carved the neck. Actually, this time, I didn't really "carve" it --- usually I use my mini-drawknife and some Micro-planes to do the bulk of the carving. This time (I seem to be doing a lot of things differently this time!) I did the bulk of the shaping on the belt sander. I had been watching John Mayes's DVD on neck making again, and thought I'd try it his way. I did most of the shaping of the heel area and neck shaft with the end of the belt sander (as I did the volute). Then I used scrapers and sandpaper to smooth it all out.

I found it easier than using the drawknife --- no catching the grain the wrong way and tearing out mahogany! It came out pretty well.

Below, you also can see that I have superglued on a piece of bloodwood for the heel cap (not trimmed yet in this photo). Later, I trimmed it down to size with a little drum sander in the Dremel. (That worked better than trying to chisel it down, too.)




Here's a photo of that patched section of my neck. You can barely see it. After all the shaping and sanding, it almost disappeared! I'm glad I decided to go ahead with this neck, instead of making a new one.



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  1. Working on the Top and Back
  2. Finishing the Rosette, Harpbox Peghead Veneer
  3. Bracing
  4. Carving the Braces
  5. Bending the Sides
  6. Neck and Tail Blocks
  7. Pegheads & Top Kerfing
  8. Profiling the Sides for the Back
  9. Soundport and Side Reinforcements
  10. Gluing on the Top
  11. Gluing on the Back
  12. Trimming Overhang & Harpbox Peghead
  13. Routing for Binding
  14. End Wedge & Binding
  15. Scraping the Binding, Binding the Harpbox Peghead
  16. The Box is Done --- On to the Neck!!!
  17. Working on the Neck & Fingerboard
  18. The Neck is Finished!!! Now to the Bridge!!!
  19. Peghead Inlay, Final Sanding & Pore-Filling
  20. Shellac Seal Coats and Finishing!!!
  21. Finishing the Finish!!!
  22. The Final Steps
  23. It is Finished!!!


Here's another shot of the heelcap (still not trimmed down yet):



Tomorrow, I will start making the bridge!! (I needed to wait until I could see what my final neck angle would be, before I could determine the thickness of the bridge.)




Here are some shots of the uke with the ncck bolted on. I re-checked the neck angle and centering with the soundbox, and ended up having to sand the bass side of the heel a little more.

Oh, yeah....and below you can see the heel cap is all trimmed and fits the body nicely.


Friday, July 20, 2012:

Well, it's about 5:30 p.m., and I have just completed making the bridge. It took me all day, would you believe it?

But, before I begin, let me give credit to John Parchem, for his helpful method of making the bridge, using a template for nearly the entire operation. (I didn't do that the last time.) It made the bridge much more accurate to the plans. He is building his harp ukulele from Pete's plans right now, too, and his blog has been quite helpful to me! Here's his blog: John Parchem's Harp Ukulele Build. Check it out --- his harp ukulele is coming out beautifully!!!

Anyway, the first thing I did today was to measure for the space between the straightedge and the top, at the saddle location, when I placed the straightedge on top of the bolted, fretted neck. It turned out to be about 6.5mm. Pete Howlett had advised me to add 1mm to that measurement, to determine what thickness I needed to make my bridge. So, I thicknessed the ebony bridge blank to about 7.5mm.

Then I used my Stew-Mac saddle slotting jig to rout the 1/8" saddle slot. You can barely see it, but that first slot to the left didn't come out so well. It came out straight on the right side, but jaggedy on the other. It turned out that what I had to do was to make sure to slide the router base guide tightly against the right-hand wall of the jig; that made the slot more consistent and straight.




The next (and last) thing I need to do, before beginning the process of pore-filling and putting the finish on this instrument, is to make an inlay for the peghead. I'm thinking of just doing the same simple "KM" inlay I did on my Size 5.




After the slot was routed, I made a hardboard template of the bridge, by gluing the plan onto the hardboard. Then, as John did with his bridge, I drilled two 1/8" holes through the template, at the ends of the slot, and used two 1/8" drill bits to position the template onto the bridge blank, with some double-stick tape on the bottom of the template.

I then used the bandsaw to cut close to the template outline, following that with the disc sander and files to finish up the bridge. With the template still stuck to the bridge, I then used it to drill the eight 1/16" string holes.

Finally, I used that belt sander thicknessing jig I made last week, to sand the ramps on the ends of the bridge.

Here's what the bridge looks like, positioned on the harp uke. (Kind of looks like a quizzical or befuddled look on a face, doesn't it? I always seem to see faces on my instruments...)




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