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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:10 am 
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Nounou Moai
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 am
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Friends, mix yourself another cocktail, pour another whiskey, or open another beer and then gather 'round the fireplace as I tell you all a sad story. And like that old song from Hee Haw, it is filled with gloom, dispair, and agony on me. :cry:
Ok, it's not really that bad. I will explain:

If you look at the pictures above, you will see that I put a small oval sound hole in the corner of the top. Around that oval I added a mahogany oval inlay. What you cant see in those pics is that there was some tear-out around the edges of the inlay where my tools didn't cut exactly smooth. So it left a small gap in the inlay on two different sides. Even though it didn't look that bad, I knew the error was there and it really bothered me. So, in classic Fred fashion, I tried to fix it and in the process I made it 100 times worse than it ever was. :x
Now, there were also a few other minor errors I made with the top. Nothing that anyone would have ever noticed, but again, I knew they were there.
So in light of all this, I made the decision to remove the top (sound board), and replace it.
I cut off the top with a router bit and then sanded the whole top edge flat again.
I will have to redo all the bracing and tone bars again, but this time I will make it better.
I ordered some Sitka Spruce for the top this time which should produce a nice, warm sound.
It should arrive here tomorrow, along with the tuners and a couple of new tools.
Yes, it sucks that I have to redo a bunch of it, but I really do feel like I made the right decision. Now I know that whoever winds up with this uke will have a quality instrument that I can be proud of.

Here is where I'm at after all that.
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In the mean time, while I'm waiting for my package to arrive, I worked on the fretboard.
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I measured and cut in the tapered edges on the table saw. Then I added the marker dots.
I chose Gold Mother of Pearl this time. They are a beautiful irridesent gold color with flashes of green. I think they will compliment the spruce top nicely.
Please notice that there is a dot on the 10th fret instead of the 9th fret like a guitar. For some reason, traditional ukes that have marker dots do it this way, although I couldn't find and information to explain why.

Then I added the frets. The key here is to get the frets seated completely flat without pressing them too far into the wood while being careful not to dent or create flat spots in the frets.
I cut my frets to length and then used a small piece of hardwood and my drill press to gently press the frets into place.
Then, one at a time, I put masking tape around the frets to protect the wood, then I trimmed, filed, and sanded the edges of each fret so that all of the sharp edges were removed.
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During the long Thanksgiving weekend I should be able to get the new soundboard and fretboard on, and maybe even be able to finish up the headstock.

Please don't be afraid to comment or ask any questions!

~Fred


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Nounou Moai
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 am
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Hello, Friends. It's time for my weekend update.
Once I had the top off, I was free to add the label to the inside that I forgot to add in the first place. The label that you see was designed by the fabulously talented Savage Patty. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude!!
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I got over excited with the new top and worked for a long while without taking any pictures. (not that anybody would be upset by that :roll: )
I measued and rough cut the new top, cut in the new sound hole, then glued, trimmed, and sanded everything. I am very pleased with my decision to replace the old top. The new one looks terrific.
Then I added a layer of spruce veneer to the headstock. When it was dried I cut out the shape on the bandsaw, then finished it with sand paper.
Here is how it looked at that stage with a close up of the headstock.
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Then I carefully measured and glued on the fretboard to the neck. It's not that easy to get it glued on in the precise spot it needs to be in because before the glue sets the wood wants to slide around on itself. Next time I will put in some temporary locating pins through the fretboard into the neck to eliminate that problem.
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After the clamps are off it's finally starting to look like a uke!
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Then I had to sand and shape the nut so that it firmly fit inside the slot created by the end of the fretboard and the headstock veneer. Once it fits snugly and the height above the frets is correct I sanded in a 15 degree slope to the top of the nut to match the break angle of the headstock. I will cut in the string slots later in the build.
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Then I had to shape and sand the bridge. A Kasha style bridge is bell shaped instead of the traditional rectangle shape. The theory is that the wider area on the bass side, in conjunction with the longer tone bars on the inside, will create a lower frequency vibration, while the thinner side with shorter tone bars will do the opposite. All of this is supposed to create a richer sound.
In my research, I've discovered that this theory doesn't actually hold any water. While the tone it creates is, in fact, a wider spectrum of sound than a fan braced uke, it is not because different parts of the uke are creating different tones. In reality, the Kasha bridge and tone bracing is changing the "e.q." of the uke as a whole. What winds up happening is that the mid-range frequencies wind up cancelling out, which is what most musicians wind up doing with their electronic equalizers anyway. Some people love the sound, but a lot of people don't.
Of course, this is only things I've read. I will report my actual findings once I get some strings on this baby! :D
In this pic the bridge is not glued on yet. I wont do that until I've put on my finish.
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To find the bridge location, I measured exactly 17 3/32" from the nut to the center of the bridge. Once I found it, I put some masking tape over the area and then traced the bridge shape onto the tape. Then I measured a 16th" inside of that line and carefully cut through the tape and pulled away the outside.
This is so that I can apply my finish to the uke without covering the area I want my bridge to go.
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My next step will be to drill the holes for the tuners and add my finish.
I will be going with a hand rubbed oil finish on this one.

