Monday, May 31, 2010

'Ukulele complete

Model# UMCTL10
Serial# SBBBMT01

For more information about this 'ukulele, please visit

Shape nut, shape saddle, and string up the uke

Do not glue the nut at the top of the neck or saddle into the bridge. Why? It makes changing the action of the strings easy.

Gluing the bridge

Determine your scale length and mark where you want to place your bridge with tape. Scrape off the area where the bridge is going to be glued with a razor, then glue bridge and hold with a bridge clamp. Hold for 24 hours.

Finishing with Tru-oil - Do not rush this process.

Before you add the bridge, sand the whole 'ukulele starting at 80 grit until you get your desired thickness on the soundboard. Be sure to put some pencil marks around the whole body so you know how much material you are removing. Use the following progression of sandpaper, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180 then stop at 220.

Get a damp cloth and wipe the 'ukulele and let dry. There will be little hairs that rise when it dries, sand and repeat process at least twice until you do not feel any more wood hairs after you wipe the uke with a damp cloth.

Now you can progress to 320 and even up to 400 for a smooth finishing surface. You want to make sure that with each progression of sandpaper you remove the scratches from the last sandpaper grit.

Once you reach your desired smoothness,  you are ready to add your first coat of finish.

Only apply 2 coats of oil per day. Wipe on then wipe off immediately. Repeat process until you reach your desired shine.

Sound hole and fret board

Cut your sound hole and glue on the fret board.

Trimming the soundboard and back

The uke is boxed and ready to trim.

We begin trimming the excess off the soundboard and back with a rasp and file, then finish with a router. 
When routing be careful when routing around the curved edges because the grain changes direction and you can tear out more wood then you want.

Gluing the back

First dry fit the back by placing it on top of the 'ukulele sides in the same jig used to glue the sides and tentalones, lineup the center points of the back and uke body, then clamp without gluing anything yet.

Once clamped, then uke over and mark the braces where they touch the sides. Unclamp the back then measure the thickness of the tentalones at the point where you made the mark on the back brace bars.

When clamping the back to the sides, make sure apply even pressure around the whole uke body.

Now the 'ukulele is boxed and we are ready to trim the excess off the sound board and back.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


When gluing the top and bottom tentalones around the sides use small sections and make sure they are clamped tight around the curves.

Sand the edges of the tentalones so the are flexible. It will break in some spots but thats ok, as long as you can clamp them to the sides, it will help support your sides to your soundboard and backboard.
Add a spare piece of wood to make the sides level with the base of the neck. Sand the inside before attaching the back to the side. Once the back in glued on, the 'ukulele is in a "boxed" "white" stage, and the only access to sand the inside will be through the soundhole.

Monday, May 10, 2010

attaching sides

Once the sides have been dry fit into neck slot and the seam at the back is tight, make 4 wedges from left over veneers and then hinge the back with tape.

After you have set the sides into the neck slot, squeeze the shimes in between to close up any gaps, then clamp the heel block.

Clamp the sides down with spool clamps and make sure the sides are touching your template line on the sound board.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Week 6 - Attaching the sides to the soundboard.

1st make sure that the neck and body are flush, so the fret board does not have any gaps when it is dry fitted to the neck. Sand until flush.

Take out a form jig which will help clamp the sides down to the soundboard.

Take the sides out of the holding jig, which held the sides in place for 1 week after they were bent.

Headstock veneer

When gluing the headstock veneer to headstock, leave some room to be creative.

Find the center of the headstock and line up with the center of the veneer. Make the veneer larger then the headstock so you can trim the excess. Cut a 15 degree angle at the base where the veneer meets the nut line. This will ensure that the seam is flush.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tone bars and bracings

When gluing the tone bars and bracings, use go bars under a go deck so the pressure is displaced evenly across each piece. Use a cut straw to clean up any excess Tight bond glue after appling the go bars.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Week 1 - Sound hole Inlays

Once you locate the center of your soundhole, drill a 1/16 hole, and route a 3" groove around the center point.

Use a router with a guidepin.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Week 1 - Back and soundboard

Book matching the sound board and back gives the instrument symetry and character. Off set the pieces when gluing so you can find the center line during the building process.

Mark your points for the back braces and tone bars. 

Week 1 - Design, template, and materials

Decide on a design. Make a template. Book match and glue soundboard and back, line up sides. Transfer template to soundbaord and back. Cut out basic form and leave about a 1/4" overhang from your actual template line.

Choose your building material.

1) Soundboard
2) Sides
3) Back
4) Neck
5) Fret board
6) bracing
7) Tone bars