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 15, 2014

Making A Boat Paddle Tenor Ukulele - Part 11 - Fine Tuning and Trial Fit

I have looked back on my first ukulele build, and I can't help comparing it with my current project.
I have noticed that I have become less structured, and more chaotic in my approach and the documenting of the process.
I think that this is a reflection on life as I am experiencing it at the moment.
There are so many irons in the fire, and I feel like a juggler in a three ring circus.
How the pace of our lives keeps changing!
Yet we adjust to the exigencies of the present.

Trial Fitting the Neck and Body

The tenon that is the middle lamination on the neck will fit into a mortice that I cut into the neck block.  This explains why the neck block was so large to begin with.

I use a tenon saw with a fine kerf, taking care not to cut too far into the neck block.  It needs to hold the whole cutaway top together.

After cutting the mortice to depth, the waste is simply chiselled out and the cavity tidied up.

Here is the neck tenon and its mortice - ready for a trial fit.
The fit should be snug but not over-tight, and it should bring the shoulders of the neck flush with the top side of the body.

I had a fair bit of fiddling around with a little block plane and edge rebate plane until I was happy with the fit.

The thickness of the soundboard determines how far above the body the neck will sit.
I have kept an offcut of the soundboard to use as a handy gauge of where the neck will go.
This is important as the fretboard will be glued over both of these, and they must be in the same plane.

Here is a better view showing that the neck sits a little above the body, so as to leave room for the soundboard skin to fit perfectly.

Trial Fitting the Front and Back

I spent the rest of the afternoon trial fitting the front (the soundboard) and the back to the body.
This is done by trial and error, as the linings cover the mating surfaces - and need to be checked constantly.

Small checks are taken out of the linings to accommodate the cross braces.
As can be seen here, I am working on the soundboard/body fit at this point, and you will notice that I have not yet glued in place the re-inforcing strips that will sit between the fan braces.
These will become the backing for the bridge.
I'll do this while the back is glued to the body and is drying.  The two can dry together.

Once I am happy with the trial fit of the front, I'll put it aside and work on the trial fit of the back until I am happy with that.

Next step is to glue the back in place.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Making A Boat Paddle Tenor Ukulele - Part 10 - Assembling all the Parts

Roll Call of Parts

Here are the front and back skins that were made previously.
At the moment they are over-large, and they will be trimmed to size after gluing them to the body.

Shown below are almost all of the parts - assembled before fitting and gluing together.

From top to bottom:
  1. Body
  2. Four tuners
  3. Laminated neck
  4. Headboard - to be glued on before tuners are added
  5. Fretboard and 
  6. Nut
  7. Bridge
  8. Back skin
  9. Soundboard

There is much remaining to be done.

Final Assembly Steps

Here is a guide to the remaining steps in order.
  1. The mortice for the tenon on the neck, has to be cut into the neck block on the body.
  2. The neck is only roughly formed and needs shaping.
  3. The fretboard needs to be laid out, and cut for the fret wires.
  4. The fret-wires need to be inlaid.
  5. The back needs to be glued in place.
  6. The neck without fretboard is glued to the body - before the soundboard is attached (see number 9 for care in fitting).
  7. The soundboard is glued to the front - covering the neck tenon (see number 9 for care in fitting).
  8. The fretboard is glued in place, over the top of the neck and over the top of the soundboard.
  9. It is important that the top surface of the neck, and the top face of the soundboard are in exactly the same plane when finished, so that the fretboard covers them cleanly.
  10. Headboard and nut are glued in place, and trimmed to fit the outline of the headstock.
  11. The holes are drilled for the tuners.
  12. Final trimming, and the body cleaned and sanded.
  13. The bridge, nut and fretboard are covered with tape to protect them from overspray - and the whole body is given several finishing coats of lacquer.
  14. Tuners are fitted, and the ukulele is strung for playing.
Since the neck is my next major project - here are its parts laid out:

As you can see, the fret-wire comes in lengths to be cut as applied.
The fretboard is already inlaid - I did not do this lovely work - a skilled artist in Saigon was responsible for this, and I purchased several of these inlaid fretboards for the ukuleles that I intend making.
This is the first time that I have used such a fretboard, and am excited to be able to include it.
It is Indian rosewood inlaid with mother of pearl and abalone shell.

The tuners shown are black, but I may change these to ivory if I think it suits the finished uke better.

OK - enough for now.
I'll post again as the assembly process continues

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

School Holidays - Grandchildren and Woodwork

Our grandkids came to stay for the last little while as their parents are both working.
Since LOML and I are retired, we score the munchkins every holidays.
Most regular things seem to come to a halt when the ankle biters arrive, but occasionally I get to take them to the shed for some woodworking time.

My eldest grandson is in high school, so a project that will challenge him and satisfy his creative muse will be different from that for the little-uns.

Ry had a crack at an end-grain cutting block for his mum for her kitchen, and Em had a go at making a simple box.

Here are some progress piccies.

Ry planing the edges of his creation.
Lie Nielsen Low angle jack plane.

Chamfering the edges with a low angle Millers Falls Block plane

Em - the essence of nailing concentration

I love working with my grandkids at the workshop.
They like it too.
Happy shavings to all