Monthly Archives: September 2016


After a nice pre B-day lunch in Healdsburg with Joe and Cat. I picked some tomatoes out back in the landlord’s patch. I split the cherry size into four bags for the work gangs, Dani, Diego, the lunch crew and the work team lunch. I gave three big ones to John across the street. He came over as I was folding laundry with a bottle of his 2014 Zinfandel, pretty good timing as tomorrow is my birthday and I can take it home for a party. It doesn’t get more local, Thanks.
I clamped the sides of my tenor ukulele into the mold frames after sanding down the inner mold frames. I bent the sides a few weeks ago on a 200 W light bulb hot pipe. It can sit and conform while I’m away. I just finished cutting the hole in the sound board with a jewelers saw and sanding it to size.
I also cut out the blocks for the top and bottom of the body. They still need to be curve fitted to the sides and slotted for the neck, but they’re roughed out to size.
I checked on the bass frets, they need a little more work, I probably should pull the first 4 high frets and reform them to fit right, now that I know how on the stake. Then glue them all down with superglue. Level all the frets next.
I’m holding off on the uke frets until I get a flush cutter and grind it really flush. Then I’ll assemble the frets to the finger board prior to gluing the finger board to the neck. It’s all coming together nicely.


Things got done today. I went to town for coffee, Farmers Market was good. I stopped at Salvation Army and scored. I found a folding chair for Raven,
a Fender Squire 15 amplifier,
a plastic cowbell set for my brother Sam, a big velvet pouch, a small zipper pouch for a sand bag for Wayne, a nice herb bottle for chervil, and some tailors chalk (not shown).
Home. I cooked up a beef stir fry of Steve’s small onion, Duncan’s mushrooms, carrots, half a patty pan, my garlic, garden basil, garden green beans, thin sliced beef, left over noodles, oyster and soy sauce. Tasty with a couple boxes for lunches.
It’s getting hot in the 90s, time to play with water. I watered the roses, cleaned the 5 gallon water bottles outsides. I found a couple sockets and a crescent wrench to fit the nuts for under the vardo. Bench back out slid under the vardo for comfort. I removed the valve from the primary grey tank and mounted it with the center strap first, then added the for and aft steel plumbing straps. It’s in tight and connected to the sink drains.
I attached the air relief hose with some difficulty by feel, but got it. The other tank is not in yet, I’ll need to plug the other end of the 1/2″ tee. I cut a piece of fir square on the table saw, lapidary sanded it four corners, twisted round into a plug, sawed it off with the band saw and smooth sanded the edges, fits perfect, plugged.
The water system needs to be chlorinated, I put some water in the most empty jug and added all the chlorine I have. It’s a bit weak but if I leave it in over night it will kill anything. I installed the jug and turned on the pump with the cold water flowing to both faucets. Bubbles cleared and full on, turn them off. The hot system is turned off out side. I opened the sink valves to hot and opened both hot lines connected together. The pump came on and that system filled with chlorine. Turn off the faucets. Turn off the pump. The water lines are all full of chlorine. Tomorrow I will repeat the procedure with fresh water, a lot of it to flush the system. And print the procedure for Raven.
Next to some fun. I put the ukulele neck on the cut fret board roughly centered and drew the lines in pen. Wait, it would be best to cut from the top to prevent any tear out. Turn it over and re mark the front fret board. I used a piece of cutoff for a straight edge to complete the line to the fret board end. I band saw cut the line wide to allow for sanding, then sanded it still a little wide to be corrected at final after gluing.
Next step is attaching the frets to the bare fingerboard before gluing to the neck. Something learned from the bass difficulties. This will be easier as it’s flat. Much done. I’ll de chlorinate tomorrow.


