Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Building a Ukulele - Part 5 - Backs and Necks

Yep, the rosette cutter is still over in Wauchope, so the soundboard still awaits.  However, not to waste time, I did some work on the back and the neck today.

The back, like the sides, is made from sassafras.  I cut these two bookmatched pieces from a board milled over at the Hastings Woodworkers Guild Clubrooms.  It has a little character that pleases, and hopefully will have some nice tonal qualities in the finished ukulele.

I have made an MDF template for the tenor sized ukulele, and to create the little bit of overlap that I need, I use a washer with the pencil in the marking out - silky smooth.

There are some ragged parts around the edges of this sassafras, but that was in the board when I ripped it.  Positioning the template carefully avoids these.

I will be careful to save the offcut at the top, as this has just enough width to be used as a centre strip, to re-inforce the glue join in the back.

Its grain is short and it will sit across the join at right angles to the run of the grain in the back.  Waste not - want not.

 It has the bonus of having the same tonal quality as the back, so may be an advantage in the sound department as well.

The bandsaw makes short work of cutting out the back.

 There will be three braces across the back - one across the waist and one across each of the bouts (the widest part at the top and the widest part at the bottom) - upper and lower.
These are radiused on the 15 foot sanding block that I made earlier, and the curved sides are glued to the inside of the back, giving it a gentle curve.

I really should make a jig for this, but in the meantime here is the glue up with numerous clamps and their packing.  The braces still need shaping, but I will do that when they are firmly glued and dry.

While the back dries, I started work on shaping the neck.  It is waaaay oversize at the moment and shows all the rough cutting from the bandsaw. 
The headstock needs smoothing, and this will be dressed up with a glued on piece of veneer after it is shaped.  I am using this little Lie Nielsen block rebate plane, as it can plane right up to the tiny lip that seats the nut.

After some refining of the shape, it is time to start rounding the neck to a more gracious curve, that will be kind to the left hand that plays the fretboard. 
I am using course and finer rasps at this stage, and have to be extra careful - as these can remove a lot of wood in a very short time. 
Here is where the jig that I made, to hold the neck while shaping, comes into its own.

Things are coming along nicely.  Once the neck is formed, it will be time to bend up the body and glue in the end blocks.

Can't wait ..................

No comments:

Post a Comment