May 5: It’s not a box!

So open day wasn’t so bad, actually had a good turn out. Plus I got to see one of my favourites play his sax. I had some time, so I worked on the body today.

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The walls would be impossible / useless if I made them out of the same thick pine sheets I’ve been using, so I had to rethink a lot of things.

Ended up with the design above. I had two curved blocks to shape the wood veneer, which will make up the sides, and the front & back panels. I’ll be layering up one or two more sheets of veneer just to strengthen everything, so this was a new experience. Both having to think about how veneers works, and the fact the whole thing was tiny to work with.

I will probably make another uke with veneer, probably a normal soprano sized one.

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It’s closed to being completed body-wise, but the strings will be the hassle. I will need to play around with that. But above you can see how far I got, it’s not much but it’s started to look like an uke now.

May 3: Don’t rush a good thing

I had to learn proof by induction and teach it today. It was nice, and I got to see some nice Maths but it turns out, it turned my brain to mush. How so? Well…

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Above you can see the testing rig I made for my tiny little 7 inch scale uke. I need to test some strings, and see which was usable.

Being all Physics like, I was heading into it like an experiment, there you can see some high tension classic guitar strings, ukulele banjo strings, soprano uke strings from aquila, and I’m waiting on some 40lb fishing line as well.

So the problem? That testing rig I built, which I used a jigsaw as a router (don’t ask,) has one huge flaw. Obviously, all that Maths and mock marking this week led me astray as that has a 7cm scale length,,, not 7 inch.

So I’m putting off the experiment to later. I might have started tomorrow depending how long open day is at college.

On other news, I came into contact with Chris Reed, or ProfChris, of the Reed tiny fame! He’s the one who suggested the ukulele banjo strings, and some helpful tips. The internet is a great thing!

May 2: Tiny, tiny little thingy

Did a bit on May’s uke.

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That’s my T.V. remote right there, under the fretboard is a stick insect inside resin, so yeah, this thing’s tiny.

The top of the body has been shaped, while the bottom has not been done. The block of pine in the middle is just a spacer for when I attach the sides, as I’m using a layer or two of pine veneer.

I estimate it being finished in two weeks or more. I’ll be marking mocks and whatnot, so I won’t have time for a while. The joys of teaching.

May 1: A sneak peak

May is a strange month to me. It’s the saddest and happiest moment a teacher can have. I wanted to capture that feeling with this uke. Here’s a sneak peak for May’s ukulele.

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Yes, that’s the entire neck. With all 12 frets as well (and some of you will spy a zero fret.) It will symbolise a tiny moment that is cramped full of tears and joy.

April 3: Spring is here

Today I finished off April’s ukulele, the ‘bonsai’ ukulele. I will write up some more details later, but here’s the rest of the build process.

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Here are those beautiful F type clamps doing what they do best. I’m clamping the fretbard here, earlier I attached the neck to the body.

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With the body finished I made a stencil to add some spice to the mix. Originally I wanted the uke to be green, but opted for a bare wood look, with some green design on the front.

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With everything pretty much in check, I glued the bridge/saddle on and waited patiently.

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And there it is. The ‘bonsai’ ukulele. Needless to say, April’s namesake is ‘bonsai.’ This is the uke to celebrate Spring. I have taken circuitandstring’s wonderful design and completely took it into an impractical direction. It plays, but you have to deal with a tree in the way.

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Here it is with the rest of the family. From the bottom to the top, we have December to April. Their namesake’s are death, hole, monochrome, wanderer, and now finally bonsai joins the fray.

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I haven’t kept bonsais before, and probably a lot of bonsai people will be fuming at what I’ve done, but I’ll try my best in keeping this thing alive. I’ll be sure to upload a video when the strings have stretched properly.

Now it’s time to start on May, and finally make half way on my little journey into uke making.

April 2: F type clamps

So with the influx of votes (of which there were 2) I’ve decided to go for the bonsai design.

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I wanted to go with red maple, as in the sketch I posted a while ago. I ended up with chinese elm, or I think it’s that.

The uke will be not be great to use, and more of an art project. Anyway, the body will house the roots and soil.

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I think I will cut off the headstock, as it won’t actually have any geared tuners. Again, I’m going with the travel uke design by circuitandstrings.

I’m waiting on some f type clamps at the moment, as all my g clamps are now too small to work with this design…

Hopefully it’ll be done soonish, so see you then.

April 1: Only one will blossom

So, I’ve come up with a couple of designs for April, but I can’t decide the final design.

The ‘spring’ ukulele

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The spring uke will have a flower bed on top, I’ll be growing either flowers or herbs for use in the kitchen. There’s a forest painted on the side, if that wasn’t obvious (which it probably wasn’t.)

The ‘bonsai’ ukulele

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Has a bonsai growing out of it. Enough said.

If you want to help me decide, please leave a comment here, or at my post on reddit.

March 4: The ‘wanderer’ ukulele

March’s namesake is ‘wanderer.’ I tried to capture the feeling of wandering with this uke, hence, that’s why it is fretless.

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I also added a nice surprise to help players, inspired by the Tolkien quote ‘not all who wander are lost.’

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It needs a quick charge though…

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Please click the image. You can see the fret markers as well, then.

My camera cannot capture its beauty, nor can it do it justice, but the fret markers and sound hole are glow in the dark. I had some thermoplastic left from my prop making days, so I mixed in some glow in the dark pigment. The result is very pleasing, I wish you could see it.

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And here it is, the 4th uke with the rest, and we’re quarter of the way there. April’s uke will be a while, I’ll be working on it during Easter holiday (assuming I’m not dead from work before that…)