If you watched my week two video where I demonstrated my ukulele collection – you will remember the last one I showed you was a beautiful pineapple shaped handmade ukulele. Crafted for me by my husband David as a wedding gift, it remains my most treasured instrument. David has kindly organised some photos of the building process and written down what he did at each stage of the make – it is a fascinating process and after seeing all of the hard work that went into the creation, it makes me love it even more. David was instructed on how to build it by Guitar Luthier Tom March and it all took place at Crimson Guitars in Piddlehinton.
Click on each picture to read the caption explaining the process!
Stage 1: Put four strips of sepele through a thicknesser that will make up the sides of the ukulele body. Cut out a jig for the ukulele body shape, and steam bend the 4 strips of sepele to fit the jig. Glue the end block, heel and sides then clamp overnight.
Stage 2: Split a piece of sepele and put it through the thicknesser to make the top and back pieces. The two split pieces are glued along a centre join, the tape is to pull the join tighter while the glue dries.
Stage 3: Using a band saw cut the neck into its rough shape. Hand filing and sanding will later refine the shape.
Stage 4: Cut the sound hole using a hole saw on a pillar drill and glue the top and back braces in place.
Stage 5: Glue the top and back pieces to the steam bent sides, ready to join the neck. Use a band saw to cut the top and back close to the body shape and then finish the join with a router.
Stage 5 continued
Stage 5 continued
Stage 6: While the glue is drying on the top/back/side joins, put the fret board through the thicknesser and mark out and cut the frets using a Japanese Dozuki.
Stage 7: Hand file and sand the neck to the final desired shape, and glue to the heel, attaching it to the ukulele body.
Stage 7 continued
Stage 8: Cut the frets to length and secure them in the fret grooves that were cut earlier. Cut holes for the fret markers and glue them in place.
Stage 9: Glue and clamp the fret board to the neck which is now fixed to the body.
Stage 10: Cut the headstock to the desired shape, ready for fine sanding. Attach the bridge, then cut the saddle and nut to size and make grooves for the strings. The finishing process involves several stages of increasingly fine sanding and oiling until the desired finish is achieved.
The finished Ukulele!