DIY Sopranino Ukulele Part 8 – back and front rough cut

I’ve got the kerfed linings in.

Kerfed linings glued in

The sides ring nicely when tapped 🙂

Front and back roughly cut to size

Now I’ve got some important decisions to make.

I think the next stage is to get the front sorted – holes cut, braces attached and bridge made and (possibly) attached. The design of this is critical to the sound of the instrument, but I don’t have much to go on as (a) I’ve designed the thing myself and (b) I’m using a non-standard wood (larch from a fence post). So I’m getting scared about getting it wrong – not easy to sort out if I don’t get it reasonably right. The ‘f’ hole design would normally be on an arch-top like a violin – on this instrument with a flat top there will be less support and potentially bits will flop around. That was a positive with the bass but might be a liability on this instrument.

The bridge will need to go on the front before the back goes on the instrument as I can’t clamp the bridge through the ‘f’ holes. Ideally I’d loosely string the instrument somehow to check the intonation before attaching the bridge but I don’t think that will be struturally possible – the instrument would distort too much with the back off. So I’ll just have to measure everything as accurately as possible and hope it works out ok.

I have wondered about making balsa/spruce composite braces but I think that might be for the next instrument – there are too many unknowns as it is!

I probably need to get the joint at the tail tidied up before I attach the front.

Once the front is sorted I can glue it into place and trim the edges back to the sides.

The neck needs to go on after the front – it will need some kind of joint into the neck block on the body. The neck will also need a fretboard attached and the neck trimmed to final shape. I’d like to add inlay at the top of the head but this would take a while as I’d need to make a tool to make the recess.

The neck block isn’t perfectly at right angles to the body so something will need to be tweaked to get everything to line up.

The back goes on last. Since it is fairly thick (3mm) I suspect it doesn’t need a brace. The back will cover the heel of the neck.

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