The Soundbox

Thursday, June 16th, 2011:

I only have one photo today, despite the fact that I actually accomplished quite a few little tasks today. Here's what I have at the moment, after all those tasks were completed:

This messy contraption of go-bar sticks and all sorts of blocks is how I am gluing on the top.


  1. Yesterday I had marked the sections of the top kerfing that I had to remove, to form pockets for the top bracing. This morning I used my Dremel and router base (with a 1/16" bit) to rout out those pockets.
  2. I then spent a little time sanding the inside surface of the sides.
  3. I checked and rechecked the fit of the top onto the sides.
  4. Upon the suggestion of Pete Howlett, I then planed the heel end of the harpbox peghead to be flush with the harpbox end block. That way, I can just carry the back over the heel end (much the way they often do it in classical guitars).
  5. Then came the nerve-wracking part — actually getting down to gluing the top onto the sides:
    • I put 1/4" blocks on the bottom of the mold so that the sides would stick out a little bit out of the bottom of the mold.
    • I laid the top onto a piece of cardboard, with a hole cut out for the lower bout. (The top has a very slight radius of 25 feet, and this cardboard and hole is kind of like William Cumpiano's idea of a "workboard shim".)
    • I then applied glue to the kerfing, the blocks, and the harpbox peghead.
    • Next, I positioned the side set onto the top, lining up the peghead first and then the blocks to the centerline of the top.
    • I laid my 1/8" hardboard templates over the back kerfings, as a basic caul for the go-bar sticks.
    • Finally, I applied the go-bar sticks (it took all of my sticks!), using scrap blocks as cauls wherever they were needed.





Stay tuned . . . to see how it all came out!!!

Okay, I'm back . . . It's around 4 p.m. now, and I've just taken the mold out of the go-bar deck. It came out well!!! (This is always a big relief to me . . . that nothing got terribly misaligned or out of place.)

I'm going to call it a day. In an hour or so, I have to take Hannah to our second puppy class, so there's not much time to do anything else today. I might work on the label for the inside of the back.

The next thing I have to do is to sand the 15-foot radius onto the back kerfing and fit the back (trim braces to fit into the kerfing). Then I can glue on the back — and we'll have a soundbox!!!!! (Finally.)







Friday, June 17th, 2011:

I have two photos for you today. The first is of the label I made this morning for the harp ukulele. I printed it on my inkjet printer, on some nice linen paper. Then I sprayed some shellac on it to protect it. When that was dry, I glued it onto the back with some of that spray adhesive.

A confession: This is actually the first label I've made where I have the quotation correctly worded!

A few months ago, an Internet friend kindly informed me that I had a word in there that actually belongs to a previous verse of the little poem; I first saw this quote in the beginning of William Cumpiano's guitarmaking book, and I just assumed the line, "Securi dum vixi tacui," was correctly written. It wasn't. "Securi" means "axe" — the first two lines said something like "I was alive in the woods, I was cut down by the cruel axe."

So . . . .what a bummer to discover that all my previous labels were worded incorrectly!!!

ANYWAY . . . what the two lines above (the third and fourth lines of the poem) mean is this: "In life I was silent — in death I sweetly sing."



What took me the most time today was getting everything ready for gluing on the back. I first sanded the radius onto the side set. Next, I cut the ends of the back center reinforcement strip to fit to the blocks. Finally, I cut out the notches for the back braces to fit into the kerfing.

Then I did a dry run of clamping the back in the go-bar deck, to figure out exactly what blocks I need to use for the lower parts of the body. When that was figured out, I took another deep breath (gluing on tops and backs always makes me nervous), ran a bead of glue along the kerfing and blocks, set my hardboard templates on top of the back, and started go-barring (I just made up a word) the thing!!! The procedure was much the same as when I did the top yesterday.

Here it is right now:



The more I use my modified go-bar deck, with the 360-degree TV swivel, the more I appreciate it!!! It really makes doing something like this super-easy. . . .


Go to the next page to see the soundbox after I have removed the go-bar sticks!!!!

(This is getting exciting . . . . )



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