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.