Much done today. Pickles to make and it’s in the high 90s. I got five jars of bread and butter, a batch of home made mushroom soup using heavy cream. Also a batch of hamburger beef stroganoff. I left out the sour cream so I can nuke it at work, then add the sour cream so it won’t curdle. Good idea hey.
I also cut in the fret slots finger board for my tenor ukulele. I tried using Lori’s compass knife to cut a sample sound hole, that doesn’t work as the knife moves too much, not stable. I’ll need to try it another way. Perhaps a jewelers saw but that is a deep cut from the edge. I’ll figure it out.
I also tested the grey water tank for the gypsy wagon as Raven will need it the weekend I’m at the wedding in Michigan. It finally works, no leaks, ready to mount under next weekend. This Wednesday is the CDI company picnic and I’m on the grill. I washed my two aprons, for Sanjay will need one and I. Laundry done, ready for the week.


I drove to town for coffee this morning, and the Farmers Market. Planning on just onions for soup, Steve had mounds of cucumbers cheap, why not. I picked four big ones for bread and butter pickles, more onions. Oh a little melon, some carrots from Preston’s, low on bacon I picked up some end cuts. A little yellow squash. And two red bell peppers for the pickles. Heavy bag.
A stop at Sally’s I found a switch panel for a boat and a guitar tuner needing batteries and a cover.
Home, onion soup on, three onions, light garden herbs. Trader Joe’s O beef broth, a dash of soy sauce and Worcestershire (spell check is cool). Three slices of baguette and a string cheese on top. Tasty with a tub and a half more for lunches. I’ll fill in the half with a Nathan’s hot dog.
I put in a couple more frets on the bass. I’m finally getting it right. Measure and mark with the triangle file. File the tang back, then file to the mark to remove the excess. Sand the ends smooth and lightly rounded with 400 grit. Using the aluminum fret stake I built on the band saw at work with a vise to hold it then and now.
I hammered the fret using a plastic mallet to give it more curve. I then mounted it even on the ends and smacked it down with a piece of wood sanded to the radius of the neck, in perfect.
I need to get the vardo plumbing in order, finish sealing the grey water tank. I used some yellow gas Teflon tape to reseal the big central threaded plug and the smaller threaded section for the valve turned off. I filled the tank using the hose, careful not to spill. The tank itself is finally not leaking at all, but there is still a drip where the valve connects. I drained the tank using the fire hose. This takes doing as you need to open the flat hose to get the water flowing, then it works. I just checked under the vardo in the dark, no wasp nests. OK.
I removed the valve and glued the leaking section with marine slow cure epoxy, this should solve the problem. The mix stick points to the glued section in the picture.
As things are drying I worked more on the bass frets. I finally finished the last fret, although some of the first ones need improving. I removed the third and fifth to redo the curve on the stake tool. One of the others is loose and will need to be glued in, maybe all of them with superglue. I plan on using a needle to apply it carefully a drop at a time. But all the frets are in.
Bread and Butter Pickles need to salt for 12 hours, so I sliced up the cucumbers, peppers and onions, adding a half cup of salt covered in the fridge. Lou from the farmers market asked for the B&B recipe, as I’m making it, I typed out the recipe streamlined to a text file and sent it to Preston Farms email. Pictures taken, a good day. Time to post this.


