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Stewart Macdonald Tenor Ukulele Kit part 5

I finally finished up gluing the soundboard to the sides. I took so long mainly due to lack of equipment and supplies. My chisels were a bit dull and needed sharpening. I like to use the The D&S Scary Sharp(TM) System of sharpening but this time I was out of sandpaper. Took awhile before I found time to get the sandpaper I needed. After sharpening my chisel super sharp, shaping the braces were a breeze. The chisel cut through the braces like butter. I did not cut the braces to length at this time.

Following the directions, I used a turnbuckle to clamp the side to the jig. I found that the back portion of the side did not sit flush to the jig. The cause was that the dowels holding in the waist line were not perfectly perpendicular to the jig base. I thought I could remedy this by wedging in card stock so that the ukulele side would sit perpendicular to the base. This turned out to be a problem later on (but could have been avoided). To sand the top flat, I used a sheet of sandpaper glued to granite plate used for sharpening.

With the top of the side sanded flat, I could test fit the soundboard and mark the braces for the correct width. I centered and clamped the soundboard and carefully marked on the brace and the side where the two crossed. This way I can get the exact thickness of the side and lining to trim away from the brace.

During the soundboard test fit, I found that the scrap wood protecting the tail block from the turnbuckle was a bit too high and bumped the vertical braces. Somewhere down the line of fitting a different scrap piece, the card stock holding the sides perpendicular shifted. That led to the problem I mentioned before.

I tried using the rubber bands during the dry clamp test. I didn't like how the top would flex and arch. I placed a 1x3 across the top to keep the top from arching. This only kept the center flat and the area outside would still flex. The overhang of the top stick out so much that not much pressure is need to flex the top. I ended up using a combination of the rubber bands and clamps. The clamps helped in keeping the top from flexing.

Okay, so for the problem that I mentioned earlier. When the card stock holding the waistline shifted, the side did not sit perpendicular to the jig. On the right waistline the top was pushed in a bit too much. This caused the top to dip just a slight bit and formed a gap. I found it by shining a light on the seam to make sure that I glued the soundboard to the side flush. Here is a picture of the gap with light shining through.This could have been avoided if I had rechecked the sides ensuring that it sat perpendicular with the jig. Luckily for me, this was easy to fix. Just needed to glue shavings into the gap.

Before the top was flush trimmed, I used a Dremel with a sanding drum to sand the overhang to about 1/8" of the side. I then used a trim router to trim the top.

Up next will be trimming the back portion of the side and the back braces and installing the back.


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