Saturday, April 4, 2015

Where The Humuhumunukunukuapuaʻa Go Swimming By

One of the grand daughters asked if I would make her a ukulele. Well, you can't say no, so I shifted into luthier mode. I have a stash of cigar boxes, so I grabbed this one and got to work. I borrowed a uke from a friend so I could get all of the critical measurements without having to do any tricky math or buying a fancy instrument makers rulers. I laminated some maple and walnut for the neck. Once it was dry, I shaped it with the band saw, a rasp, the belt sander and a cabinet scraper. I made the bridge from another piece of walnut. Those are staples that the strings rest on. I didn't want to lose the cool plastic Punch Cigar logo when I cut the sound hole so I cut a quarter moon shaped hole. After looking at it I thought, "What a happy looking uke." So I added the goofy teeth and eyeballs for a whimsical look. I like it, Hope she does, too. I then shot three or four coats of clear over the whole thing. Once all the parts that I ordered from the luthier supply arrived, I could finish it. I installed the frets and the tuners. I strung it up until the strings made a nice plinking sound. Again, I possess no musical skills at all, so I will have to take it to a friend and get him to tune it and pluck out a tune. I think it will be just fine. Of course, A fine instrument needs a case. I cut some red oak down to 1/4 inch, made four sides and finger jointed them into a box. I cut some grooves for a sliding lid. The handle was whittled out of another hunk of oak and fastened to the box with walnut hingey thingeys that I cut on the bandsaw. I connected them together with brazing rod pins. The inside was covered with some really pretty blue felt that I got at the fabric store. I found a cool picture of a girl, on the beach, playing a uke. I printed it and transferred it to the lid with some Liquitex gel. I sprayed the whole thing with clear lacquer and then made a little frame for the picture with some cardboard and a piece of fabric that I found in Wifey's sewing room. That's it. All there is left to do is to package it up and ship it to her in Kansas. I'm very pleased with the way the entire project turned out

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