Harp Ukulele blog:


April 22 2012

I spent the day preparing to build a harp ukulele for a city arts program auction. I bought a set of plans from Pete Howlett in the UK. I always take the plans to kinkos and do a few full sized copy. This allows me to keep the original and cut up a set to make the acrylic templates that I like to have. I also made a bending form to fit in my fox style bender.

The plans called for a slotted headstock. I have nice jigs for full sized guitars but they are no good for this instrument. Instead I made a wood template the way I always see in the books to make a slotted headstock. I used a 1/2" forstner bit to get the ends just right, then I switched to a 3/8 bit to safely cut the middle out. I used a rasp to finish the slots. I will probably use this wood template with a flush trim bit in my router to do it on the real neck.

I roughed out the mold and I decided to use koa for the back and sides and cedar for the top. My koa set is for a guitar, so I though I would cut out a set of koa binding and put them in with a black fiber side purfling. I will use the thuya burl you see in the photo for the headstock and peg board veneer and possibly the rosettes. Also you can see in the picture that I will make a rosewood fretboard and a rosewood bridge.

May 30 2012

With the bass guitar out of the way and a couple of weekends doing garden work :(. I finally got to get back to the harp ukulele. First up I made a shooting board to help when I need to join the top and back plates. I am still learning with the plane. The jointer in the picture worked great for the cedar but had too low of an angle for the koa and tended to tear out some of the more figured areas. I do not have a good bench plane so I finished the koa joint with a strip of sand paper on glass.

I do like using the plate joining jig. Before buying this jig (I know looks pretty easy to make) I tried both the streched tape and clamping it between some nails. This jig is fool proof to assure the plates are both clamped flat and have good clamping force.

With the back curing, I went to assemble to rims but Oh - oh. Notice how flat the profiled sides are laying; basically top down but the top template is UP. Any one need a koa rim set bent for a left handed harp ukulele?

I had another Koa set set :{ and as the next series of photos show I produced a new set of rim components. I rigged up my John Hall bender the best I could to bend the small sides. The harp components I bent on a bending pipe.

The right side miters into the inside harp neck, so I had to build a little jig on my belt sander to sand the 45 degree angle. As you can see in the second photo the angled on the end of the side matches the 45 degree angle on the inside neck block.

As the next set of picutres showed I worked between gluing the right handed ukulele sides to the neck and tail blocks and preparing the remaining components of the ukulele. I had a block of thuya burl that I resawed of both the bottom and the sides. I joinded the veneers together in various ways to produce a set of veneers for the rosettes, the harp peg board and the uke peg board.

I hope to get more done this weekend I will post again.

Next Page