Saturday, 21 May 2011

Brace yourself!

So, with the old warped braces removed, I make another set of braces, but my days of glueing flat braces to a flat soundboard are over! I'm making a jig with three shaped cauls on it (a caul is a dished support) this means the back and soundboard braces are glued on with a slight radius applied during the glueing period, this means that when the soundboard is removed from the glue clamps, it retains the shape of the cauls.  Now for some pics ...

So here is the board with the 'cauls' fixed to it, they roughly correspond to a 22ft radius circle.

Here I am testing the soundboard. I've made new braces AND shaped the bottom of them to match the curve of the cauls.  The bent stick is called a go-bar, which is just a rod under pressure to be used for holding things whilst glueing up.  Note the gap under the ruler, a nice little curve that will hopefully hold after the glue goes off.

And last pic is of the back of the instrument in the new jig, clamped to death ... I have everything crossed!!

The new Lacewood soprano

Hey folks, it's been a busy week in the workshop, although it's been a case of two steps forward, one step back to be honest. 

I glued the braces on this lacewood back and front, and after the glue drying I shaped the braces as normal.  I returned to the workshop to glue the front on and find that both the back AND the front had warped, creating a dished (the wrong way) soundboard!

After a fairly lengthy swearing session both in the workshop, garden, house and on Twitter (which was met with a mix of sympathy and amusement), I stripped the old braces off and started again ... sorry for the poor pic but it'll give you an idea or the warping.

I've been informed this happened because I glued up when it had rained, meaning the soundboard had moisture in it, then dried out, pulling the braces out of shape!

I live and learn.

Did i mention I'm relatively new to this?!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Real work and real life

It's only on the mornings after the weekend that I realise how much I want to stay home and carry on making ukuleles, instead of going off to hang fire doors for 9 hours.

I love the whole thing about the working from home and workshop environment, of course there will be drawbacks, but money-wise, I'd save almost £350 per month on fuel for starters.

Food for thought. I just need another 60 ukulele orders!

Ah well, one day eh. Until then, I'd better go hang these fire doors.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Ian's walnut/cedar soprano ukulele. "Lola"

Here’s the story of a commission I made for a Twitter follower. 

Ian was a dream customer, although I’m a newbie builder, he simply wanted a uke that sounded warm and that I wanted to build.  I'd had this walnut/cedar combo in mind since I started building as I was inspired by a soprano I’d seen in the Southern Ukulele Store, built by a very talented builder called Rob Collins  His ukulele was a walnut/spruce build, but after research, I found that the cedar soundboard would produce a warmer sound; exactly what Ian wanted.

This was a really rewarding build and a massive learning curve for me. The walnut sides didn’t want to take the shape on the first three bending attempts (I was later told that the sides were maybe a little too figured) but 4th time they yielded.

This little beauty now lives with Ian and is called "Lola"


This 'blog' will be the new home of Cursley Ukuleles from now on.  I’ll be posting stage-by-stage photos of the instruments I build from start to finish; I'll also be uploading photos from previous builds for your viewing pleasure!

I'm a new ukulele builder, having started and completed my first ukulele just last year, a yew tenor with slotted headstock for my good friend Paul Tucker.  Paul runs the 'Southern Ukulele Store' in my hometown of Bournemouth. If you’re ever in Bournemouth, this shop is a must visit, so much stock, sizes and brands to choose from.

Here’s Paul receiving his Cursley Ukulele.


And one of him tuning up... look in the background, so many ukuleles!

Bye for now, I have a mountain of pics to go through and upload for you!