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Making Of Ukulele

Making of Ukulele
2002.6.15 to 6.30 First of all, I draw plan for ukulele. I refered magzines and catalogs to decide shape of uke. This time I'm going to make standard type uke. Sorry about the picture of the plan, that is really bad. And copy the body shape to vinyl chloride sheet and cut it out belong to the outsude edge by jigsaw. I'm going to make a mold using this template. Therefore, the edge has to be made completely flat.

2002.7.6 Using the template, trace the shape of body to 9mm thickness plywood and cut the plywood out. Edge of plywood is shaped by trimmer later. I use 4 pices of plywoods each side, so the thickness of the mold is 36mm. These plywoods are remaining woods when I made OOO style guitar's mold.

2002.7.8 I'm going to make 2 ukes at the same time. Using remaining wood of mahogany, make a bookmatch and glue.

2002.7.10 These pictures were back wood for guitar. From this wood I'm going to make the top, the side and the back for uke. Anyway cut these woods to suitable size.

2002.7.11 Today, I make a bookmatch of one top and two backs. Glue these woods same as previous one using titebond.

2002.7.14 Now, I have tops, backs and sides for 2 ukes.

2002.7.16 Make thinner these woods into 1.5mm. Mahogany is comparatively easy to shave, because it's not hard wood. But this is very hard work. I use thin plate as a stopper. This makes the job easier.

2002.7.20 Today, I make molde. Using template that I made the other day, make falt inside the mold by trimmer. After that, glue each pices.

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2002.7.21 Mark shape of uke on the board and cut outside of pencile line. Today, I also cut neck wood, the wood is remaining wood when I made OOO. I have to make 2 pices of uke necks from this wood. So I got 2 flat wood first, like the picture below.

2002.7.24 Now, I make braces today. I use sitka spruce and engleman spruce for brace. The picture below left is the woods for brace. Right is sitka spruce and left is engleman spruce. To make flat surface, I usually use flat iron plate. The right picture below is the tops and the backs. The thickness of these woods are almost 1.5mm.

2002.7.26 I cut extra wood of braces and make final size. The thickness is 6mm, the height is 13mm.

2002.7.27 Next, I make purfling and soundhall. First, mark the line of purfling and soundhall by circle cutter. Next, I tried to make a ditch using dremel router, but the minimum size of the attachment for rosette cutter is 35mm. It's still big for uke soundhall, so I can't use this attatchment this time. I had to use a small chisel to make a ditch. After that, put prufling in the ditch. To wipe extra glue beroehand makes easy work after it dries.

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2002.7.28 Today's process is neck making. Using belt sander, make surface of the neck wood flat. And cut the wood at 15 degres. The third picture is the necks after cut, but my poor woodworking made them irregular angle. I have to reshape these surface later. After redraw the angle, stuck them up and shave as they have same degree.

2002.7.29 Now, I glue braces on the top. About top braceing, I made a slight curve on it's side. Position of the bracings are 5mm above and below of soundhall.

2002.7.30 Next, I glue back braces. I curved both sides of brace 2mm at end position. Glueing position is the widest place of the body.

2002.7.31 These are the pictures of the top and the back brace glued.

QOOQ DW DP When I shave the neck surface I use LEI-NIELSEN's planer. This planer is made from brass and it's nicely heavy, so it's very comfortable to use. Now, I make linings for the sides. Using remaining wood of mahogany, cut and shape them about 10mm wide.

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2002.8.3 Now, using bending iron bend the sides to fit the mold. The side woods are soaked into the water beforehand. The templature of iron is about 400F. Today, I also shape the braces. I use chisels and sometime check the tap tone.

2002.8.4 Today, glue the neck and the head. These edges are processd 15 degrees already, so turn over the head and clamp them using stopper like the picture . Furthermore, glue the neck block and the end block to the sides. I've been making these blocks since last week.

2002.8.5 After glue dries make a shape of the side. Width of the side is 2+1/8" at the neck block, 2+7/16" at the end block. I will make different depth in each uke, this time. This uke has a deeper side than the other. Today, I also made a shape of the neck.

2002.8.6 Connect the heel to this neck. I make the heel from remaining wood of mahogany. After cut the mahogany into proper size glue the wood using titebod like the picture. The rosewood bar in the left picture, I'm gioing to use this as bridge plate.

2002.8.7 Cut the rosewood bar into 90*25mm and glue it to back of the top. Next, glue lining to the side. This time I made bended flat plate as lining. The thickness of the lining is 2mm and it's strong enough. To clamp linings I usualy use small clips but this time I use bigger clips to clamp enough.

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2002.8.9 Today, I bend the sides for the other uke and also glue the neck and end blocks. I did't take pictures but the process is completle same as previous uke. 2002.8.11 Today's work is to glue the top to the side. First, make flat the surface. These ukes don't have binding, so I make notchs only in lining. And also, decide length of blace to fit the side.

2002.8.12 After the top is glued, glue the back as the same way. 2002.8.13 After the tpo and back are glued, cut extra wood using planer. Today, I make a roughcut of the neck. The width of the neck is 1+13/32 inchs at the nut position, 1+13/16 inchs at 14th fret position. The necks on the picture are under processing.

2002.8.14 After the body is shaped put end trim. I used spruce for this uke. I'm going to use rosewood for the other one.

