Hana Lima 'Ia
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Message started by Acabooe on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 4:12am

Title: Question about sides
Post by Acabooe on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 4:12am
Hey everyone,

I have a question about my sides.
I just started building the side installing work board, but before I started on that, I wanted to see what the fit would be like for my sides and sound board.
What I found out was that, I made a miscalculation ( that is codeword for screw up) in making the bending jig.
That means that the upperbout is pretty far off ( about 1/2" in one place).

Should I try to hold it over some steam, and try to bend a little more by hand, or what?
What would be the best way to proceed when faced with a problem like this?

Thanks to anyone that has some helpful tips or advice.


O yeah, here is a pic of my assembly jig still in the process of being built. Enjoy.

Title: Re: Question about sides
Post by unkabob on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 7:51am
Half an inch doesn't sound that bad to me. Fit the sides in the holding-jig and see how much force is required to put them into shape. Depending on the thickness of the sides, they will probably flex into place. If they require too much force, just steam the upper bout and clamp it on place. After a day in the jig, see how much spring it requires.

I am just setting up my first uke so proceed with caution.

Title: Re: Question about sides
Post by Acabooe on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 8:05am
Hey Bob,

Thanks for the tip.
I'll give that a shot, and post the results when I finish.

Bob 8)

Title: Re: Question about sides
Post by Matt Blacka on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 1:16pm
Hi Bob,

I'm not sure what wood you're using for the sides, but just be really careful with the bent sides at the ends where they will fit into the neck. They will split along the grain very easily when you are trying to test fit them into the neck slots. This happened to me on my first build, but fortunately I was able to fix it up. It's very frustrating to successfully bend a set of sides, only to split one of them trying to fit them into the neck. I know the Hana Lima construction book also gives a word of caution about this.

If you marked out your sides using the Hana Lima Ia construction book steps, they will be longer than necesary. When you go to fit them to the profile, if you hold the waist at the correct position, the longer sides will cause the upper bout (and maybe lower bout) to appear to be too wide for the design profile. In this case you need to chop some off the ends of your sides before fitting. If this is the problem, once they are cut to the correct length, they will fit the profile better.

If the sides have simply sprung back a little, people frequently put their sides back onto the bending jig, heat them up and clamp them down for a while longer to help them conform to the correct profile. But it sounds to me that your bending jig is the wrong profile? If so this won't be helping you.

If the sides have been cut to the correct length, and still they don't conform, you could try making up a little bending jig out of some perforated sheet metal that is shaped to a tighter radius then the upper bout profile. Set it up so some steam is going up through it, then try to use it to bend your side to the correct profile by hand, a bit like the hot pipe method of bending I guess.

1/2 inch out of allignment with your sides may not be so bad anyway, especially if it is symetrical on both sides. You just need to make sure that the perimeter of the soundboard still covers the sides, if you know what I mean. This is why we never cut our soundboard to the exact finished size to start with, to allow for these "miscalculations" in bending the sides. You may be able to pull the sides into allignment fractionally to help this out.

Good luck


Title: Re: Question about sides
Post by unkabob on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 2:53pm
Glad to see that I'm not the only one to split an end while fitting the sides. I glued a quarter inch vertical strip just outside the heel block to protect against further splitting (Don's idea) and it worked out well.

The sides should be cut to size in the holding jig (don't forget the quarter inch center part of the heel).

Don't forget to glue the but-joint on the sides (under the masking tape) at the tail block when you install the sides.


Title: Re: Question about sides
Post by Matt Blacka on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 6:22pm
I was thinking of using cross grain side reinforcing strips all around the sides of my ukes from now on, but especially up near the neck, to try to prevent splitting for my future builds.

I would also recommend to check the butt joint at the tail block once, twice, then three times during glue up, as one of the sides shifted under the clamping caul on my first build, which left me with a nasty mess to clean up once the glue had gone off. It worked out ok in the end, and I was using a tail strip inlay anyway, so the end result was not harmed. But it was an inconvenience and hassle that no one needs.


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