Monthly Archives: February 2017


I’m getting close to done. Today I tried to lacquer the uke under the open garage door in the rain. This proved to be futile. The neck did fine as it has enough mass to stay warm long enough. The body was a problem, where ever it’s thin wood, it would cool and condense making the finish dull. I finally sprayed the lacquer, then ran in the house to let it dry warm. This worked great on the sides and back.
I’m having trouble in front as I got some runs. I sanded them out, but hit bare wood in a couple spots. This is a problem as they suck it up but the surrounding finish gets deeper.
Very little control with a spray can. I’m letting it dry overnight solid, then I’ll sand it back to hopefully an even layer. I may even have to take it all the way to bare wood and start over. It looks beautiful on the back.
I also noticed with it hanging up, the body is slightly warped forward, nothing I can do about that. I could lower the bridge with a file, but I think it will be alright. I’m learning. It’s going to be a fine instrument for fun.


Wow, I had a great day. Still sniffling from this cold I’ve had since Wednesday stuck at home. I got up early for a Saturday, into town for coffee and made it to Sally’s last days before the 9:30 whistle. I scored an 8 foot aluminum ladder and a router table, a good deal. It will replace the tall wooden one with the broken rung. A piece of cloth to cover bread rising and a sink valve included. No more bins and mostly empty stores, I’ll miss it.
I didn’t cook much today as I did that while home during the week. A batch of beef jerky in the oven on low to keep the house warm. Steak and egg breakfast was tasty. Potato bacon soup bin nuked for lunch, good stuff, a couple more left for lunches.
I fixed the tire on the bicycle I bought last week for $2 bucks at Sally’s. I replaced the front inner tube for $8 with tools. Ten dollar bike, I rode it into town and back, not used to that. Adjusted the seat, a good $100 bike cheap.
Time to work on the ukulele. I clamped the fret board into place on the neck and drilled two small holes through the missing two frets to align it with pins while gluing. I cut a tiny wedge to fit under the fret board end. Wires clipped, ready to glue with clamps set to length. Glue on, clamps on, set to go.
Meanwhile, I cut a bridge of rosewood long stock, cut to a foot for working room. I used the table saw to cut a couple shallow slots to make the saddle. Not enough room on the saw, I moved to the sander to make the flat on just enough. Back to the saw, I cut a couple deeper slots to allow for the through strings. Sanded a chamfer to allow the strings up from the planned holes. Cut to length on the band saw. Drilled them with the old hand drill after setting the centers with an awl to match the one I got in Sebastapol. I sanded it smooth with a stack of sand papers, missing a couple sheets.
By now the neck is dry. Clamps off, time for the missing frets. That proved difficult, but finally got it after re sawing the slot and arbor pressing it in.
The neck is wider than the fret board, time to file using a Sally bought sharp file by hand. My foot fell asleep a couple times but I got it, the neck to body joint needed a lot of filing.
Short on sandpaper, I drove up to Bosworth’s for a couple sheets to even my deck.
I made the neck heel of rosewood, rough formed and glued in place.
While that dried I worked on the bone nut. The piece I have isn’t big enough. I cut a new one from the old cow bone, had to re attach the band saw blade jumped. Rough sanded on the lapidary, then trued on the file. Fitted, sanded smooth and shiny.
It’s almost done.
I need to sand it all down and lacquer it after I attach the bridge. I’ll masking tape the fret board first.
So close to done, with two more days off I should be able to finish it.


Home sick today. A cold, I’m getting around OK, just don’t want to pass it on.
I’ve been working on my ukulele, installed the ribs top and bottom, ready to glue the back today.
Maybe I’ll prep the fret board to fit over the top by cutting a flat ledge with the table saw.
That and cooking, bean with bacon soup today. A beef stew yesterday and a chicken noodle soup the day before. Saving buckets in the freezer for lunches, stocking up.
Today I got a lot more done on the ukulele. I glued the back on and sanded the front and back flush to the sides. I also cut a notch in the fingerboard to fit over the top. Had trouble with that as the table saw changed depth of cut while I dado-ed the notch, too deep at the outside, dang. I cut a couple more pieces of rosewood, glued them in, then sanded in back to close. A bit too deep on a corner, but much better. Perhaps a sliver more. But it looks beautiful.
Mostly ready to glue the finger board after I drill a couple pin holes to keep it aligned while gluing, then add the two last frets (rubber bands in the picture).
I’ll be home this three day weekend to get it further done.
I also made the pot of bean with bacon soup from scratch, pretty good stuff.


