Ukulele No. 1 #1: gluing up the back

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Blog entry by Justin M Schmidt posted 03-16-2013 04:39 AM 1512 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Ukulele No. 1 series Part 2: some progress at home »

I had this moment where it clicked – out of all the stupid hobbies and interests I’ve spread my attention so thin across, the one that really drives me and could be a career is definitely lutherie. I’ve always been into upgrading and repairing my own instruments, and working on friends’ gear. It’s also in my blood:

That’s my paternal grandfather’s work. Unfortunately I never got to meet him as he died when my father was young. Still, just knowing that he built these beautiful instruments inspires me.

Anyway… I’ve been taking a class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education since January called “Building and Repairing Stringed Instruments”, which should really be called “Figure out what the heck is going on while I build a ukulele.” (that’s another blog post.) This is where my recent interest in woodworking came from – I learned pretty quickly that the only way one can build an instrument that’s worth the wood it’s made from is to master working wood first. (that’s a mouthful.)

Tonight I put together the board that will make the back of the uke: I planed some padauk planks and glued them up with a checkered backstrip and some black/white/black perfling strips. Here’s some pics:

that’s a cool trick – drive some nails into a board at an angle, clamp your first board in place, then glue on any strips and your second board. Add another row of nails and then bend them all over the wood to secure. Wipe down the joint to soak the wood a little bit and remove any excess glue.

-- Justin M Schmidt | Somerville, Massachusetts |

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16752 posts in 3846 days

#1 posted 03-16-2013 03:12 PM

Looks interesting Justin. Your grandfather’s work looks super too, a good example to follow.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shampeon's profile


1900 posts in 2696 days

#2 posted 03-16-2013 05:20 PM

Lovely. That’s going to be a beautiful uke.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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