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Boldly trying to get to bulid! (Read 3102 times)
zac_in_ak
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Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Jul 19th, 2007 at 5:41pm
 
Ok Folks  I am at the point of planning right before building I have some nice koa and spruce and I am ready to go! but some question especially for the advanced guys. I am planning to float the fingerboard on a neck extention I was planning on using a rod of carbon fiber to run under the extention. I also wanted to relocate the sound hole to the upper bout (right side as you are looking at it. on the other bout on the side I was thinking of putting a sound port..am I crazy btw this is with a soprano. The plan I have only has bracing on either side of the soundhole..with the whole top free to vibrate do you think I should brace somewhere else or to brace near the new soundhole location?

Thanks Guys!
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konacat
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #1 - Jul 20th, 2007 at 12:10pm
 
Zac,

I know you have been itching to build so go at it.  Are you crazy? Well you do live in Alaska and you are about to build a Ukulele.   Grin Grin

A soprano size ukulele is not real big and few that I know of have a lot of fingerboard on the body. I’m not sure if your ambitious idea of a floating fingerboard is necessary. I only know of one person who uses this and that would be Rick Turner and his Compass Rose ukulele. As far as I know he only builds tenor size so there is a lot more head area and the fingerboard goes to the sound hole. Here is a link to read more about it and see a photo. http://uketalk.com/reviews/compass-rose.html

If you wish to alter the sound hole you will need to be a little careful. Because of the small size of the soprano it would be difficult to use a normal sound hole diameter in the upper bout. Of course if you add a sound port you could then make the sound hole smaller and it might fit. Personally, I really like the look of the double puka on the upper bout. Something about the two holes gives me an aesthetic look of balance. My plans include a double puka uke in the future. You will need to be careful to balance the size of your sound hole and sound port. The total area of these holes directly affects the air movement and resonance. Check the archives as Mike Chock has detailed this several times on this forum.  As far as bracing, maybe those more experienced can chime in.

Now a few hints from some one who is woodworking and musically challenged. Keep it simple! If it were me, I would follow the plans to the T. Get some experience under your belt and then be progressive. Always mark you pieces to indicate what side is what and what direction they go. Keep a centerline on everything that has a center. By the way a string pulled taught really helps visually. Always draw your patterns to size and then a second line outside. This will allow you to size down during assembly to get an exact fit. This also avoids the “oh my god! It’s too small now” problems. Do not rush the bending process. You are working with the wood not forcing it into submission. Taking your time and feeling the wood is better then hearing that awful cracking sound as your sides become useless. Take extra care in positioning your bridge since you are setting the scale length and this directly effects your intonation. Don’t forget to add compensation to your scale length figure. I personally like the look of the pinless non tie bridge (see photo). Always measure at least twice before you cut. Don’t be afraid just take your time. Rushing leads to errors. You don’t need to worry too much about errors if you take your time. You will probably make a mistake here and there anyway as we ALL do. The good thing is that you have this forum and the OLF to come to your assistance to make it right if something unexpected happens.  Remember to post photos at the end or as you go. Here is photo of mine before I changed the neck and refinished it. Sorry this is so long.

...
...

Best of Luck

Philip
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« Last Edit: Jul 20th, 2007 at 4:47pm by konacat »  
 
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zac_in_ak
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #2 - Jul 20th, 2007 at 3:52pm
 
Thanks Philip!

I thought maybe I was being a bit ambitious Grin somethings I think I still will try but others I thin I will stick to the plan..I am going to do a bolt on neck (cross dowel) but I am not sure what else to it. I am not going to change the puka so I wont have to try to figure out the bracing. I will double side it and reverse kerf ( if I can find reverse kerf small enough) If not I will cut and bend solid linnings for it. I think thats enough to keep me busy for most of the summer and part of the winter..any other hints from anybody keeping in mind my now scaled back 1st ukulele...

Aloha from the frozen..(right now hot) North

ps Hot to us is in the 70s  Roll Eyes
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rcelley
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #3 - Aug 1st, 2007 at 3:34am
 
If this is your first build I'd say stick exactly to a plan whatever its source. You'll benefit from focussing on a correct series of steps, building any jigs you need, learning the proper feel of the tools when working with very thin wood, and you will come out with a very playable instrument. I'd also suggest that before you launch into your nice Koa you do a Hana Lima Mahogany tenor with their kit parts. For minimal price you'll get the complete experience of building and tenors are just a very nice size to put together.
Take pics as you go because if you need specific advice at some point they can be really helpful, plus of course we all just like seeing them. Smiley
Oh, one more thing: patience, patience, patience.
Looking forward to seeing the finished instrument.
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Rich Celley
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unkabob
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #4 - Aug 1st, 2007 at 6:20pm
 
Since this is not too far off topic, does anybody know the neck length inside the ukulele? I have read the text several times and the only mention I can find is that the original wood is 17 or 18 inches long.

I am building a 12th fret connection tenor and I started at one end with the scarf joint and I just left the excess wood where it was. Slotting and nibbling are done and this excess wood is becoming serious.

Any help would be appreciated.

