Monthly Archives: November 2017


I just got a “new” car yesterday, Raven gifted me her 98 Honda Accord with leather seats and cruise control as her Mom left her a nearly new Corolla. I’ll fix the mirrors on the Toyota with new for her. It’s a wonderful Honda, reminds me of Dad’s. Friend mechanic Luis will put in a timing belt and water pump.
I worked on two ukuleles today, the third tenor, lacquered, nearly done. I also glued and sanded the back to the bass ukulele I’m making as a prototype in walnut.
Ramen and smoked turkey soup with green bean leftovers for lunch was tasty. 
Rainy day here, but with a let up mid day enough to apply the lacquer. Back to work tomorrow at the old job to finish my last week of two notice, then on to new beginnings.


Fun day today, laundry in, to town for coffee and supplies. Back home, I cooked up a batch of cordon bleu chicken with German TJ ham, Swiss cheese, garden thyme and thin breast meat rolled and breaded, baked at 350. Yummy stuff, one now and a couple for later.
In the process, I tried measuring the temperature of the meat, not right. a different thermometer read better. Hmm, I boiled a pan of water and calibrated the two thermometers to close to 212 degrees. Ready now for turkeys.
OK, meanwhile I gathered the spatula, tongs, grill fork and apron I’ll need for the turkey cook off coming up. I prepared 4 skewers and cotton string to truss the birds. I gathered the hickory chips and foil to make packets for the gas or charcoal grill, plenty. Hmm, just checked, I’m low on gin, I’ll need to get some cheap Admiral Joseph’s from TJ’s. A few tiny heads of garlic to make up for a regular one. We can mix them as it’s a taste of Dad’s garlic strain. Olive oil in a jar, all in a Cole’s hardware bag. Umbrella just in case, I think I’m ready.
Ukuleles, I finished carving out the last two mother of pearl slashes for the old English ‘D’ that is my logo on the tenor uke head stock. I sanded some scrap mahogany with a paper envelope to catch the dust and mixed that with 5 minute Epoxy in a couple batches. Fitted in to dry at least overnight.
I installed the last two frets in the bass uke, then installed the electronics, split the first screw hole, super glued and drilled the rest first. The tuner equalizer on top, the jack and battery below, with the piezo pickup under the bridge and plugged in to the EQ. Tied down.
They are looking so good.
Next steps glue the bass back and sand it. Bring the tenor inlay down to smooth, tape and lacquer it, polish to shine. Stringing the tenor should complete it. The bass will need finishing too. Nearly done.
Perhaps I can finish them over the Tday weekend. Best not rush it though.


I got some things done on the ukulele builds today. I glued down the bass bridge by stacking pieces of scrap wood cut to fit the x rib and stacked up, flipped down with a leveling piece on the bridge and a heavy weight. As it dried I clamped the fret board on and drilled a couple small holes for pins to keep the fret board from sliding. Then glued and clamped it into place, moving the weight to secure the fret board to the sound board.
Tenor 3, after finally getting the pearl inlays to stick to the head stock using the Duco cement, I removed the scotch tape and drew a line around each piece. They came off easily. Using the Dremel/Foredom router attachment with a small bit I routed out just a little of the seven pieces. This is challenging stuff, better I do it by hand with an Exacto blade.
About then Joe showed up. We checked out the wrecked truck, how to remove the back bumper, maybe bend the metal back enough to change the driver tire spare so it will move. It starts, but the radiator is blown, coolant short term.
Joe wants to turn a mouthpiece for his bagpipe, we set it up on the lathe in maple and take a few passes. More to do next week as we need to go get the rental car.
We got it at the airport, parted ways as I drove home, with a brief stop at Safeway for supplies.
I drilled the bass string holes and pickup through with weights on the sound board. With the fret board attached, I sanded the neck of the bass down to flush, curving the neck back and finding it comfortable. Smoothed with a couple pages of finer grit sandpaper. Touch up sanding on the sides, it’s ready for the electronics to be installed. I’ll need to tape them and install the back sanded flush. Tape the fret board, bridge and lacquer it.
It’s a slow process but nearing completion.


