My friend Pat Hawley encouraged me to try to build a ukulele.
Having an experienced guitar builder such as Pat to turn to for advice
gave me the courage to build one. But once I got started, I experimented
with how I could build it without the specialized equipment that many guitar builders
use. I will also be covering Pat Hawley's more professional build of a ukulele
alongside my experiments. I also have Free ukulele plans available
My ukulele build - detailed series
Pat's ukulele build
|I experimented with different methods of steam bending the sides, while Pat used his jigs and a heating blanket. I'd say Pat's method is definitely better, if you have the right equipment.|
The sound board
I made my soundboard using spruce from a 2x10 bought at the Home Depot. Pat made
his out of Hawaian koa wood, with a nice rosette around the sound hole. No
rosette on mine.
I largely built my ukulele body without a form, but using a form helps to
ensure the shape of the instrument is exact.
Pat mouned the front and back, and added "binding" around the edges. I left the back of mine open for now, and skipped the binding.
Pat and I used very different sets of tools for making the necks of our
instruments. There are many ways to do it, and the best way typically
involves making the best tools you have.
I cut my fret slots with a dozuki saw, and figured out how to insert
the frets with a vise. Pat added fancy inlays to his fretboards. No
inlays on my fretboard.
Installing tuners, mounting the fret board, closing up the back.
I saved a lot of tasks until quite late.
In pat hawley's build,
most of this work was
done as part of earlier
Finishing the body, installing bridge and nut, stringing it up.
An instrument case for my homemade ukulele.
And here's the finished instruments.
Pat's looks quite exquisite compared to mine.