What I’ve been doing, sort of

Here’s one of the reasons I haven’t done anything much lately.

Wooden Animals
Well, also I’ve been putting baseboards in a closet, but this is more interesting.
Dark wood is bocote, the light is cherry. Spray lacquer finish. The dinosaur is about six inches long, to give you an idea of size. The others are a bit smaller, but perspective and junk.


Carousel repair

Not much on the bass recently, but I finally got this thing rebuilt.

(Original post about it is here.)

Carousel, repaired

Those are 10″ candles.

It’s really rather bulky. Here’s a closeup of one of the snowmen – their hats needed touchup, and this guy got new buttons.


Will it go round in circles?

I replaced the hub at the top with a thinner piece, built a new spinning deck, and added a bearing to the top of the shaft. It still doesn’t work as well as I’d like, but at least it’s functional.

Calling it Done

Well, I need to adjust the action at the nut a bit, but otherwise I’m calling this one complete.

T2 in case

Ignore the foot.

Yeah, it has some flaws. But you can’t really see them in these photos.

T2 vertical

T2 bridge

The saddle is compensated. It’s supposed to look like that.

First sound sample is available here. Pay no attention to the crummy playing; I was tired. Recorded straight into the computer via dynamic microphone; no filtering, reverb, or anything.

Enough with the shellac, already

I am not 100% happy with this (I never am) but I’m not going to do more on it.

The back isn’t too bad, for the most part. There are a couple of dull patches and lumpy areas, but if I mess with it more, it’ll just get worse.

Back finishing done

I finally got the spot on this side to take shellac. I ended up just wiping it on with a very small bit of cloth, instead of the traditional muneca, which was taking off as much as it was laying down. Need more practice, obviously.

Bass side polished

I removed the tape from the fretboard and as expected, there is residue all over it. I’ve cleaned the first three frets here, but not the rest.

Fretboard needs cleaning

The top has one area I’m not at all happy with, but I can’t fix it without sanding everything down to bare wood and starting over. And I’m not about to do that. I don’t much like working with spruce tops, so it may be a while before I use the rest of the ones I already have.

Front finishing done


Back to No. 1

The bridge on my first uke finally popped off last week. It had been pulling away from the body at the back edge for quite a while, so I was expecting this. Decided it would be a good time to try carving the neck down a bit more, because it’s like trying to play a baseball bat. The fretboard is pretty decent.

Most of a tenor uke

Most of a tenor uke

Above I’ve removed the bolt-on neck (hex wrench through the soundhole, not the easiest thing to do), the tuners, and the nut (which would be hidden in this shot anyway.) I thought about reworking the body, but at most I’ll do a better pore fill and maybe soften the corners a bit.

Here’s a shot of where the bridge was. Not sure if I’ll make a new one or just reglue the old. I don’ t think I have any bubinga scraps the right size.

Glue fail

Glue fail

The bridge stayed in place for ten years, which is pretty good for a first attempt.

Adjustment becomes repair

This wasn’t supposed to happen. This one was done.

Well, crud.

Threaded insert and the neck it used to be in.

See that machine screw and the brass insert? That’s what holds the neck on. There was a bit of a gap between the neck and the body, so I thought I’d just tighten it up a bit. Which was fine, until I put another washer on the bolt to keep it from bottoming out (which it was) and tightened it a bit too much.

Pulled the insert right out. Sure, it’s only end-grain mahogany, but I’d epoxied it in. So now I have to fix it. I think I’ll just epoxy it back, but also glue the neck in place. Just in case.

I don’t do threaded inserts anymore.

Hobby Tool Organizer, 2012

Cherry, paste wax finish. Knob is birch.

Hobby Tool Organizer, Cherry, 2012

Originally I’d planned on doing the joints with dovetails, but it didn’t turn out well. The main box and the drawer sides are all rabbetted, and the box on top is simply butt-joined. Some of the edges don’t line up as well as I’d like, but I oriented things so that the ugliest bits are around the back. Mostly.

The divider strips on top don’t define closed areas so that I can slide things out if I can’t pick them up. Sometimes it’s hard to grab little paintbrushes or tools if they’re right up against an edge. The strips are rounded or beveled (depending on what I felt like at the time) as well.

Initial design was done in Trimble (formerly Google) Sketchup. I didn’t do a very good job of it, but it was enough to go by. It’s not hard to use, but I didn’t feel like investing time to learn it thoroughly since I don’t plan on using it a lot.

Invisible Progress

Yes, I’ve really been working on the tool organizer. I just don’t have any photos. (It comes down to the old ‘Do or Tell’ decision.) It doesn’t look so hot, so you aren’t missing anything. The top is cupped, and the joints don’t meet very well so there are gaps. But I had fun with the router, so it’s not a total loss. It will be functional but not much more.