2002.8.15 Today, I process the fingerboard. I use ebony which I failed before. I can't use these woods for guitar, but I think it's enough for ukes. Using round block, make fingerbord surface 20" round.

2002.8.16 From now on, I sand the bodies and the necks. The picture shows the difference of depth of the body between two ukes. The one on the left has mostly flat back from the end to the neck, the one on the right has curved back. The depth of the body on the left is deeper than right one.

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2002.8.17 Today's processing is the fingerboard. When I make guitar I use fret ruler, but I don't have ruler for uke. I have to start from calculation of fret position. Calculation for the fret position is based on just intonation. The just intonation is the most popular tuning today. This is done by divide 1 octave by 12. Now, when each halftone step is X1,X2,X3,.....,X12, X1*X2*X3*.....*X12=2---(1) Each halftone step is equal, so X1=X2=X3=---=X12=X. Therefore the formula (1) is X^12=2---(2) From the formula (2), we get X=2^(1/12)---(3) From the formula (3), each fret position is calculated like a table below. When scale length is L and fret number is n, each fret position is L-(L/2^(n/12)) The scale length of these ukes are 13+5/8 inches.

Fret number:n Ratio of each tone:2^(n/12) Fret position(mm):from nut 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1.00000 1.05946 1.12246 1.18921 1.25992 1.33484 1.41421 1.49831 1.58740 1.68179 1.78180 1.88775 2.00000 2.11893 2.24492 2.37841 2.51984 2.66968 2.82843 2.99661 0 19.42 37.76 55.06 71.40 86.81 101.36 115.10 128.06 140.30 151.85 162.75 173.04 182.75 191.92 200.57 208.74 216.44 223.72 230.59

Following this table cut slots on the fingerboard.

2002.8.19 to 20 I clamp fingerboard on the table when I cut slots.

2002.8.21 Before the body ad the neck are connected, sand the surface enough. This time I use small woos bar to connect the body and the neck. The picture on the left is the body and the neck before processing. Using chisels, scrapers and sand papers make smooth surface of the end of the neck. After this, make the shape of the heel properly.

2002.8.22 Do the same thing for the other neck. 2002.8.24 to 25 Next, drill the neck and the body for connecting bar. Diamter of these holes are 6mm.

After the neck position is decided, glue the fingerboard on the neck. Using 2 thin pins, make a position of the fingerboard and glue. Filling of the rosewood headplate is done by black filler.

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2002.8.26 Today's processing is finishing. About these ukes, I'm going to do oil finish. It's first time for me to do oil finish, but I'll use SUN THICKENED LINSEED OIL for these ukes. And also I'll use KAKISIBU(persimmon tannin), it's Japanese traditional natural finish material. The uke on the picture below is the body before brushing KAKISIBU.

2002.8.27 The uke on the picture below is after brushing KAKISIBU. It's a little darkened. Now, I brush LINSEED OIL. After leaving about 20 minutes, sand the body using 240 grid sand paper. After drying a few days, I brush LINSEED OIL several times.

2002.8.28 Today, I drill the head for peg hole. I use GROVER peg.

2002.8.29 Using plastic hammer and fret press jig, put frets on the fingeroard. Before press frets, bend frets belong to the fingerboard. I need a power to use fret press jig, but frets seat steadily.

2002.8.30 After fretting, put position marks on the side of the fingerboard. The picture right below is the body which is brushed oil several times. It's getting dark.

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2002.9.1 Now, I've almost finished processing about the body and the neck. And I can connect each other. To connect these parts, I used hemp thred.

2002.9.2 I used large clamp for the other uke.

2002.9.4 After the body and the neck is conneccted, make a final finish and dry it for a few days. While drying the ukes, I make the bridge, nut and saddle. I use ebony and rosewood for the bridge. Cut these woods into 18*65mm size. The thickness is depend on the angle of the neck. I use bone nut and saddle.

2002.9.5 Today, I made a final sanding using 320, 40, 600, 800, 1500 grid sandpapers. 2002.9.7 Two top pictures are making saddle slot on the bridge. Using dremel router and 3 thin plates, make a straight slot. After this I cut slots for string end. Now, I can glue the bridge on the body.

2002.9.10 This is the final step for making of ukulele. Same as guitarmaking, sand frets with 20 inch round block and make a final shape using fret files. It's all set.

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Finished It took 2 monthes to make through these 2 ukes. I started ukulele making under the concept that I use remaining woods mainly. Most of woods are remainded result of my miss processing of guitar making. I think I was able to use these woods effectively. The sound of these ukes are similar because they are made from same wood. But the right side uke has deeper body than the left uke. So, it has a little deep sound. And the other one has quick response, I think it's good for single note play. Anyway I really like dry mahogany sound.

No.1 ileft j No.2 iright j Total Length Body Length Body Depth1(at Neck j Body Depth2(at Waist j Scale Length 21 9+3/8 1+15/16 2+1/4 13+5/8 20+1/8 9+7/16 2+1/8 2+1/4 2+7/16 13+5/8 4+7/8 3+3/4

Body Depth3(at Bottom j 2+1/4 Body Width1(upper part j 4+7/8 Body Width2(waist part j 3+3/4

Body Width3(lower part j 6+3/8 Neck Width1(at Nut j S.Hole diameter 1+13/32 2 Unit:inch Neck Width2(at 12th fret j 1+13/16

6+3/8 1+13/32 1+13/16 2