Thanks again for indulging me! :fez:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:29 pm 
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Tourist
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:38 pm
Posts: 74
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Personal Statement: Old soul, young at heart
Wow! What a gorgeous project in progress! Makes me want to actually learn to play the uke I have proudly displayed in my office. :wink:

MauiHowie


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:50 pm 
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Protector of the Golden Witco
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Location: I'm over here now!
Personal Statement: LIGHTS OUT!
Got to go with Granite on this. Love the wave in the fretboard and the head.

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Namaste-ake.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:39 pm 
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Nounou Moai
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Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Thanks guys!

Yeah Turbo, I agree with Granite too. It's sort of a signiture look that doesn't stray too far from traditional uke heads.

And Howie, you should definitely pick up that uke of yours. Or, better yet, you could leave it on your wall and buy one of mine! :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Nounou Moai
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Hey ukulele folks,

One last update before I post the finished pics this weekend.
This is the uke hanging with it's first coat of tru-oil.
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After a couple of coats I put on my logo decal. Or own Savage Patty helped me out by designing the logo for me.
Mahalo, Patty! I love it! :thumbsup:
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Here it is after a few more coats and a polish.
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The bridge is measured exactly 17" from the edge of the nut to the middle of the saddle plus 3/32".
You add the 3/32" because when you press the strings against the frets to play a note you are stretching the string longer by a small amount.
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I forgot to take a pic of the completed nut and saddle, but I shaped and sanded them to fit in their respective slots and polished them up to a nice shine.
Then I measured where the strings would fall across the saddle and marked on the bridge where the strings would attach.
At each of those four spots, I drilled a 1/16" hole all the way through the top of the uke. Then I fed the string through the hole and fished it out through the side of the uke. On that end I slipped on a plastic bead and then tied a knot on the end of the string along with a dab of super glue to make sure it didn't come loose.
Then I pulled the strings tight from the top again and attached them to the tuners.
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Voila! She is complete!
Tonight I will take a series of nicer finished pics and post them tomorrow, hopefully along with a sound clip.
I have to say that right now I am very, very happy with the sound. It's very warm with a lot of volume and it will only get better as the uke gets played.

Stay tuned!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Manawale'a Avahata
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It's beautiful! :wowza:

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A toast to my friends Roger, Rob, and Rugby Matt. Aloha au iā ‘oe.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:20 pm 
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Kere
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kristiki wrote:
It's beautiful! :wowza:

:shock: what she said.

awesome work Fred - how much you chargin' for these things...?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Honui Moai
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Location: Nashua, NH
Dynamite!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:00 pm 
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Nounou Moai
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 am
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
leisure master wrote:
kristiki wrote:
It's beautiful! :wowza:

:shock: what she said.

awesome work Fred - how much you chargin' for these things...?

Thank you everyone! This is truely a labor of love. I am so excited to show you all this and I can't wait to begin the next one. :fez:

I'm thinking it will be around $300 for this one, possibly less depending on how much it will cost me to make the next one. I really just want enough to get the next one going and buy a couple of new tools to make it easier and better.
If anyone is interested, just PM me and we can work it out.

~F


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:39 am 
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Nounou Moai
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 am
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Somehow I posted all these pics last night and now I see that they aren't here now. I think I hit preview and then just never hit submit. :oops:
Ok, so here she is. To reiterate, the back and sides are solid Honduran Mahogany and the top is one piece of Sitka Spruce.
On the inside is Kasha bracing with a spanish style neck. The finish is an open-pore, hand rubbed Tru-Oil finish. The tuners are Grover brand and the strings are Worth Browns.
Sometime over this weekend I will try and post a sound sample, but I can tell you that right now I am extremely pleased with how it plays and sounds. It's very warm with a lot of volume.
This beauty is still for sale, so don't be afraid to PM me with any questions.
Thanks to everyone who followed this thread!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:26 am 
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Nounou Moai
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It's beautiful! Nice job!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Nounou Moai
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 am
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Hey folks, I finally got a sound clip of the new uke online.
Hopefully my terrible playing and singing wont ruin it for you! :roll: :lol:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io04Bya_XBc


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:45 pm 
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Honui Moai
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Location: Nashua, NH
Great sound! Great tone! Great punch!!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:45 pm 
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Nounou Moai
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 am
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Location: The Leeward Lounge
Personal Statement: Stop distracting me.
Thank you, Carl!

FYI, I just listed the uke on Ebay. Check it out! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180786854237

~F


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