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Stewart Macdonald Tenor Ukulele Kit part 1

My wife bought me a Tenor Ukulele Kit from Stewart Macdonald in February for my Christmas present (she gets my xmas presents late). She knows I like to tinker with guitars (I'm a luthier wannabe) and thought this would be a great gift.

I received the kit in the mail sometime in March, I was excited at first to see the box waiting for me. Then upon inspection, the box looked a little beat up at the corners. I thought no biggie of it and eagerly opened the box. To my dismay, there was a big crack/split in the ukulele's side piece. Also, one of the 1/4" dowel pegs was missing. I'm guessing the dowel peg fell through a hole in the box. You can see that hole in the picture that has the cracked side piece.

I contacted StewMac via email (with the above picture) that night about the damage from shipping. Customer service responded by the time I checked my email in the morning and said they would ship a replacement piece asap. I received the replacement within a few days. I didn't mention the 1/4 dowel peg as I have a box of those, but I'm sure StewMac would have sent a replacement if I had mentioned it.

While I was waiting for the new side to arrive, I read the instructions several times over. The instructions seem pretty straight forward. I spent a lot of time perusing the form at Ukulele Underground. Lots of good reading in there. I also read Building a Ukulele from a Stewart-Macdonald Kit a few times. The build is of an older soprano kit but the site provides valuable information. Another site that has useful information is West Hills Wood's Ukulele Build.

I started on the kit when I received the new side piece. I could have started while waiting as there are parts that do not require the side piece. Since this is my first time building, I don't want to skip around and miss something important.

The first step was to build the body assembly jig. The instructions were straight forward. The instructions say you can use angle brackets or fashion something out of wood for the side support. I don't like the idea of the metal bracket up against the wooden because I could mar the sides. Luckily I had angle brackets and 3/4" dowels. I cut two short pieces of the dowel and attached it to the angle brackets. Now the side won't be in direct contact with the metal brackets.

Next up, gluing the neck block.


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