Fun day today, I’m making bread. My Dad’s Uncle Herman’s recipe. More on that. I also did the usual coffee and Salvation Army, with a stop at the hardware store for Mira’s gate supplies and sandpaper 50 grit.
Sally’s was fun, the last few weeks, 50% off. I found a bamboo double steamer, a light timer and a sushi roller. As I was about to check out they announced bicycles for $2, OK, this Schwinn looks good in blue.
Up at the clothing barn I found a roll of nice fabric, not so cheap as the one guy was frustrated with long lines, but it is a lot of fabric.
We could use it on the vardo for an awning or mattress covers for my boat, a shirt perhaps. The kitchen shop had a couple bread pans half off, I may need them.
Home, I checked on the bike, compressor on, the front tire is flat, back holds air, both tires could be replaced, but two dollars. The frame, gears, brakes are all in great shape. One 26″ inner tube would make it run. Score.
Lunch time, I cooked a batch of Potato Bacon Chowder from the CDI cookbook, Karen Bates recipe. It won’t copy over here, but it’s really good soup. Potatoes, bacon ends from TJ’s, onions, celery, garden herbs, added garlic, cream of chicken, milk, sour cream. Wow, really good with a bread roll. Three more buckets for lunches.
I worked on the ukulele, taping the two sheets of 50 grit together with duct tape. I sanded the body sides flat on the larger sheet of sandpaper. The heel down and the base finally flush. The neck and sides smooth, it’s ready for the top and bottom plates. Using the jig with stickers and string I set up the top, adding clamps on the base and neck join. Loosened, I added the carpenter’s glue, restrung it, clamped to the base and neck. Checking it I added another clamp near the base to secure it.
Meanwhile, checking on the bread, oh no, it’s risen over the sides of my biggest bowl. Bubble gum all in the oven, fortunately the bake stone caught it all and the rack, cleaned out without much hassle. I knocked it down and moved it to the giant stainless dog bowl. Two more rises and into the pans, three loaves. Wow, Dad’s bread, I grew up on this stuff. I need a bigger bucket as I only made a half batch.
Tomorrow I’m off to Oakland for brunch and oranges, Mira’s gate latch. Laundry of course. Great day. Mmm, it’s really good bread.


Fun day today. Coffee as usual, some shopping with pizza in mind. Off to the hardware store for the last two bolts for Mira’s gate latch. I put the gate in last weekend but it needs a final latch.
I also picked up a box of 1 cup jars for Meyermalade to process. I have a lot of lemons. A stop at Sally’s, they sold the place to the Native Americans, a casino I presume. Only a few more weeks to shop there. I picked up a case of champagne flutes for sister Cathy as requested, still in the box, a dozen. A little paper punch and a couple more 4 oz. jars.
Home, I made up some dough, pretty easy, Emeril’s recipe. A pack of yeast in 1 cup 110 degree water, 1.5 Tbsp olive oil, 1.5 tsp salt, two cups flour. Knead it with more flour five minutes to bring out the gluten stretchy. Bowl it lightly oiled and cover with a damp cloth. (I blew it and left the towel dry, so the dough dried a little. Surface water fixed that re kneaded with flour) In the warm off oven for an hour to double in size. Punch it down and split the batch for two 12 inch pizzas. I fridged one for later. Rolled out and stretched to fit the pizza pan thicker on the edge. Heat up the oven to 500 degrees. Sauce of olive oil, a chopped garlic clove lightly browned, 8 oz. tomato sauce, salt, garden oregano, dry basil cooked down a bit and cooled. Spread that over the dough, add mozzarella cheese, a mushroom sliced, pepperoni, cooked sausage. Chuck the pan in the oven on the hot stone 15 or 20 minutes until it looks right. I could have used corn meal but didn’t. It turned out great.
While the dough was rising I worked on my tenor ukulele. The base of the body is dried from last week, now I just need to glue it to the neck Spanish heel, cut slots to fit the sides Kamaka style. Simpler than a mortice and tenon. With little wedges to keep the sides to the neck.
Next I cut 4 pounds of Meyer lemons from Cathy’s “Aunt Mary” tree into marmalade slices with 2 cups water to soak over night. My fingers are pruned, Okeeffe’s fixed that later after the dough was done. I’ll cook it down tomorrow with equal parts sugar and another two cups water to dissolve it.
I worked on the ukulele top and bottom ribs. The top has a a new bridge plate glued in with bevels. I cut the ribs that fit over that down with the razor saw and whittled to fit with a knife, a little adjustment with file. The back is missing a third rib, thought I cut it, another made. It’s coming along nicely.
I need to sand the front and back of the sides flat to accept the parts on rough grit sand paper to join them flush. I’ll add a back neck heal cover and need to step the fingerboard to fit. It’s coming together nicely. A good day.