Now I also make jewelry

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Finishing coats

Drying in the shade, a new baritone uke.




Saturday, 2 August 2014

Glueing on the bridge

The jig.







The jig in action.

The bridge is on (this is the next uke, a baritone):






Friday, 1 August 2014

Bridge, saddle and nut

I have made the bridge by carving a piece of tulipwood, and the saddle with ebony. The strings go directly through the bridge and the soundboard with a simple knot to hold them underneath.
 
The nut is made of cocobolo. The notches for the strings, of various thicknesses, are made with tiny round files: they're just welding tip cleaners that you can buy at the hardware store--quite economical and they do the job. 


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The neck

I've carved the neck out of mahogany. The heel, at bottom, is made with several layers that have been glued together and onto the neck itself: not as elegant as a single piece, but there's much less wastage of wood.
The sides, at the junction with the fretboard, have been covered with the same cherry veneer as the edges of the body. This is to cover the light-colored layer of cedar between the neck roper and the fretboard: in this instance, I've built the front of the uke with a single board of yellow cedar that extends from the bottom of the soundboard all the way to the nut at the top of the neck.
The headstock or peghead, at an angle to the the neck, was made with a scarf joint and later carved into this shape with much elbow grease. I've covered it with a layer of an exotic wood (I can't identify it) which has an extraordinary wavy grain and gorgeous color.



Saturday, 19 July 2014

The sides

They're made from 1/16" (1.6mm) maple.  The banding is a very thin cherry veneer which I've glued directly onto the edges. It's always a challenge to bend the wood without breaking it when you want to have a "thin" waist, and this is as far as I could go.



Friday, 18 July 2014

Tenor uke back

The back is made from an exceptional "slice" of honey locust with remarkable grain and color. It is very slightly domed, due to the curved bracing: that is traditionally supposed to improve the sound, but it also makes the back sturdier and more resistant to knocks and such, should you happen to use the instrument as a defensive weapon in a scuffle:)



Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tenor ukulele soundboard

This figure-eight shape is the outcome of years of trying to achieve MY perfect silhouette... Not quite there yet, on account of my rather primitive method of bending wood, but pretty good.
The soundboard is made with my favorite: yellow cedar (yellow cypress, Alaskan cedar, nootka cedar... cupressus nootkatensis). The pale yellow has naturally darkened with the finish. There's a slight dark spot under the soundhole: a reminder that the wood comes from what was an actual living organism, warts and all.