Monthly Archives: January 2017


I had a good weekend, much done. Cooking took a back burner as I have so much. I did make egg salad as I have a dozen, one munched, five salad, good stuff, lunch and breakfast with more. I tried a small loaf of bread, just water, yeast, salt and flour. It turned out OK but the crust was really hard, need to work on that, more moisture while baking or something, research.
I worked a bit on the ukulele, fastened all the kerfing to the sides mounted in the mold with clothespins. The mold is a perfect fit for the kerfing by luck, both sides fit flush as long as the first side was tapped flush with a light mallet.
I had a few areas not stuck in the lower bouts, but it will work. Removing the second side I split it a little, damn. This morning I checked it in better light. An easy fix with a light glue and clamping in the parallel wood clamp fixed it, lightly sanded when dry.
My coworker Bob asked for a short spar resembling a yard arm on a long ship so he could practice the knots needed to secure the rigging above. Yesterday I used a piece of cedar given in the boat yard, appropriate. Cut square 18″ long, eyeballed 45 degree cuts made it fairly even octagonal. I used the lapidary to grind 16 faces, then trimmed it with a spoke shave to mostly round. Lap the ends then hand sanded to smooth. Today I made the iron rod that holds the sail using my oxy-acetylene torch, the vice, hammer and a pair of pliers.
I cooked up to boiling all the really good stuff I made last week to keep it fresh, bean with bacon soup and chicken bone veggie soup. Greg gave us a big container of pea soup his wife made nobody ate. I tried it, oh my God, this stuff is great, loaded with ham, potatoes and carrots, two helpings. I re cooked it up too and put it in a smaller container, washed hers.
I have to install the gate next weekend at Mira’s. I bought new carriage bolts, nuts and washers. I sanded the top of the gate with the belt sander, evening it out and beveling the edges. It’s ready to install with the hinge plates. I laid out the hinge plates, bolts, nuts and washers on newspaper and spray painted them black. They looked good before the rain hit. They dried well enough, be fine.
Laundry done. It’s raining hard, postpone taking in the basket until it lets up.
I tried laying out the uke on the jig, but I’m having trouble getting the base plate to line up. Finally I decided to just glue the base first, then attach the neck. I filed the edges more square and glued it up. Cleaned the glue up with a damp paper towel. It’s coming along nicely.
I’ll need to sand the sides even and flat as one side is a bit wider, and glue the formed sides to the neck. Next up front with bridge backing and ribs. Then the ribbed back. The fret board will need to be modified to fit and a back heel added to cover the neck. Then some. But it’s coming together nicely.

1/16/17 MLK

Interesting weekend, Martin Luther King day today. I did a major cookathon this weekend. Started with broccoli and cheese soup, then cooked a chicken in water for broth and shredded meat. Oh, and a fake Boursin garlic herb cream cheese. Next day was chicken bone soup and a bean with bacon soup from scratch dried beans, wow that’s good, two quart buckets full. Up today for skimming the fat off the gelled soup. Made a huge batch of chicken enchiladas, with a small non dairy set for Alan. Pork chops were a deal at $2, so I boiled and shredded them for a sloppy Joe pulled pork sandwich. Finished with a chicken bone veggie and rice soup. That’s a lot of food.
Picked up some tools at Sally’s, pliers, files and a cold chisel.
I spent the rest of the time working on my ukulele. I built a jig to hold the neck and body sides together. I used the Spanish heel method of joining the parts by sawing slots in the neck to hold the sides to the neck. It’s what the Kamaka uses, can’t be bad. Last night I carved down the neck using a small spoke shave, the small drill drum sander, a scraper and sandpaper. There are wood shavings in my computer room I’ll need to vacuum. It’s really smooth and comfortable, but still flat back to secure the fret board.
Today I marked and drilled the tuning head using a 1/4″ forstner bit, stopping as the pin came through and finishing the other side, then deburring with a countersink. It works well. I set up the neck and sides in the jig, then used the 220 watt hot pipe to bend the kerfing. I had a bit of trouble with the pieces breaking, but I got enough to make a good kerf to glue the parts in. Everything is just dry fit for now, but it’s ready.
Next process is to glue it all up. I think I’ll use the solid  frame to hold the sides perfect shape and glue the kerfing to the marked inner lines with clothespins. This should form the sides right. Next I’ll mount the neck and sides in the jig and glue that together using small wedges I’ve cut to hold the sides to the outer neck joint. Join the bottom sides and top with bracing. I’m thinking I may need to modify the fret board with a step to fit over the top plate using the table saw and a lot of light cuts. That’s the plan. But a lot got done. A good long weekend.



It’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve been fighting a crud I picked up in Humboldt. I’m on antibiotics and am finally getting over it. I mostly made the gate, needs a little sanding on the arches, but nearly ready for hinge plates and mounting. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This week I fixed a beater ukulele by making a new fret board, routing out the old tourist souvenir and adding the new board for correct intonation.


That worked and was good practice on building a good fret board. I used the small arbor press, worked really well to install the frets, using pliers to get them started straight first. This instrument plays in tune now, a fair accomplishment.

Today I worked on the tenor ukulele I’ve been putting off. I finally decided to use a Spanish heel to make it, I’ve been undecided, but the Kamaka is made that way, can’t be wrong. The neck needs to have slots cut to insert the uke sides instead of a tongue and groove connection. I had to use a wooden clamp and piece of wood to set the neck square, another clamp to hold the neck fixed in place. This is so I could cut the slot using the bandsaw on the upper side, with another pass to widen the slot for the side piece. The other side was easier to just use the table squared to cut the slot from the  back. Band saws have limits, but this worked well enough. I’ll need another jig to hold the sides waist in with dowels while I glue it up. Here is a mock up with a clamp, it’s going to work.


I cut the neck down at the heel at an angle using the bandsaw and an angle board, then sanded them more even on the drum sander. Next I need to finish forming the neck to close to final dimensions, with holes for the tuners, but just flat under to affix the fret board. This tenor uke should be a good instrument with luck and a little skill.

Happy New Year!