Sanding, Sanding, Sanding (to the tune of Rawhide)

So, when we last left our ukulele – it had been screwed and reglued.
Uke_303Here’s the top glued up – and while I waited for that to dry, I took a look at the neck.

My Shed

My Shed

But – here’s a shot through the door of my shed – this is where I’m doing all the hard work to screw up this ukulele build.


The neck is not even

So, the first thingt I need to do with the neck is get the fingerboard trimmed to fit and square with the neck. Simple enough – I figured I’d just draw a line down the center of the neck, and the center of the fingerboard – line them up and Bob’s your uncle. But it looks like Uncle Cleetus cut this neck – the dovetail is not in the center of the neck – Argggg. So I had to take about 1/8″ off one side of the next to make it square with the dovetail (and ultimately the body).

Rasping the neck to sizeSo I marked the waste line, and started rasping the neck down. I have to match the profile as well – which is all kind of by eye and by feel.

The reglued top

The reglued top

So, for the top – I reglued the waste back in place from my spastic coping saw job – looks scary bad here.

Uke_309But not quite so terrible once I got the sides rasped down to within sanding distance of the body. From here I used 80, 120, 220, and 320 grit sandpaper to sand down the sides and the top and back.

Uke_306I used 3/4 and 1/2 ply with sandpaper glued in place for most of it – but for the curved bits I used some 3″ PVC pipe that I cut with my backsaw so I could hold a piece of sandpaper in place.

Uke_307I worked pretty well for the curved bits – especially at the waist.

Uke_310But mostly I used flat blocks to sand it down.  Not many pictures of  sanding – too much sawdust – which is my excuse for not taking pictures.

Uke_311There was plenty of sawdust.  And the top only looks kind of horrible now that it’s trimmed and sanded.

Uke_312After sanding down to 320 grit, the next step for the body is to use a clear filler on the wood. This just fills the pores – which on his mahogany are huge – so when we get the final finish on it will be smooth. The sealer is about the consistency of the paste we ate in kindergarten – you brush it all – and then use a bondo squeegee to squeegee it across the grain – which removes most of it – but pushes it down into the pores (theoretically).

Uke_313I let the first coat dry for a couple of hours – did another pass with the 320 – and then put on another coat of sealer. This should do it. I’ve left the body hanging up to dry – and when I get back it’s time to finish dealing with the neck.

Now I have to go practice


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