Griffin Ukuleles is really a one man band. Just one old guy who loves woodworking and discovered the joy of the ukulele pretty late in life. A few years back I discovered the ukulele and my fascination and obsession began. After I had made a few, and joined the local ukulele society B.U.G. (Bellingham Ukulele Group). Building ukuleles is a labor of love for me.
The bodies on these ukes are done. Today I gave them a final sanding, from 180 grit up through 220 and 310 to 400 grit. Now I await my laser expert cutting a yin/yang for George and a horse head inlay for Rich to be inlayed at the first fret. When those are done I will do the radius, install the frets and attach the fretboard. Then the final shaping of the neck and the French Polish can begin. Getting close now!
They both have highly figured East Indian Rosewood bodies. I expect them to be quite interesting when French Polished.
It was Farmers Market Day today and Depot Market was filled with Christmas shoppers.
This wonderful market building is built on the site of Bellingham's first railroad Depot. It is the site of the weekly farmers market, and used for many other public and private events. It's iconic steel beams were salvaged from the Highway 99 bridge that spanned the mighty Skagit River in the county just south of us. Owned by the City, operated by the Park Dept. and constructed by a public/private partnership, This is a great community gathering place.
But first you have to cut the channel for the bindings through, not only the soft Redwood top, but also the hard Rosewood side. It is always a little nerve wracking.
But a small router, a sharp bitt and a steady hand seem to make it work every time.
And what a mess it makes, sawdust everywhere.
And after the second uke, it is only worse.
And now to rig the router to cut the end piece inlay.
This guide will ride along the jig made of 1/4 inch plexiglass. The jig clamps to the back of the instrument over the center seam where the sides join. Tomorrow I will install the bindings and the end inlay. In late afternoon my daughter arrived from Seattle. She is having great fun learning the pottery art and wanted some wooden lids. We had a fun time making these tight fitting lids.
So while the glue is drying I have been turning out Madrona berry necklaces. Of course Marya gets first pick.
But I have been making progress on ukes too. Here I am preparing to put the back on George's tenor. Sawing the slots that the back braces will fit into.
Now I will rout out the slots with the Dremel. I find this makes clean neat cuts. d
With everything fitting it is time to brush on the glue and clamp down the back.
George loves wild wood, and here he is getting some of the wildest East Indian Rosewood that I have ever seen, but for the soundboard he is getting some classic fine-grained Redwood. east
I tried to count the grain using a ten power glass. Each mark represents ten years of growth. Really hard to see, but it approaches 80 years per inch. Just imagine how old this tree was. It was probably six or eight feet thick at the butt.
So now it is boxed up and trimmed, and looking really good, And Rich's uke is in the clamps and will be ready to trim in the morning.
I love that hole in the side of my ukulele. I insist on putting them in every uke I make. It sends the sound up to me in a crowded noisy jam, and it does not hurt the overall sound of the uke at all- in fact it might help it.
But it is obvious, it must weaken the side of the instrument, so I glue a veneer patch on the side with the grain going opposite the grain of the side. Here I have a caul and clamps holding that patch tight as the glue dries.
Glue dried, Patches on, Ready to drill the hole out.
I rough the hole out using a drill bit in a Dremel tool. Then I switch to the Dremel's sanding disk to slowly and carefully finish the hole and fit the wooden oval ring into it.
Now that it fits into the hole, I carve it down flat with a very sharp chisel and apply superglue to cement it in.
Then it is just a matter of sanding it down flush.
I got word today that my new gig bags would be shipped next week. These high quality tenor bags will be black with gold piping and this lovely embroidered image of a Pinecone. The pinecone, of course, is the name of my popular brand of travel ukes, the oval shaped Pinecone. If you are interested in owning one of these beauties send me an email.