Summer Uke Build #8: Gluing Top Bracing, Roughing Back Braces

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Blog entry by onoitsmatt posted 12-21-2016 11:57 PM 1357 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Tail detail/Kerfed Lining/Top Braces Part 8 of Summer Uke Build series Part 9: Not summer anymore but still a uke build »

Another vacation day today and so another day in the shop.

Today I made a bridge plate. The only stock I had on hand that was already thin enough and hard enough to do the job was some cut-off wood from the uke sides (padauk). So I just cut it to size and routed a channel to accomodate the center brace (I also cut a notch in the center brace to overlap).

I split the above brace accidentally while carving the notch, so I made a new brace and notched/used it.

Then i glued up the top braces and bridge plate. Fortunately the Uke is small enough that I could use clamps for glue-up rather than needing a go-bar deck or other jig to glue the braces in place. I had originally planned to radius the top and back of the uke, but since I am trying to expedite the build, I am doing a flat top and radiused back. I glued the center brace last. I glued bridge plate and other braces first, then when the glue dried on those, I glued in the center brace over the bridge. (I made the cam clamp pictured a few months ago with the intent of making a bunch of various sizes but time got away from me and this is the only one that got finished).

I notched out the kerfed lining where the top braces will intersect the sides. I also rough cut the shape for the top and back today (previously the top and back were still big, book-matched panels. Today they are vaguely ukulele shaped.

Here is the top with the braces glued in and rim placed on top.

I also shaped the back braces today. For brace wood I had an old 2×3 in the shop that was pretty straight-grained. It looks like some kind of spruce (it is very light colored). I split the 2×3 to get very rough stock.

After splitting, I planed smooth, then cut to length and planed to thickness, etc. until I had a brace blank. Then cut the blanks to the right shape. I have a radius dish I made for the back, so sanded the braces on the dish to get the proper radius.

Here the braces are taped into place. I had planned on gluing these today, but since these are radiused I couldn’t come up with a simple way of doing this on the dish without a go-bar deck. I have all the pieces to make one, just haven’t done it yet. So that’ll be on the to-do list for tomorrow.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

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