Monthly Archives: February 2018


Another fun weekend. The enchiladas I made for the Friday potluck at work were a big hit, two trays all gone, great. Saturday chicken bone soup with veggies and noodles, yum, three spare buckets. Today I made beef stew, three more buckets. Most frozen and one each for the week ahead. I still have other stuff for lunches.
I spent the better part of Saturday looking for my fret cutting jig. I finally found it in the vardo, where I put it during the fire evacuation.
I have an idea to make a different fret cutting jig that locates them all and I just run the saw down each slot. It uses a wooden clamp, I bought one at Harbor Freight.  As the clamp can be set at an angle it will hold the neck in place while the frets are cut with the jig. It would work better with a square cut neck, before I round it. But it did work. I cut some high grade birch plywood to make the jig, cutting it down on the table saw to make the square Z profile, I then wedged it in the old jig and cut each slot measured with the steel scale. It’s not perfect, but close enough. Drilled and bolted with wingnuts to the clamp, slotted to adjust. It would be better in aluminum as a couple slots broke and were glued back. I have thoughts of the digital readout at work with a saw jig attachment to get a perfect template.
Once the saw cuts were begun with the jig, I added the wooden depth stop to the saw and finished the cuts to depth.
Easy process, with minor improvements it should make perfect fret boards fast, With various added fret length jigs I should be able to make any size instrument with the simple jig.
I cut the first liner to size and glued it in place with a jillian cloths pins, drying. I’ve been adding a tiny bit of lacquer to the first soprano where I repaired the small crack in the redwood sound board. Once it’s built up enough, I’l lightly sand it flat and finish coat the sound board, ready for stringing.
Fun times.


I finally peeled the tape off my bass ukulele today and strung it up. I had to drill two of the tuners out to accept the huge strings. I drove to town for a new rat tail file to file the nut notches. Good thing I had a $5 discount card to use up. It sounds great. The finish won’t last long as I tried to shellac it, then switched to lacquer and it’s not sticking. But it looks OK now and will be fun to play.
Also almost done with the first soprano uke, but there is a crack in the sound board which I filled with sawdust and superglue. The second soprano is already started, body formed and sound board in old redwood. I glued up the mahogany back flat this evening. They go quicker.
I baked a whole chicken and made a batch of chicken enchilada mix, ready to go into the shells, but not yet. It’s ready for the next potluck at work. Slap it in the tortillas, add more sauce, cheese, and bake it. The bone soup is cooking down on the stove.


Another fun weekend. I’ve been working on the ukuleles some more, with the first soprano nearing completion. Yesterday I cut a piece of rosewood for a bridge similar to the one on the 90 year old Kamaka from Uncle Bob. It’s 2.5″ by 5/8″ by 3/16″ with a table saw notch under the back to hold the strings. I used the fret saw to start the string cuts, a Japanese flush cut saw really, switching to another one I have a little wider for the larger strings. All that at an angle to leave the string at the top edge of the bridge for a clean break to length. Sanded smooth to 600 grit and glued in place after a rough flattening of 80 grit to flatten the glue surface.
I ground down a piece of cow bone for the nut, sawed and sized. I deepened the neck slot to fit it using the fret saws, files and narrow chisel to fit. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It’s nearly ready to be lacquer finished and final assembled. It should be a good ukulele.
Meanwhile, the bass finish continues to be a problem, after two months it’s still not right. I’m adding more coats to the problem areas around the bridge to build up a smooth coat, but it’s slow.
While everything was drying, I surface sanded another side piece of mahogany. It came out a little thin, but usable. I fired up the hot lamp tube and bent it to fit the soprano mold, clamped to dry. S2 begins.
The hot lamp is too short to work well, so I went to town and bought a 3 foot lamp thread rod and two couplers. The modified lamp has more clearance for longer sides. It works well but I’m concerned about it falling over, needs more weight. Perhaps a couple sand bags.
I bent a couple liners cut from mahogany stock sawed to size, clothes pin clamped in place, looking good.
I cut a piece of cherry wood to make a neck, laminating a couple pieces on for the heel.
I cut and flat sanded up redwood stock for a soundboard, string clamped and wedged tight.
These sopranos are quicker to build. Probably why they are cheaper to get. Still fun to build.
Cooking, I made a few meals for the week ahead. Pork chops with mashed potatoes and asparagus, fried chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. A batch of cream of asparagus soup with bacon bits from Cathy’s Costco, tasty stuff.
A fine weekend, ready for the week to come.



I had a good weekend, made a huge batch of Meyer lemon marmalade, 12 cups, plus three 4 ozs, light color, good batch. 5 pounds to begin with. I worked on the U-bass finish, finally got a good coat I was happy with, but then.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe front looked great, finally smooth after all the struggles with shellac.  The back and sides looked great too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I pulled the bridge tape and a big chunk of lacquer finish peeled back on the sound board under the bridge, damn. I cut it loose with the knife, but will need to refinish it yet again.  I don’t like shellac.

Meanwhile, much got done on the soprano uke. The back got signed in pencil and glued on. I carved it to size with my tiny sharp Swiss army knife, then sanded it to flush. I refilled two fret slots I didn’t like with super glue and sawdust, resawn with a solid clamp squared first, much better. I also set up and sawed the last high 12th fret. All the frets installed cut to length and gently hammered solid into place, then filed flush to the neck and lightly chamfered on the edge, sanded smooth. I laid out the tuning peg holes, small pilot holes drilled and re drilled 1/4 inch to size from both sides to prevent tear out. Sanded and looking good. The peg covers will hide the tiny flaws.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReady for a bridge and nut, and a simpler lacquer finish. This one shall be a fine copy of the Kamaka dimensions, not as perfect, but hopefully pretty good. I changed the head form shape to my liking and plan to burn my logo old English ‘D’ into the top.

Good times.