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Pair of Ukes

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Project by HankLP posted 03-07-2020 02:43 AM 877 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made a pair of ukes to see if there was any efficiency doing two at once – it basically took twice as long. One has an Ebony finger board, rosette, top binding and headstock overlay; the other uses Purple Heart. Back and sides of both are Jatoba – also known as Brazilian Cherry. The tops are Sitka Spruce, and American Cherry is the lighter colored wood seen on the back. A Spanish heel was used in lieu of a dovetail or mortise to connect the neck to the body. [With the Spanish heel, the neck and neck block are made from a single piece of wood]

Just strung them up today. They sound pretty good, but some setup work remains on the nuts and bridges.
This was my first time with rosettes and bindings. They turned out ok, but I’m looking forward to upping my game on the next pair of ukes which will be Tiger Maple





12 comments so far

View GaryCN's profile

GaryCN

475 posts in 4740 days


#1 posted 03-07-2020 01:56 PM

StewMac kit or did you build them from scratch? The came out looking great.

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

View sras's profile

sras

5535 posts in 3935 days


#2 posted 03-07-2020 04:10 PM

Very nice!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

834 posts in 2098 days


#3 posted 03-07-2020 07:37 PM

Great work. Wish we could hear you play them.

-- James E McIntyre

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1307 days


#4 posted 03-07-2020 07:54 PM

Thanks for the comments. I re-sawed all the wood for these. We have a great wood store – Edensaw Lumber – here in the Pacific NW. Getting the sides and back to uniform thickness is done with the drum sander shown in my first project. It’s made to operate with the Total Shop (a ShopSmith knockoff) and can sand down to 1/16th inch thickness.

View AJ1104's profile (online now)

AJ1104

1106 posts in 2465 days


#5 posted 03-07-2020 09:59 PM

Very beautiful instruments. I love the wood selection and overall great build. Getting the wood resawed and milled to 1/16 must have been a challenge. Nice job!

-- AJ

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1307 days


#6 posted 03-07-2020 10:22 PM

Thanks AJ. I just have to stand there and feed the material as the thickness planer I built doesn’t have a motorized feed mechanism. The commercial planners I’ve seen usually have a minimum thickness of 1/8” to 1/4” as well as a hefty price tag.

View AM420's profile

AM420

292 posts in 1189 days


#7 posted 03-07-2020 10:52 PM

Very nice! My wife plays uke and I’d like to make a pair for her and my daughter someday. And tips on resources for how to build, best woods for sound quality, etc?

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1307 days


#8 posted 03-08-2020 05:02 AM

AM,

Thanks for your comment. Where to start? I started out building an Appalachian dulcimer with a kit from Folkcraft about ten years ago. Instrument building has been a learning process since then gleaning a lot of information from the University of YouTube. The internet is loaded with videos and blogs which have step by step instructions to complete a ukulele. Stewart McDonald (stewmac.com) and Luthiers Mercantile (LMII.com) have materials, plans, and lots of learning videos. They also have kits which may be a good place to start. I have been playing guitars and banjos for many years so a lot of what I have learned has come by osmosis. Hope you find something to kick off a build, and maybe you’ll start playing too. Best of luck to you. Hank

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1307 days


#9 posted 03-09-2020 07:06 AM

By the way… my comment above should have stated “thickness sander”, not “planer.”

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

528 posts in 192 days


#10 posted 03-09-2020 02:05 PM

Those look great! Did you use a hot pipe for bending the sides? How did you find jatoba for bending? Thanks

-- Darrel

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1307 days


#11 posted 03-09-2020 08:43 PM

Darrel,

I broke down a while ago and purchased a bending iron from StewMac – much better than the torch and pipe set up. I’m still getting used to the bending, but the .060” thickness worked much better than 0.100”. The Jatoba comes from Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend WA – www.edensaw.com. Fortunate to have them so close, and walking through their warehouse of domestic and exotic woods is a treat.

Hank

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

528 posts in 192 days


#12 posted 03-10-2020 12:11 AM


Darrel,

I broke down a while ago and purchased a bending iron from StewMac – much better than the torch and pipe set up. I m still getting used to the bending, but the .060” thickness worked much better than 0.100”. The Jatoba comes from Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend WA – www.edensaw.com. Fortunate to have them so close, and walking through their warehouse of domestic and exotic woods is a treat.

Hank

- HankLP

I hear you. The Stewmac one is supposed to be good. I did my first few with a couple of home built pipes using a 300 watt bulb and dimmer for one and a 200 watt halogen bulb and dimmer for the other. They worked fine but I finally broke down and bought a blanket and bender from Bluescreek 7 or 8 years ago. It sure sped things up but you need to make a form for every shape. Keep on building!

-- Darrel

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