Step 1: Glue top/back

  • The top and back of this ukulele were made of 2 pieces (each 3 feet x 3 inches). These pieces had to be glued together in the first step.


Step 2: Cut inlay slot

  • The gluing seam will be covered by an inlay. The slot for the inlay was cut 1 mm deep with a router, which is a very useful machine for inlays and bindings. Also the slots for the body/neck connection can be made easily with a router. If you decide to craft more than one ukulele, you should consider to buy a router with at least 500 Watt.


Step 3: Glue inlay

  • The inlay is glued into the slot. Don’t cut the slot too deep. You can sand the inlay down if needed.


Step 4: Drill sound hole

  • An upright drilling machine is very useful to drill clean holes perpendicular to the surface. Big holes like this 2 inches sound hole cannot be drilled with a handheld machine. The forces and the risk to get hurt are too high! Use a jigsaw, if you don’t have an upright drilling machine


Step 5: Sound hole binding

  • You can glue a binding into the sound hole
  • Put a full bottle into the hole to press the binding against the hole side


Step 6: Draw top shape

  • Draw the shape of the frame to the top material


Step 7: Top braces

  • Cut the braces to length
  • Most of the braces are shaped to be thicker in the middle
  • The braces are very important to avoid dents and cracks. The top should have three parallel braces (2 close to the sound hole, 1 in the area of the bridge)


Step 8: Glue braces

  • Glue the braces
  • Press them for about 30 minutes. (Sometimes you don’t even need clamps)


Step 9: Back braces

  • I used only two thicker braces for the back, because the back is not weakened by a sound hole
  • Now it is time to glue a big label with your name on the back.


Step 10: Glue top

  • Cut the top, but leave some millimeters (1/6 inch) tolerance.
  • Glue the top on the frame
  • Press for 30 minutes


Step 11: Glue back

  • Glue the back on the frame
  • Press for 30 minutes


Step 12: Sand top edge

  • A nice and easy method to shape wood is sanding. I use a sanding cylinder, which can be mounted on my handheld drilling machine. The drilling machine is clamped to the table. You can buy these special clamps in tool shops
  • Move the body carefully (without much pressure) along the sanding cylinder. Always hold the body with a little angle, otherwise you might also sand the side


Step 13: Cut top edge

  • It is certainly easier to cut the edge with a router.

  • You use a ball bearing router bit. The cutting knifes and the bearing have the same diameter. The bearing ring will run on the side wall, while the cutting knifes will cut the top to the shape of the side wall.


Step 14: Cut binding slot

  • If you take a ball bearing router bit with a smaller bearing, then you can cut a binding slot into the edge. I took a router with a 12 mm diameter and a bearing with a 10 mm diameter. This results in a slot depth of 1 mm (for a binding thickness of 1 mm). The slot height should be a little less than the binding height. You can sand off the binding material later


Step 15: Glue and tape binding

  • Glue the binding into the slot. Start at the neck position. Put glue for a few inches into the slot. Press the binding to the slot and fix it with tape


Step 16: Cut neck slot

  • I decided for a body/neck connection with slots on both sides.
  • Cut a slot to the body
  • Sand the whole body before you connect it with the neck
  • Make the connection piece


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