Monthly Archives: May 2017

5/29/2017 Memorial Day

I’m a Great Uncle, Sean, born the 26th, way to go Amber, my niece.
Wayne sent me a picture of the fir sound board stock he cut for me for the bass ukulele. That looks beautiful! Thinnest is 3.8 mm plenty thick enough to surface sand to 2 mm. Three sound boards. This is good.
Fir Stock
Arcata’s Almquist Lumber wasn’t open Sunday for the Holiday, bummer. The two velvet horn stag deer in the fenced yard made it worth stopping to look. I did get a chance to check out a bass ukulele at Wildwood Music, a CK, not a Kama.  Cross braced under the sound hole, one rib was cracked. I let the staff know, their repair team will get it. Piezo pickup under the bridge wired to the EQ, nice, made in China. The sound was good acoustically. Bananas at Large didn’t have one in stock.
Oh, a Wildwood tip, use Lava soap for peg dope on violins, etc, they didn’t have any for Warren. The pumice makes the peg tuners friction fit. A maker tip.
Other good thing, I picked up a small Dremel router attachment I had loaned to my late friend Charlie, he won’t need it. Special thanks to mate Amaranta. It has an aluminum adapter I made to fit my 1″ dia. Foredom. It’s useful for inlays and can be adapted for cutting sound hole rosettes with a little modification. I need to see if it also can fit my cheap Dremel knock off. Should be (and has been) a useful luthier tool.
A good long weekend, in memory of those who fought to protect our freedom, Charlie among them. Blessings.

5/21/ 2017

Another good weekend. Listening to 70s rock on Youtube, good tunes.
I did a lot of cooking and uke work. Yesterday I cut a couple pieces of fir for a bass ukulele soundboard, again for the mahogany back.  Using the surface sander, over and over until it reached the two millimeter point.  I printed the pattern I worked out on the cad program at work, scissor cut out, one side is 1/16th too short, dang. I can either use the smaller lining measurement or get another soundboard. I need to lower the sound hole in the CAD program so it’s proportional, easy. I glued up the fret board on the second tenor with a major mistake. Wayne told me to drill a couple pin holes in open frets so it wouldn’t slide. I didn’t leave any open frets. When I glued it, it slid, now I’m soaking the neck in a bucket to loosen up the glue. What a mess.
So cooking went well. I made a batch of bean bacon soup from scratch dry beans, turned out great with two big buckets. I bought a chicken on sale and brined it last night, 1/4 C salt, less than that of sugar, a couple fat garlic cloves smashed, garden thyme, juniper berries and allspice crushed in spoons, all in a gallon (16 C) of water. Big bagged in the fridge overnight.
This morning I finished making the bean soup. Then made a large batch of hamburger stroganoff gravy with the sour cream held back as Alan is lactose intolerant. Rotini pasta works al dente for the lunch gang. We can add the sour cream last minute.
Joe called, he needs a pop riveter I have. Great, be good to see him. I’ll bring the brined chicken. Daughter Haven has returned from East, good to see her again. I brought my working tenor uke for us to play and the pattern for the bass. Joe gave me a fine piece of aged quarter sawn fir for sound boards. I’ll need Wayne’s help to re saw it but it’s a fine soundboard piece.
We baked the chicken with veggies, really not enough for eight people, but potato salad and rolls filled it out. The chicken was good, moist and tasty.
The fret board is being difficult to release. In a bucket now, I’ll get it.
I’m excited about making a bass ukulele next.