I wrecked my truck yesterday on the way to work, hit water hydroplaned, spun 95 degrees when I hit the guard rail, stopped in the middle lane facing traffic. The guy behind me put on his 4 ways and directed traffic as I called 911 from the side of the road wet. Fire truck arrived and let me sit in the cab until the tow truck arrived. The fireman started and drove it out of the road, wow. Towed home. Scary, really scary. I’m OK, my neck is a little sore today on the right muscle, but I’m OK. The truck is totaled.
I worked on two ukuleles today, just a little. I cut out a mother of pearl old English ‘D’ for the head stock of the tenor as it looks best there on the dark mahogany. I have several more blanks to cut from an Amazon order. I should do another one for the bass. I laid out the pieces on scotch tape, then glued them with Duco cement, wimpy stuff not as strong as the tape adhesive. Finally in place ready to draw a line with a sharpened mechanical pencil and Dremel rout out to the line to inlay into place.
I also laid out the bridge string holes for the U-bass using Wayne’s spreadsheet to calculate the locations. I drilled the holes a few thousandths larger than the strings and chamfered the edge after pre-drilling a small starter hole. I sanded the bridge smooth to 600 grit shiny, masking taped into position ready to glue to the sound board.
Homemade corned beef hash with one egg over for brunch made the day. Red potato, Steve’s small onion, corned beef chopped perfect. Butter fried egg, so good. It’s good to be alive.


I did get a lot done on the ukuleles today, my obsession lately.
I went to the Farmers Market this morning, pineapple guavas are on, a  small purple cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots and a tiny melon. I didn’t get around to cooking yet, mañana. Bone broth beef stew instead from last time.
I sanded the glued yesterday fret board to fit the neck on the T3 tenor ukulele, then reshaped the neck with course sandpaper down to 220 grit smooth for now. I added the last two frets, left off for location pins while gluing the fret board, then sanded them in. Set up the back for clamps, then glued the back into place, a big step nearing completion. There are still plenty of details to get it right, sanding in the back flush, drill and glue the bridge and nut down, the finish, pegs and strings.
On to the bass, not as far along as it’s more complicated. I marked the back where the the new ribs hold it in place in pencil, and ground the excess off using the drum sander but leaving enough to remove any burns or chips by hand. It fits close. The soft fir top is glued yesterday, so I sanded it closer with course 50 grit, careful not to scratch the sides, then finished it in with 120 grit to flush, touching up with 220 grit as the sun was setting.
I still need to install the X-ribs on the bass top, drill the bridge for string size and location, install and fit the fret board plus two pinned frets, bridge with pickups under the saddle, electrics, then the back, flush and finish it.
As I have new pearl slabs, I may cut out some inlays for the head stocks, an old English ‘D’ I use for my signature. Plenty more to do.


I spent the day working on the tenor ukulele mostly. Yesterday I glued in the ribs for the back using masking tape to position and secure the ribs with clamps as the glue dried, one at a time. That done, today I’m ready to glue the front, so I did, clamped to the flat board with a matching scrap size to hold the neck level and everything lined up to the center line. It’s good, a couple hours dry time.
I worked on the rib layout as the top dried clamped down. I taped out the positions square to the center seam. Once the top was dry I glued in the top ribs to the taped pattern and clamped them in, one at a time with a half hour plus clamped dry time each.
During the dry time I carefully installed wide frets into the bass fret board. Cut square, filed, sanded, gently tapped in straight with the mallet. Then pressed into place with the small arbor press. Snip the excess off with the cutter. Re snip it smooth, file, sand and do it again. I had taped off two frets to remind me not to install them so I can drill alignment pins to keep the fret board from sliding during glue up, a hard lesson learned last build.
I also worked on the bass bridge, marking out the piezo pick up on the bone saddle, then cutting it out using my jewelers saw. I drilled the rosewood bridge with the hand drill to except the piezo jack in place. This will all work fine.
I squared the bass back ribs to the center line and masking taped their positions. I’m not ready to glue them yet as I need to finish fitting the back to the sides with flat sanding. Once it fits I’ll proceed.
With the tenor ribs installed, I fitted the bridge backing plate, cut to fit with the razor saw and sanded to final fit. Masked to position, I glued it in and weighted it in place to dry.
I marked my rune into the back under the sound hole and signed it in pencil, then wrote “With love from Nancy” and dated as requested. The real date is on the top near the neck, hidden needing a mirror. I should have written it backwards, next time. Or I could still erase it and do that before the back gets glued.
Much done, a good day.