Sharkfin Uke Build – Jiggery-Pokery

Here’s a very quick update on my adventures in making my Sharkfin Ukulele. I’ve been experimenting with a technique for cutting the blank for the body. Today’s post is all about width…

Movember is here again! This year I shall be attempting a “Motorhead”
as chosen by my colleagues at work. Please support Movember and
if you do nothing else this month… go for your yearly checkup!
If you do it, then I promise I will…

Here is the bundle of maple that I bought to make the neck for my Kingcaster electric
ukulele build
. I used half a block of wood for that project… still plenty left over for new
projects. My intention is to make the body for the Sharkfin Ukulele out of maple. The
problem is that it’s all warped and way too thick for my needs. I need some way of
getting the wood closer to the dimensions required for this project…

 

This is Planezilla. You might remember me shaping blanks for the fretboard and bridge
using this a couple of weeks ago
. I didn’t do too bad a job using the plane, but I felt
the need to try something different for the body. What follows is a bit of an experiment.
I’m still not too sure whether it is the right thing to do, but I wanted to try it anyway.

 

This is my inspiration for this technique. When I bought my router, I also bought a copy
of The New Router Handbook by Patrick Spielman. It’s a fantastic book. Pretty much
all I’ve learnt about routers has come from this book… it’s been a godsend. Hidden away
deep in the middle is half a page showing you how to level off a log using a router
for bowl-turning in a lathe . I used a similar technique for shaping the neck and fretboard
on the Kingcaster. It worked a treat then. I wanted to see if I could do something larger.
I dug out my router and started building a jig. First, I unscrewed the
base-plate on the router and attached the router to a length of thinnish
wood. The wood is a bit too rough really, but it was all I had lying
around. Using the plunge mechanism, I routed a hole for the bit to
fit through. Here I’m using a wide flat-bottomed bit.

 

I built a rectangular frame that was large enough to put the wood I wanted to work
on inside. It’s resting on a flat piece of wood. This picture is a little out of sequence. The
wood here has been routed. See the blocks underneath  that lift the the wood high
enough for the router to reach. I then used  the plunge mechanism on the router to
fine-tune.
All I did was to slide the router from side to side, leveling the wood as I
went. This picture shows me about half way through the first side.
Having done one side I then flipped the wood over and did the other.
If things went according to plan, this should have been all I needed to
do to remove the warps and to thin the wood a bit closer to what I
need for the Sharkfin Ukulele design.
Here’s the end result. It’s not perfectly square or too smooth for that matter, BUT it
is a lot better than what I started with! It’s still too thick, but I reckon I might give it
another run through the jig. I need to sleep on this, but my experiment may well have
worked!

That’s it for today. If I can get this piece of wood the right dimensions then I’ll cut the template for the body and then cut this blank to shape. That will have to wait for another weekend…

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