Bob
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konacat
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #5 - Aug 2nd, 2007 at 9:01am
 
Bob,

Hana Lima uses a 17" scale on their tenor ukuleles. That is the length from the nut to the saddle. I think I understand your question but I don’t currently have access to my Hana Lima Manual or plans to get the correct measurement of the distance from the slot and the end of the Spanish heal neck block. Remember that this is just a neck with an integrated neck block. The surface of the inside portion is a base for gluing your back and soundboard. There should be some type of photo showing the neck when the sides are being put into the slot. You should be able to get some idea of how much of the neck extends into the body beyond the side slot. If you are building from a Hana Lima kit then I think you needn’t worry as long as your scarf joint was cut properly. They cut the neck wood to match their plans for the tenor ukulele so you should be in the ball park no matter what. In the end, you won’t remember some of the questions or impasses but instead will just be admiring you new good sounding and good locking ukulele. It’s pretty cool when you see someone’s face when they say “You made that?  Wow!”   Grin

Philip
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unkabob
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #6 - Aug 2nd, 2007 at 10:12am
 
Konacat:
In the pictures it appears to be 3/4 to one inch beyond the block end. Too much tailpiece will tend to deaden the soundboard.

This first ukulele is largely an educational project using laminated sides, back and soundboard.If it sounds half-way decent that will be a bonus. I havn't finished my sander yet but I just had to press forward with the neck to try out the tooling that I have already built. So far so good.

Thanks

Bob
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konacat
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #7 - Aug 2nd, 2007 at 3:01pm
 
Bob,

Your post has made me think a bit on the subject and of course that can be dangerous. I was thinking that when you cut out the half circle area from the front of the neck block that you should with a vertical orientation. That way there would still be strength and a gluing surface but there would be less contact with the soundboard and bottom. The only problem with this is that you will most likely still be gluing the fret board onto the sound board so it really won’t save anything.  You should do a search for “Hovering Fret board” and read that thread. Of course it depends on the length of your fret board as to the effect on the top. In my head I just keep seeing a double puka on a domed top with most of the bracing up high and minimal bracing below to open up the soundboard for more sound. I would also like to use as small a bridge as I can and to thin the sides as thin as I can to also free up the top.

Philip
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unkabob
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #8 - Aug 2nd, 2007 at 6:02pm
 
Philip:
If you want to minimize structure, You should check out the Koaloha soprano with "Unistrut" construction. As I remember it, there is a single "bulkhead" at the waist.
My Kala tenor uses three cross-struts on the soundboard and two cross-struts on the back. The difference is a soundboard 0.106 inches thick laminate.

That tenor looks nice.

Bob
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Don_Orgeman
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #9 - Aug 3rd, 2007 at 4:32am
 
Bob:

By measuring my Hana Lima plans, the neck block extends 2 inches inside the body.  Looking at the neck with the peghead to the left, there is a C shaped cutout inside the body that leaves about 9/16 inch of material -- to reduce weight.  Both surfaces that contact the top and back are about one-quarter inch thick.  The edge that is against the back is only about 1 1/2 inches long, and is sloped slightly to match the slope in the sides/back.  The edges of the coutout are rounded so the cutout looks kind of like a squared off C.

If you haven't purchased the plans from Hana Lima, I would strongly recommend you make that investment.
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unkabob
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #10 - Aug 3rd, 2007 at 3:19pm
 
Don:
Thanks for the information.I had guessed the thickness to be 1/2 inch.
I guess that I should explain that I picked up my book(with plans) in Honolulu in March. When I arrived home, I set the plans aside to make photocopies and promptly lost them. As soon as I prove that I can actually build a ukulele, I intend to order the full set of plans (all five).

Thans again.

Bob
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Ukeman
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Re: Boldly trying to get to bulid!
Reply #11 - Aug 12th, 2007 at 4:05pm
 
aloha guys!

My nickels now on the table!

The amount of material left tailward of the slot in the Spanish styled constructed ukes neck is roughly 2" rearward of the slot. In a typical fan braced center-hole constructed soundboard the horizontal brace just above the soundhole puka will determine the actual width of the neck table final length. The neck table excess just has to be less than the distance from the soundboard top joint to the front edge of the soundboard soundhole's top horizontal brace...ie: if the distance is 1 and 1/2 " from point of joining of the soundboard top edge to the front edge of the first soundhole brace than the neck table excess rearward of the slot should be cut a tad less...to ease fitting soundboard to neck ala spanish style.

I guess the thing to remember is that the material left rearward of the slot on your neck piece...is used to create a fitting table for your soundboard. This area is notched a tad less than the thickness of the soundboard, so the attached soundboard can seat in one straight plane. If one intends to dome the soundboard..then this neck table area is important to help set a slight angle in the table to accomodate the dome in the soundboard...sounds a bit esoteric but when you are actually attaching soundboard to neck via spanish style this will all become clear!

The opposite end of the neck rearward of the slot can be left at about 2" or so, or cut way back to 3/4 inch, (like a typical tailblock thickness) since it does not get in the way of the top horizontal bar of the back plate bracings. ok den  nuff said   laters  ukeman
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