Tuesday, September 15, 2009

half hour cabinet scraper workout

It was still warm and muggy outside but I sat in the yard and worked up a sweat tonight.
I thought the sides were looking pretty tough but a half hour with the cabinet scraper followed by a minute or two with some 100 grit and I'm a happy guy! I'll still need to work through some finer grits but this is very encouraging. I love how it looks and the tap tone is good. The top and sides are under 0.070" and I tried hard not to over brace it. I'm going for a lightweight, good sounding uke... in other words I'm trying VERY hard NOT to over build it. Just had to share!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

top binding in place

Here it is with the binding taped on and already glued. I tape the binding on first, using a hair dryer to heat the binding and help it bend in the tight waist and upper bout curves. After it was taped on I applied the CA super glue in the gaps, the glue wicked under the binding... and unfortunately under the tape too. But that was why I'd applied the Shellac yesterday! After applying the glue I also added additional tape and pressure using tools on hand until the glue set.

After the glue was dry I removed the tape and here you see the mess of adhesive soaked super glue. A pain in the butt to clean up, but do-able.

Almost all cleaned up and looking good! I think normal sanding will take care of it from here.

Now that both top and back binding is in place I still need to clean up the sides which is a little tougher but hopefully not too bad. There isn't as much glue or adhesive but I'll also be sanding/scraping the wide surface of the binding which may be touchy, we'll see!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

StrumMn meetup at Java J's

Don't forgat that we're meeting up at Java J's on Monday Sept 14th. Visit StrumMn.Nexo.com for details.


I want to try my hand at putting binding on this uke. To do this I built a new jig/tool last weekend. I had to do some ugly welding (I'm out of practice) and mount this angled piece to a heavy duty drawer slide (from Axman's). The router is then kept verticle and I can keep both hands on the uke body. I tried it out last night and it worked pretty well.

Here you can see a wood guide I added to the bottom. This is necessary because of the radiused top and back, otherwise the router bit wouldn't keep the right distance from the top. You can see I added my routing directions so I would do things right.

I also decided to try my hand at inlay for the headstock. This is my first ever attempt. Here are my initials (minus the verticle on the left side), I'm leaving that off to be "artsy."

Here the binding channels are complete. I decided against purfling this time, maybe on the next one.

In this shot I've already started removing the tape. I first tried some special glue made just for plastic binding but the work time is so quick that I started to make a mess of it and had to remove it, clean up the channels and start over. I stopped to research things some more and ended up using CA glue instead (super glue). It left a real mess to clean up as it wicked under the tape and across the back.

Here is the back, all bound, and mostly cleaned up. I won't clean up the sides until I finish binding the front.

The back was such a mess that I'm afraid the CA will really wick into the Western Red Cedar top. I stopped and went to the store and bought some shellac. I'm hoping this will seal the grain a bit so the glue won't wick in but still allow it to adhere well. Then I'll sand the shellac completely off after the binding is on. This also gives a little preview of how the top will look with some finish on it... I like it!

I love the look of tortoise binding but I'm getting the idea that plastic binding in general can be a pain in the butt! With wood binding I could just use Titebond and work it like normal. We'll see if the extra effort is worth it when it's complete.