5/14/2017 Mother’s Day

Happy Mothers Day! Good weekend, I got a lot done. Mostly on the uke, but cooking and serious home shower repair plus gardening.
Yesterday morning after coffee I remembered the farmer’s market is open again. Good to see old friends, radishes from Christen, Duncan’s mushrooms and a fig tree from Steve. I made a good batch of mushroom soup. I warned everybody I need to turn off the main water advanced notice. My shower has been dripping cold and has gotten worse by the gallon.
 In the early afternoon Jana showed me the water system. I went for the main valve, ahead of everything filter system, off. Inside, I had already prepped the screws and noticed to loosen the outer cover by turning. Now I went for it. Outer cover off, the first nut (oops), chisel the goo off, another bigger nut, off with the whole thing. The valve washer is totally shot with a huge groove. I have the rubber parts in a can that fit. Replaced, but I need some back up here, up town to Bosworth’s Mercantile.
 Harry’s in, great. I show him the piece, he looks it over. “You did the wrong thing, you can’t loosen the packing nut before removing the main valve stem. It’ll warp the fitting.” He doesn’t carry them but somebody left one with a bent washer cup he gave me for free.
 “I can fix that, thanks so much.”
Back home, I chucked it in the vice and nudged it round with a couple round ball forms and a hammer. The washer fits. I replaced the part in the faucet, everything is tight. I replaced my homemade L screw nob for now. I turn the main back on, it doesn’t leak, we fixed it! The new shaft has a complete notched end so I head to town for a new nob., get one, doesn’t fit with too many brotch notches. 16, where mine has 12. Google, not a Sterling but a Pfister. Tomorrow.
I made a great batch of mushroom soup with Duncan’s mushrooms, he’s always generous. Shrooms, some sliced aside, most cut finer. Onions, garlic, thyme with a light mix of the other garden herbs, sage, rosemary and oregano. Fried in butter, a little roux flour, white wine, chicken broth, a shot of brandy. To boil, then blended with the immersion blender, much safer. Slices back in, a bit more salt to taste. Served with sour dough bread, perfect. Three buckets more saved.
Today I glued the uke back up, with sticks, long rubber bands and string wrapped to the sticks.
It was tricky getting all the glue on and getting the back in place. I used a wet paper towel to moisten the glue assembly. I still needed to add a little glue with paper. I carved the front and back down using an Exacto knife to close, then used sandpaper to sand it all flush. I needed to use the knife to get the heel corners flush, then sanded. It’s all done, the top and bottom are attached and sanded flush.
I worked on a rosewood bridge, first one, a little short, then another 10 cm I can’t find yet. It’s here somewhere.
I traded for another nob today, it fits fine, shower fixed.
I’m planning on my next project, a bass ukulele. equivalent to a 3/4 guitar with fat strings. Yea.
A TJ bolognese ravioli with my sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan.  Ready for the week ahead.


I’ve been cooking a lot this weekend. I worked a half day yesterday and cooked up some roasted BBQ-ed chicken thighs for the gang, along with some baked potatoes. I saved the chicken juices from the pan and fridged it to separate.
I’ve also been working on the second ukulele. Yesterday I glued down the ribs to the sound board and back, looking good.
This morning I checked it out in better light, one of the lower angle ribs is over the bridge support, not good. I put a piece of wet paper towel on it to loosen the glue for awhile, loose. I scraped the old glue off and dried it in the sun. Sanded smooth again, I re glued the angle rib with the sandbag to hold it in place.
Meanwhile, I made a gravy out of the congealed chicken juices, scraping off the thick layer of cold chicken fat down to the gelled aspic cleanly separated. Aspic in the small fry pan, with just a little bit of the fat to melt. Flour and water, blended and dribbled in slowly, mixing fast to avoid lumps, thickening the gravy. Just a bit more salt made it perfect, into a tub sealed. It will need nuking to make it liquid again.
We need a veggie for the work lunch, bok choy is in season and cheap now, that works. I chopped off the root stock, washed each leaf, V cut the leaves off and chopped them, bowled. Next I cut the stalks into bite size pieces. Needs garlic, I chopped two fat cloves. In the wok, canola oil, the garlic to meld, stalks in awhile to soften a bit, then the leaves to wilt. Soy sauce should be enough to keep it simply flavorful, bowl it with a lid. That lunch is ready, BBQ chicken, baked potatoes with gravy, sour cream, butter, scallions, and bok choy. Perfect.
The ukulele ribs are dry now. I dry fitted the soundboard to the uke body using a slide clamp to bring in the waist to fit the ribs. Using the big rubber bands and string with flat sticks beneath to hold the soundboard down. It’s almost ready. Yesterday I routed out and filed the fret board using a made jig to clear the thickness of the sound board. I need to file the sound board flat at the neck perfect to meet the fret board, done. I’m ready to glue the sound board. Towels, wet and dry, here we go. Glue applied, sticks and rubber bands, string wrapped, wow. We wait.
Back to the kitchen. A batch of chicken and veggie soup. The usual, with a bit of bok choy, three buckets left after a bowl for lunch. Crostinis baked, a baguette stale from yesterday, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, basil, toasted. The bread ends were good dipped in the excellent soup.
I need to use up the TJ’s pot pie ravioli. An Alfredo sauce would fit, butter in the pan, garlic, a little flour rue to keep it from separating, half and half, then grated Parmesan cheese, good sauce. The ravioli boiled, two tasty buckets ready for lunches.
Checking on the ukulele, off the string and rubber bands. The lower left side didn’t stick. I add some glue with a stick and clamp it with the big wooden clamp. Wipe it down with a wet paper towel.
I played with my Rpi computer as it dried. Gary’s old speakers will work great for sound. I still can’t get this thing to run Netflix, fighting Chrome. I’ll re flash the SD card tomorrow to start over as Youtube used to work.
The ukulele build is coming along, the sound board is on. Dry fitted the ribbed back, it’s a little wider but fits nudged. The fret board will be a great fit with the notch to fit the soundboard. The router and jig was the right tool to use. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Much done, with lunches ready, laundry done, another week begins. I still need to glue the back, but it fits. Then the bridge needs making. This will be a great instrument as I plan to lower the bridge more to improve the action. Sweet.