Ukulele!

Hey – I finished the Uke!

Gluing up the neck

Gluing up the neck

When I left you last – I’d finished with the neck – and was ready to glue it up. So I got a cam strap out of my truck, and a bar clamp – and glued it up.

Damp sand

Damp sand

I’d sanded the body and the neck separately up through 320 grit sandpaper – then – I wiped down the uke with a damp rag, let it dry, and sanded it down with first 400, then 600 grit sandpaper. The water raises the fibers of the wood – and then they get sanded off – theoretically.

Mixing up the shellac

Mixing up the shellac

I’m going to finish the uke with what’s called a French Polish. It’s not a polish at all – bat a lot of hyper-thin layers of shellac. I start off by mixing up shellac flakes with pure grain alcohol – we’re using a 2lb cut of shellac. I mixed up 1 cup – and after finishing the uke – I can’t tell that any was used.

uke_406You apply the shellac with what’s called  muneca or fad. I have a ball of gauze, and wrap it tightly in cotton (like t-shirt fabric).

The menuca

The menuca

You place a few drops of shellac at a time on the menuca – and then rub it onto the wood. I did 9 coats on my uke – I’d guess that less than a tablespoon of shellac went into those 9 coats.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

As you get more coats on, the alcohol in the shellac will melt the previous coats, and the menca will stick or drag. When that happens you put a drop of olive oil on it – and keep going. As the alcohol dries, the oil gets forced to the surface and you just wipe it off with a rag.

uke_408Here’s after about 6 coats – it’s a pretty nice finish – not shiny like poly – but pretty deep – I like the color as well.

uke_409One of the last things I had to do was make a nut – since the one the morons at Waldork Music sent was too short. I get a bone classical guitar nut blank from Stewart McDonald, and cut it to fit.

Making a nut

Making a nut

I profiled the back a little with a file – then marked off the string positions.

uke_411And used a nut slotting file to cut the slots for the strings. I’ve got the action pretty close – but there is some buzz on the C & A strings – so I probably need to ease the back of the nut some more on those – and I might take the action down a bit more. I also profiled the saddle (also bone), and I probably need to round it a bit more – it seems a little flat – and I might be getting some buzz from there.

uke_412But it kinds of looks like a uke. Kind of sounds like a uke. I’m going to call it a uke!

 

Kevo

 

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