I have made the move to the Seattle area and thanks to my sister’s garage I have built out my shop better than ever.
I have also stated back with building. My second ukulele is going great. This is a concert uke and I an very happy so far.
And I am continuing to build out my “west coast” guitar. With the California redwood top, Oregon myrtle back and sides, and Spanish cedar neck. I wasn’t happy with some little dings that happened on the top. So I took all the finish off and resanded the whole thing. It worked and now I am applying new layers of lacquer.
So hopefully both of these will be completed soon so I can start more.
Have been in the process of moving from Seattle to DC and had to disassemble my whole shop from the spare bedroom in order to sell our house. So without a shop I have had to stop my production of the second uke and second guitar. Once we get out to Seattle and set up the shop then if will be fully on again. I am excited.
Well I have been organizing the shop and getting things ready for all the builds I have going on. It is actually starting to take on the look of a guitar shop 🙂 Here are the parts bins for the four projects currently going on – two ukes (concert and tenor) and the two guitars (ESQ#2 and ESQ#3 the dreadnaught),
Also have been busy with building the side benders for the ukes and dreadnaught guitar. I do have a side bending iron, but have found with the concert uke that a side bending machine is so much easier to get the right angles and complete curves on the sides.
I then started work on the tenor uke while the concert uke’s finish is curing for the next several wees before final sanding. Glued up the neck to the soundboard and cut the slots in the fret board. I am waiting on new band saw blades so I can taper the fret board, trim the neck, and cut the sides to proper shape before bending them.
Here are some pics of the start of the finishing process. First coats of lacquer sprayed on the ESQ first uke and ESQ#2 guitar.
I love the way the Z Poxy and lacquer make the grain on the Oregon Myrtle just pop out at you. That with the Indian Rosewood binding and backstrip looks amazing to me.
Not a great picture of the Redwood top. I actually used the Z Poxy to pore fill this as well, not because you need to but I had not protected it well while making the uke and jigs in my tiny, tiny, did I say tiny shop, where I have to move something every time I wan to work on something else. Can’t wait to move into a house with a real shop layout. Well since it wasn’t protected right there were some dings which I needed to try and steam and sand out. Since it looked dingy to me due to not wanted to sand through another top 🙂 I just went as far as I thought I should and then used the Z Poxy. It made everything darker with the redwood, almost like sinker redwood to me, and with the lacquer finish I might end up liking it. My other option would have been to stain it but then I lose the look of the redwood. Didn’t want to do that.
Here is the uke outside drying after the first coat. I believe that it looks amazing to me, even with the uneven outlines of the logo.
I will put on about another six coats on it today, waiting about 2-hours in between each. I won’t sand until I get a good base of lacquer built up. More pics to come.
I know it seems like it is tang me a long time to get these two projects completed – ESQ #2 and the first ESQ uke, but life just seems to happen. There was our 3rd Wedding anniversary, my beautiful wife’s birthday, my birthday, my daughters high school graduation, and work. Oh well I still made progress along the way and am finally trying to finish up both projects as I am also getting things ready for Uke #2 and ESQ #3.
We ll here are some pics of the concert ukulele:
Kind of out of order but here is a pic after using Z Poxy to fill the pores of the wood and to help the grain pop a little. First time using it so I might of over did it cause I sanded a lot afterward. I put two coats of the Z Poxy with sanding in between and after. I always waited a day before sanding.
You can see I did it in stages too. First the top, then the sides and back, finishing up with the neck.
The fingerboard doesn’t get any and I should have taped it before starting, but I forgot and ended up taping it after seeing that my fingers were leaven Z Poxy marks. The book I am using states to use car or floor wax on the fingerboard and since I didn’t have any at the time I did not do this before installing the frets. I now have some car wax and will try to a put it on after I do the finish.
Here I am just showing the neck and headstock after carving, shaping, and sanding it down to how I want it to look.
For the ukes I had to make my ESQ headstock logo a little smaller. I tried to care out some wood to use for this instead of shell, but the wood always broke . So i tried to use wood dust and epoxy to fill the logo. Not sure if I like it since I am not an expert at using the Dremmel yet in cutting the logo into the headstock. May attempt to make a stencil and paint it on next time and save the carving for higher end instruments, but I will need to practice, practice, and practice at it.
Next pics will be the start of the lacquering of the uke and ESQ#2.
New update on the progress made. Glued up all of the braces for the top yesterday after finishing the rosette the day before and thickness sanding the top in the morning. Only took it down to .095″ this time around so I can sand it some more when I get it glued to the box and before the finish is applied. Hopefully will get it attached to the box tonight after I radius sand the new kerfing and slot it for the braces to fit. Making progress every day now.
Once I get it attached I will reroute the channel for the herringbone purfling and glue that up. Almost there once again.
It has been along time since my last post. Well I was frustrated with the way my top was going and actually tore the whole thing off. Yes tore it off. Removed all the kerfing cleaned up the inside and put new kerfing on.
I had to order a new redwood top and rosette so in the mean time I started working on ESQs first ukulele. Here are some pics –
So yes I have been busy with building and helping out my wonderfully talented wife with the many dance events she has had going on these past few months. But now I’m back and well be posting many more pics of ESQ #2, the first uke, and ESQ #3 on the near future.
I know I promised that I would post more often, but I wasn’t happy with the work I have accomplished lately on the guitar. Most notibly the work on the bindings and purfling, especially around the waist areas. So what did I do about it? Yes, I went extreme and routed out the old bindings and purflings, bought some new ones, and started over. I went with a binding that was already laminated with some BWB so I could bend it a little easier. I found that the BWB material wouldn’t bend as well and had a tendency to twist. I also used the bending iron to bend only the larger curves and then used a hair dryer to soften the bindings as I was glueing them on. This worked very well and sped up the process considerably. So here are some pictures.
Here you will see that I went ahead and did the hearing bone purling seperatly from the bindings. I realized that when I tried to do everything at once it was too difficult to keep it all lined up properly. So I glued in the purling and let it set overnight.
And now some picture of the finished binding job.
The bindings are so much cleaner along all of the curves.
Oh and I also worked on cleaning up the ESQ logo on the headstock.
I will complete the finish sanding of the whole body and start prepping it for the finish. I have been ready up on if I need to pore fill the woods before finishing, but everywhere I look it states that redwood and Oregon myrtle do not need to be filled. More to come….
Yes, it has been some time since I have post anything. Well it’s because I wasn’t happy with the way my guitar was looking. I had issues with the bending and glue-up of the bindings and purflings. I was also having issues with the neck and how it was fitting into the body. So I added some wood to the neck to be able to redo the bolt connections. I am now a little happier with the neck area. So what did I do with the bindings and purflings?? Well I cut the old ones out and started over with cutting the channels and glue-up of the bindings. Of course this meant purchasing new bindings and then bending them once again. I am also using steam from an iron to help get the additional bends I need during the dry fitting. Well I have glued the new bindings into place and here are some pics that show the excessive tape job I did to ensure that the bindings are flush with the bottom of the channel and the sides.
I will leave these for 24 hours and then check the fit. If everything is good I will then glue in the herringbone purflings. Oh I also worked on the bridge a little by cutting the slot for the saddle and drilled the holes for the bridge pins.
There have been a lot of areas I would love to change or do better, so lessons learned for the next one. I just need to learn not to be too critical of myself on only the second guitar.