misterg’s spice rack uke build : Part 9 – Finishing touches

I’m really pleased with the way this worked out.

Not too much left to do now….

I still needed to level and dress the frets. I’ve seen quite a few youtube videos on this, but my reference was this one from Crimson Custom Guitars. Since the uke fretboard didn’t have a radius on it (and I hadn’t yet fitted the nut), I could just lay a sheet of 400 grit wet-or-dry paper on a sheet of glass and gently work the frets against it rather than filing or stoning the frets – the fretboard is small enough that it all fits on one sheet of abrasive paper. Even though I felt that I’d got the frets pretty level, it still needed quite a few minutes work before every fret made contact with the paper (you put black marker pen on each fret, and work until there is at least a narrow shiny line down the middle where it is contacting the paper).

I don’t have a fret file, so I ground the edge of a small file flat and polished it up so I could use it to dress the frets as shown in that video. I pretty much just followed the same steps: Dress the fret back to a smooth profile; round the ends; smoothed the frets with fine wet-or-dry paper; and when they’re all done give them a polish.

Another coat of Danish oil, and the neck is … FINISHED!

Back on the body the lacquer has hardened for a couple of days. The finish looks good, with just a little orange peel, and I’m sorely tempted to leave it alone. I’m loathed to do it, but know I’ll regret it if I don’t…

I hit it with the sandpaper again, flatting it off with 1200 grit all over, then buffed it up with cutting compound and elbow grease, then polishing it with T-Cut:

Shiny shiny shiny:

Although the lacquer felt dry, it would still pick up marks if the body was left resting on anything for any length of time. It’s just a week after it was sprayed as I write this, and it’s getting better, but still not fully cured. Reading around, this seems to be par for the course, so I’ll give it another polish in a few weeks to take any marks out.

The next job is to fit the electrics. We wired most of it up with the pots pushed through a piece of card at the right spacing, as the control cavity is a little cramped. The wiring is simple – just one volume and tone pot, no pickup selector, or anything. I went for 250k pots and a 0.047 tone cap. I used a linear pot for the tone and log for volume. Having played it since, I should have used log for both – the useful range of the tone pot is all in the first 1/4 turn. Prior to installing the wired assembly, we lined the cavity and the inside of the cover with copper shielding foil:

Getting the springs in behind the pickup lugs was a real trial – don’t copy this design! >:(

The only other wire was a grounding wire that comes from the control cavity and gets trapped under the bridge. That’s what the large hole under the bridge area is for.

Just got to fill this hole up now:

There you go:

Job done.

Thanks for reading 🙂

– – – – – – – = = T H E E N D = = – – – – – –

Whadyamean you want pictures?


OK next post… 😉

4 thoughts on “misterg’s spice rack uke build : Part 9 – Finishing touches

  1. hi how much did this cost you and how lond did it take you and would you make another one as i would love one just like this! this is one of the best looking ukuleles ive seen i wonder what it sounds like.thanks

    • Hi Edward – Many thanks for your kind comments and sorry for the slow reply…..
      For everything I had to buy cost around £80. The biggest expenses were the pickup, and towards the end, the binding & pick-guard material that I used for the covers on the back. It took a couple of weeks once I had started working on it, but I was ordering stuff from ebay for a couple of months prior to that. It was a ‘labour of love’ for my son, and I doubt that I would make another. You can hear what it sounds like here (If I allowed to post links):


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