A good day, I got a lot of cooking done and a few more frets on the bass guitar. I started with a batch of spaghetti noodles to go with the rest of the bolognese sauce I made yesterday. I’m planning on bringing in a big batch for Tuesday lunch to share. Maybe with garlic bread, a Caprese salad, tomato, mozzarella, basil and balsamic dressing. I bought some mozzarella balls in water today for it.
Next I made a big batch of chicken veggie soup, onion, mushrooms, garlic, garden herbs, chicken breast diced, celery, carrots, cabbage, green beans from the garden, zucchini, a small eggplant and TJ’s O chicken broth plus a dash of wine. At the end I added a little tube tomato paste to finish it and a handful of chopped spaghetti noddles. Four and a half buckets for lunches, The half will go good with a Nathan’s hot dog.
Next up, I bought a fat broccoli head as it’s in season. I cut it up separating the stem slices and florets in the steamer. I have an idea, Bacon. I diced up the half pack of thick cut farmers market bacon and fried it up in Dad’s iron pan. Onion, a sweet small one from Steve at the farmers market, perfect size. In the Emeril pot with bacon fat to cook, add garden herbs and garlic (my garlic, from Dad’s stock, all day). Flour to make a roux, add half and half slowly. TJ’s chicken stock slowly. Grated mild cheddar cheese, a little at a time to melt in. Add the broccoli cut up stems and a few florets, using the immersion blender from Sally’s I chopped it all up. It needs more cheese, grated and added slowly. Add the florets and bacon, bring to simmer, off. This is fantastic Broccoli and Cheese with Bacon Soup. Two buckets and a bowl for now, way better than the cafeteria serves, yum.
I went out and picked a bunch of small tomatoes from the patch and divided them into four packs to share at work.
I still need to process the cornichon pickles I prepped yesterday. I bought tarragon, really didn’t need to as it’s growing well. I picked a lot of thyme I have too much of. Chopped Steve’s onions, garlic in larger chunks, mustard seeds, to the vineyard for small grape leaves. I tasted the prepped gherkins, mild salt, I’ll soak them, then add extra to the fifty fifty vinegar water solution to keep them balanced. A grape leaf, garlic, onion, thyme, a lot of tarragon, mustard seed and pickles, jammed in tight. I got two pints and two cups processed. I spaced it and cooked them too long at 15 minutes, hoping they’re not too done. I’ll try a small batch soon.
I went out and worked on the bass guitar frets, got up to number 18, just six more to go. It’s a slow process, set the fret in the groove even, mark it to length with the file, file the tang back, cut with the file to the mark, lightly rounded, then sand it all smooth with 400 grit sand paper both ends. Hammer it in the rounding jig to a fair curve, then hammer it down using the arched piece of wood. This process works. It takes time for each fret. It would have been easier to set the frets before mounting the fingerboard to the neck, next time, on the ukulele.
I’m really happy with the way the ukulele neck is coming along, the whole uke is coming along nicely.
I went out back and picked some Granny Smith apples in abundance, and nearing the end of the pears, but I got a full bag. More treasures for work.
A fine day.



Raven came up today, it’s been a long time since she moved to Santa Cruz, 3 months so I took the day off. I went shopping in the morning for coffee and things. Back home I got to working on the bass guitar after cleaning up around and the bench. I filled a plastic bag with some green sand (one part clay, six parts river sand) I use for casting bronze though I haven’t done that in years. The sand was in clumps, hit with a mallet to break it down and fit it into the seventh day leather pouch I got at Sally’s. This works great to back the neck as I hammer the frets into place.


I clamped the aluminum fret stake I made into the big bench vise. This is a good tool for correcting the bend in the frets, though arbitrary not a perfect ten inch arc. Insert a fret to the neck far edge, mark with triangle file near edge. Remove the ‘T’ tang with the file back an 1/8 to the mark flush beneath, file the mark off and lightly round the corners with file and 400 grit. Tap it in the stake to curve it to better fit, a little more on the ends. I fitted three to make it 12, halfway there.

As I was building a wedge tool for the ukulele Raven showed up. So good to see her again. I showed her the new stuff, we got to work, she painting the vardo in black after a washing.


I spray painted the rattan table black, it looks good.


Earlier I found the Plasticine oil clay and fitted the grey water tanks with plugs in preparation for internal epoxy. I mixed a batch adding acetone to the resin before the hardener to reduce the viscosity and fill the gaps. It will take longer to cure as the acetone evaporates. Save the cup as a reference.

While I was North last week I sawed and carved the ribs for my next ukulele, my first build, a tenor.



One of the ribs is upside down in the picture. I still need to add backing around the sound hole and bridge areas before I glue things down.

I made us a dinner of lamb chops, steamed green beans (some from the garden),  fresh tomato basil, and rice.  We enjoyed it in the back yard room with a view.

I fiddled with the uke clamp after dinner as Raven painted the black up high, took pictures and wrote this. A fine day.