Monday, June 20th, 2011:

This morning, I routed the top and back binding ledges. It took me about two hours. I spent some time figuring how far up into the harpbox peghead I needed to rout, checking and rechecking the position of the router bit in the laminate trimmer I use with the binding router jig, and setting up the soundbox in the holding cradle, to make sure it was all secure and level. The actual routing doesn't take that long; it's just the preparation that takes time.

The ledges came out clean and uniform. It is so much easier, too, when you don't have a purfling ledge to deal with!

Here's the top:






And here's the back:










The next thing I had to do was chisel out the channels next to the harpbox peghead by hand. That took a bit of time, to make it all the right depth and a smooth transition from the machine-routed part.


Here's kind of what the binding in that area will look like. I've just placed some binding scraps in one corner (and I've dampened the wood), to give you a general idea of the plan:


What I will do next is make my end wedge (I'm using some scrap koa I have) and rout out the slot for that. Then it will be time to fit the end wedge, sliding b/w/b purfling on both sides, and trim the top and bottom. I need to make the ends of the wedge jut into the binding ledge by the width of the side purfling. Then I will miter the end wedge purflings (so they will meet the binding's purfling later).

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011:

Today was really, really hot, and I felt really sapped of energy, so I didn't start work on the uke until the late afternoon. What I did today was make and glue in the end wedge, and bend, fit, and glue in one binding edge.

Didn't take many photos (too busy and too hot). Here is the end wedge slot after I sawed out the sides and chiseled out the slot:


Here's the koa end wedge with some b/w/b purfling (which will be later mitered to meet the binding's side purfling. What I've done is make the wedge taller than the side by the width of the purfling. After the glue was all dry, I scraped it down and mitered the wedge's purfling. (Forgot to take a photo of it before I glued in the binding — it's covered with binding tape right now.)



What you see to the left is what took me the most time tonight. I have glued in the binding on the treble side of the top.

Instead of using the side bender to bend the bindings, I decided to bend them by hand this time, on my electric bender. The reason I did that was that, when I bent the sides, I had to do a bit of touching up, anyway, by hand. Also, after assembly, sometimes your actual soundbox doesn't come out exactly the same as the bending form, so there's often adjustments that have to be made on the electric bender, anyway. (At least for me it was that way.) And, I didn't make a bending form for the harp box section, anyway, so that had to be done by hand, as well.

Bending the curly koa bindings went fairly well: I only had one partial crack in the lower bout (which I glued up with Titebond, so it should be okay). I think the binding will go more quickly tomorrow, as I now have a feel for how to bend the koa bindings.

Tomorrow I'll have photos of how the first binding edge turned out.

HEY . . . FOR A LITTLE BREAK . . . Here's a link to a fun YouTube video of Andy Wahlberg playing an 11-string harp requinto built by Mike Brittain.

ALSO . . . As I've been trying to figure out how to build this harp ukulele, here's a message thread that has helped tremendously (even though it's a baritone harp guitar build, it's just a harp ukulele on a much bigger scale!).