Now I also make jewelry

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Mahogany tenor dewdrop

After the mostly cherry tenor dewdrop, I wanted to try and make an all-mahogany one. Everything went well with the body: bracing, glueing, sanding, and perfectly symmetrical for once. Then I joined it to the neck and everything went awry: the angle was too far back, so I had to add several thin layers to the top of the neck to compensate; then, when it came time to add the fretboard, I discovered the neck had been filed and sanded far too much on one side, so I added additional layers to it. Then shaping the nut and saddle, they were never tall enough, so I ended up adding to the bridge to support an extra high saddle: five nuts and three saddles later, the action was finally right. During the whole process, I seriously considered chucking the whole thing several times, but I couldn't give up on that great mahogany body without pangs of regret. Well, sometimes persistence does pay off: this uke is the clearest and loudest sounding one I've produced so far with a terrific sustain.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Posing with my favorite flowers, this uke is quite similar to the previous soprano, but with a concert neck and VSL (15") since I'm partial to the concert fretboard. Same woods as well except for the padouak fretboard and cocobolo bridge.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Little Devil

This little (concert-size) guy may be lopsided, but he makes up for it by being exceptionally sonorous. I used cross bracing for the soundboard: it seems to have worked well.

Walnut sides and back (with an ebony divider) and western red cedar soundboard. Mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard and bridge with a bloodwood saddle and ebony nut.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Family portrait

Soprano, concert and tenor... I can feel a baritone coming.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Dewdrop tenor uke

A dewdrop-shaped tenor uke with cherry back (look at that color!) and sides.
The answer to last week question on the wood used for the previous ukulele: basswood! It's usually bland in appearance, while this piece had that stunning wavy figure from the start (is there such a thing as curly basswood?); it also felt velvety to the touch. I'm glad I went ahead and used it as a soundboard.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Mysterious wood concert uke

Can you guess what the wood used for the soundboard is? It isn't bookmatched unfortunately because I only found a single 2' by 4" thin sheet of it. It was so unusual I just had to use it, but I had to wait until I could apply the finish to see the true beauty of it revealed.
The rest is easy: plain maple, cherry, ebony, mahogany.
Just to prove to myself I could build a traditional-looking uke more or less by the book.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Another tenor with a medieval look. My first attempt at piercing a rosette directly in the soundboard. Another first for me: a very thin cherry banding glued onto the outside of the ribs.

A highly figured piece of maple for the back, Douglas fir for the soundboard, plain hard maple for the sides, rosewood for the fretboard, cocobolo for the nut and the bridge with an ebony saddle. The neck is made of three pieces : a paradoxically white piece of black walnut with a heel of hard maple and a very thing band of padouak in-between.
I really like the way this whole instrument handles. Strung with a low G, it is highly resonant with a deep sustain.