Last instrument ready for Reno

Here is the third “JC Mini” that I have made. It is a 3/4 scale Soprano Ukulele. You can get an idea of its size by comparison to the coffee mug.  The back and sides are made from a beautiful piece of Zircote wood. Zircote is from Central America and Mexico. It is a relatively hard wood and finished nicely. The top is one piece Sitka Spruce while the finger board and bridge are Birdseye Maple.  The tuners are the new GOTOH UPTL planetary tuners and the nut and saddle are buffalo horn.  I made the fingerboard just slightly wider than it would have been at 3/4 scale to make it a little easier to play. It will be fun to see the reactions to its size at the Reno Festival!

Standing by cup-1Back-1Head Plate-1Tuneres-1InCase-1

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More on the Tiger Myrtle Tenor

I spent some time this morning and now have the head plate attached to the neck and shaped to its final configuration. I also did the preliminary shaping of the heel. Then I cut a ledge on the back of the neck and attached the top. Next step is to mount the top/neck upside down on the solera (building platform) and prepare to attach the sides. (I have included a photo of the process of inlaying the fingerboard markers that I forgot in my last post.) (Click on the photos for a closer look)

Finger board inlay in progressPreliminary heel shapingAttaching head plateTop Shelf-1Join 2

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Tiger Tenor Progress

Today I installed the fret markers and began to fill in the small gaps around them.  You can see the tape to preclude epoxy getting into the fret slots. I also continued the roughing out of the neck and have marked the fingerboard area so I can continue shaping it getting it ready to attach the sound board top. As you will see, I build the Spanish tradition on a a “solera” or work board rather than in a mold. Once all of the fret inlays are filled in, I will install the frets.  When the eagle on the head plate is filled in, i will attach it to the neck.

Filling the cracks Neck Fitting the fret board



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Progress report on the Tiger myrtle tenor

I was able to spend some time on the Tiger Myrtle project today. I finished bracing the top and did the rough inlay of the eagle on the head plate blank. I just need to fill the small voids around the eagle with ebony dust and epoxy. Ebony is a joy to do inlays on as it is very forgiving if your inlay doesn’t fit perfectly. I also made the rough neck blank. Shaping the neck and inlaying the fret markers are the next two steps before final assembly.

The parts-1

The eagle-1

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Another Home Depot Special

I completed construction of a soprano ukulele recently made from a 1″x10″x4′ pine board that I purchased form Home Depot for less than $6.00. To make a board that wide without gluing pieces together, the mills have to cut through the center of the tree. This leaves you with quarter swan woods, the type most luthiers prefer, especially for the top wood on an instrument.

Below is the board I cut the wood from for the ukulele. You can see an outline of a classical guitar body drawn on the wood to give you an idea of the size of an instrument that could be made from this wood. I could have made three soprano ukuleles from this board.

This instrument is all pine with the exception of the finger board, head plate and bridge which are made from Zebra woodFull angled-1. (Click on the photos for a better look.) This instrument is going to Reno with me later this month. It plays surprisingly well.

Mother boardBack-1


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Tiger Myrtle top arrived

The Alaskan Yellow Cedar top arrived a couple of days ago and I have joined the halves and installed a blue abalone rosette surrounded by black/white/black fiber strips. Next step is to cut out the sound hole, the top along the outline and install the bracing.


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Progress report

First off, I made a mistake in naming the wood I’m using. It is not Tiger Maple, it is Tiger Myrtle. I was looking online to see if I could find more and couldn’t so I went to my files and discovered I had the wrong name.

Today I glued the back braces on (12′ radius) and am making an ebony and maple head plate to match the look of the fingerboard. I slotted and shaped the fingerboard and have ordered some special top fret markers to inlay prior to installing the frets. I’m awaiting the top wood to arrive so that I can get started on it.



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