A big block cut from a fench post – possibly Larch. This provides somewhere for the screws to go and takes the vertical force into the old plywood hog (which I cut a section out of).
A top plate that is split into front and rear halves. Since the tabernacle is glued in, it isn’t possible to get the top plate in in one piece. The top plate transfers the side-to-side force into the new ribs.
A couple of fiddly little bits to block up the remaining hole in the front buoyancy tank.
Just because I don’t have enough projects on the go 😉 I’ve started making a bass ukulele. I call it a μ-bass.
The body is an old Port Wine box. Since this wasn’t glued I’ve run Titebond around all the joints so they don’t buzz. The neck is a old piece of mahogany that has been lying around for 20 years. I bought some bass guitar tuners on eBay – I’ll need to make the slots bigger. Soundboard will be birch plywood.
The idea is to reduce the towing drag, make the boat a bit more secure in transport and provide a cover when away from home. It is made from uncoated acrylic canvas. The colour was chosen on the basis that (a) it is cheerful and (b) it was half-price.
The towing drag is important as we are planning to get an electric car and towing can reduce the range by 50%. Custard has always felt particularly draggy on the trailer so hopefully this cover will reduce the drag somewhat.
The Wanderer dinghy – mine at least – has marine plywood cunningly concealed at the lowest point of the boat. The plywood runs from the front buoyancy tank, under the mast step, and to the centreboard case. Sitting at the lowest point of the boat, the wood is often sitting in water. My boat is now 40 years old and poking around in the front buoyancy the wood appeared a bit softer than I’d like. Well – the wood at the top could be pulled apart with my fingers.
In addition, my boat has a free-standing mast without shrouds. This is both a good and bad thing. The shrouds help to keep the mast upright, but they mostly try to pull the mast through the bottom of the boat. The wood is obviously designed to resist this downwards pull. However, the free-standing mast has huge sideways forces at the foot and if that foot isn’t really attached to anything strong then this would be a disaster – both for the boat and anyone sitting near the mast.
I bought a cheap Makala pineapple ukulele secondhand on eBay – I couldn’t justify anything expensive. Overall I’m very happy with it – the tone is fine & it holds its tune. However the intonation (tuning) of the fretted notes was poorer than I’d like particularly on the C (lowest and thickest) string.
There are a number of reasons why this can happen:
The nut and/or the saddle is too high, so the string gets stretched when you press your finger down. This raises the pitch.
The saddle needs to compensate for the thickness of the string. Thicker strings don’t bend and vibrate in exactly the same way as thinner strings so the length needs to be slightly different.
Adjustable compensated saddles are a standard feature of electric guitars and basses providing screw adjustment of the length of the string. However for some reason they are not standard on acoustic instruments – maybe just because of the weight. Expensive ukuleles have fixed compensated saddles but cheaper ones (and mine is very cheap) don’t.
I checked the action (distance from string to fret) at the first fret and the 12th fret and these appeared to be ok – well within the figures given on the websites I found.
So what I needed to do was move the saddle away from the fretboard for the thickest (C) string. This involved cutting back the saddle until the intonation was correct at the 12th fret. Even on a cheap instrument this is a bit daunting.
To make the process reversible I bought a new saddle. I rubbed it on fine sandpaper until it was the right size to fit into the slot. The old saddle could be slid out once the strings were slackened.
I’ve recently started playing the ukulele and am loving it. I bought myself a cheap pineapple Makala soprano uke on eBay – it isn’t the finest uke in the world but it does the job and I like the shape. One issue I quickly hit was where to store it – the cardboard box it came in doesn’t really do the job.
No-one sells non-bag cases for pineapple ukes. So I took a punt on a Stagg semi-rigid case on eBay. It didn’t fit but wasn’t too far off, so this post is about how I got it to fit.
My eldest daughter asked me if we could make a bow and arrow for her. She’d done some designs and wanted to make them.
We watched some videos on YouTube on how to make bows and had a go. The first attempt broke.
So we tried a different approach. I’d cut down an Ash sapling in the garden a few months ago – we’ve got Ash trees at the bottom of the garden so we get saplings growing everywhere. The top of this was about the right stiffness for a bow. So we cut off a suitable length and started work.
There are some key design points to making a bow. Any wood that is weak enough to bend is likely to break, so the idea is to trim the wood in such a way that it is still strong, bendy but doesn’t break.
With the days getting shorter and darker I needed to get the dynamo working again. I had mounted this on a simple bracket bolted to the front panier rack mounts. However the stronger forks for the electric motor don’t have these mounts, so something else was needed.
As an aside I am still a fan of dynamo lights. In the old days (pre Li-ion batteries and LED lights) a dynamo system was the only way to get a usable bike light. These days battery systems are brighter than dynamo lights. However there is a huge advantage in a lighting system that never requires charging, is always on the bike and thus is always available for use even if you didn’t think you would need it.
However, it must be said that on this bike a battery front light is a requirement at night as getting started on a three-seat tandem in pitch black is hard. Without a light you’ve got no real idea which way is up.