Woodcraft

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
I have finally gotten around to cutting the binding channels on the larger baritone. Cutting binding channels on a musical instrument can be dicey, no matter how careful one is. I’ve known of people who made a complete mess of their work while cutting the binding channels. Even simple bindings require great care. I’ve actually been putting this operation off for several weeks; this is the first instrument I’ve done where the top and back are curved both end to end and side to side, and I had to give myself time to work out in my head how I was going to tackle the operation. I needn’t have been concerned – the process went without a hitch.

 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Uke building progress. The tenor on the left is nearly complete, and will get a few more hand rubbed coats of Tru-Oil this week. The baritone on the right just needs one more binding strip installed before I can begin the finish process. Compare the image directly above to the one below.

Soon my short scale, small body steel string acoustic guitar build begins. I was in the workshop preparing my body mold and drawings for it this morning.

uke progress.jpg
 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Insomnia had me down in the workshop by 4 AM today. Here I'm planning for my next project, a small body steel string guitar with a 23" scale. 25.4" or 24.9" are the usual scales for most guitars. Four frets is the largest span I can typically reach, and the shorter scale makes it a lot easier to get those stretches. The body molds keep the guitar sides square and rigid while the various reinforcements are glued in place.

 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
The baritone ukulele project is nearing the finishing stage. Today I finished scraping and cleaning up the final Rosewood binding strip. Everything has been sanded to a medium grit. I’ll step away from the project for a day or two and come back with fresh eyes and a magnifying glass, examining it carefully for imperfections I might have missed. Then final sanding, and I’ll start applying the thin finishing layers before gluing on the neck.


 

KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2012
Hood River, OR
Kyle
When I helped a friend start making furniture about a million years ago, we often used it for "out of sight" structural pieces... drawer sides and backs, supports, etc, because of the unsightly green / brown streaks. Great wood, though. Oddly, my 1988 Fender Strat (american standard, made in CA) is a poplar body. "Unusual" because it's a sunburst finish, so you can see some of the streaks in it. I'm 99% sure they didn't want to do that on purpose. Most see-through finished were over maple or alder.
 

Harry Cutts

Veteran
Jun 6, 2017
Huddersfield UK
Harry
Great work Tony. I prefer a Baritone and have it tuned Baritone style but always play standard Ukulele chords. It has a lovely mellow tone and a different sound but no having to think about the different fingering, I'm not that good a player so like to keep it simple.
Think I will stick to buying mine, I would have no idea where to start building one. I only have cheap Ukes like Makala but I am happy with the sound. I daren't try an expensive model, it might upset my bank manager ;)
Looking forward to see the finished product.
Come to think about it, my woodwork teacher always used to ask me when I was going to pay for all the wood I ruined LOL.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Great work Tony. I prefer a Baritone and have it tuned Baritone style but always play standard Ukulele chords. It has a lovely mellow tone and a different sound but no having to think about the different fingering, I'm not that good a player so like to keep it simple.
Think I will stick to buying mine, I would have no idea where to start building one. I only have cheap Ukes like Makala but I am happy with the sound. I daren't try an expensive model, it might upset my bank manager ;)
Looking forward to see the finished product.
Come to think about it, my woodwork teacher always used to ask me when I was going to pay for all the wood I ruined LOL.
Thanks Harry. I'm not that great of a player either, but I'm proficient enough to play guitar in church most Sundays. I switch between uke and guitar frequently, so I don't have any issues with the different tunings.

Building is a lot of fun. As a long time woodworker, I wanted to try building my own guitar, and it just took off from there. I strive to make each instrument a bit better than the one before. I just gave a tenor uke I built to my brother-in-law for his birthday. He's a lot better guitar player than I am, but had never even held a uke until he opened the box. He was both surprised and delighted. That was a pretty satisfying day for both of us.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Almost there. The tenor ukulele in the back has had many hand rubbed thin coats of shellac and Tru-Oil, and I’m just waiting about another week to let the finish harden further before attaching the bridge and doing final setup. I just glued on the baritone uke neck this morning. It will take about another month to go through the finishing process with it.

I think from here on out, I’m going to stick to building one instrument at a time. Some people can successfully build multiple instruments at once, but I have so much other stuff going on that these projects have taken a lot longer than I anticipated.

 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Huge weekend. For the first and likely only time in my life, I'm completing two musical instruments over the same weekend. Yesterday I glued the bridge on the tenor ukulele, and later this morning I'll string it and hear its first chorus of sound. Early this morning, I glued the bridge on the baritone uke after first lapping the bottom of the Rosewood bridge to fit the subtle curve of the soundboard. I will likely have the remaining work on the baritone completed by Monday. I just need to make the nut and saddle, and install the electronic pickup.




 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
The tenor ukulele is finished. I just added the strings and brought it to tune at around 11 today. Given how fast new strings go out of tune, I’ll be retuning constantly for the next week or so.

The road has been long, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately quite satisfying. I’m going to give myself some time away from instrument building while I concentrate on other projects.





 

wee-pics

All-Pro
Sep 13, 2016
Germany
Walter
An absolutely beautiful instrument, congratulations Tony. And a very rewarding hobby.
Makes the fingers want to strike the first notes.
Seeing the long and difficult process makes me cherish my beautiful Taylor 812 C guitar even more.
Especially when you get these superb overtones that come only with first-class wood and 25 years of steady playing.
So now your work is finished, lean back and enjoy. Here's my latest ditty that might help you with relaxing.
(Me with the Taylor on the right channel, my friend improvising along on the left)
 

tonyturley

Legend
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
Thanks Walter. That is a beautiful composition. I enjoy both the building and the playing. My next project, once I begin it, will be a 23" scale small body steel string guitar. Speaking of special wood, the soundboard is old growth Red Spruce harvested right here in the mountains of my home state over 30 years ago, and the back/sides old growth Honduran Mahogany equally as old. I've had the bundle of wood acclimating in my shop for about a year, waiting for a time when I felt my building skills would do the wood justice.
 

wee-pics

All-Pro
Sep 13, 2016
Germany
Walter
This combination of soundwoods with the age and the care you've given it should produce a wonderfully warm sound.
You're lucky to have acces to such quality as it becomes more and more difficult to get it.
 

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