Monday, August 31, 2009


Well, I got the top braces glued in and carved to shape with a chisel over the weekend. I've done a bit more shaping since this and got the ends tapered right down flush with the top. A little more sanding is in order still but you can't see glue marks anymore and it looks really "nice!"

I also decided to try to put a "zipper" in the back, even after the body was mostly together. I built a jig that would flex with the curve of the back and routed a slot for the inlay. Of course it wasn't quite wide enough so I had to use scrapers and a chisel to carefully widen the channel a hair. But it's now glued in and looks good. This will also force me to try binding the body which I wanted to do anyway but again, it's once of those operations I've never done (like the zipper), which is fraught with possibilities for really messing the whole thing up. But first I need to get the top glued on... I'm getting closer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a mock up

The rosette went "ok...", they just never seem to turn out "right on" and always need some tweaking.

I still need to sand a little more as some of the super glue is visible where it soaked into the wood.

When I got done I just set the top on the body and set the neck up next to it, the neck stripe will only be visible from the back once the fingerboard and headstock veneer is in place.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


They're scary! No room for mistakes. I cut the ring to inset for my tenor tonight. I used Sheoak since I'd used it for the tail graft already and I think it'll look great against the western red cedar top.

It took 2 tries after I miscalculated on the first one... maybe I can use it for a soprano down the road.

I still need to cut the groove in the top to fit it in and the ring is also WAY too thick still. I'll have to sand it down some, maybe before gluing it to the top (I'll use double stick tape to hold it down so it doesn't move and crack).

The top is only about 0.070" so routing halfway through is "interesting". It's hot and sticky in my garage now and the mosqitos are coming out... I'm going to wait until tomorrow so I don't rush it and make a mistake. I'll also cut a groove in a test board first to make sure it's RIGHT before cutting my top.
I'll also cut the soundhole while I'm at it... I suppose I should cut the soundhole reinforcement plate while I'm at it too... so much to remember...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Build pics

Ok, here are some build pics as promised. I've been working on these over the last month or so.
This first picture is the plans I made for my tenor. I used basic measurements but made the curves to my taste using visio. When printed to scale it used 4 sheets of paper.

Here is my wood for the tenor. It's curly cherry and western red cedar.

Here is the wood I picked for the soprano. It's satinwood and old growth redwood.

Here I've glued up mdf for the tenor mold and getting it cut out.

Here is the next step, building the side bending mold for the tenor using the inside bits of the mold.

Here I'm gluing in the braces. I've got it sitting in my 8ft radius dish to put a nice curve on the back.

Here is the neck glued up from spanish cedar, ready for some carving.

I also bent the sides for the soprano and scarfed/glued up a few neck blanks while I was at it. Ok, so I made a mistake on once of them and needed to do another tenor size... but the mistake can be used for another soprano or concert.

Here is the tenor back and sides all glued up, just waiting for a top and neck.

And it's tough to tell in this shot but the side of the neck closest is pretty well rough shaped here.

I just keep poking away it when I get the chance, I hope I can finish it before Milwaukee at the end of September!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Aug meeting

Don't forget the meeting at Como on Monday night Aug 10th, 7-9pm.

See the nexo site for info on the pool party at Sue's on Sat Aug 15th.

Sharp tools make for easy woodworking... but can be tough on fretting fingers!
Nothing serious but took a nick out of my left index finger tonight with a sharp chisel. We'll see if it affects my playing.

And I ended up getting some spanish cedar for my uke necks... I wonder how I can tell if it's really "spanish" cedar vs some other variety? I may have to do some research on that one.