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Hot hot hot

It's been a fairly quiet week this week because it has just been so hot. Temperatures in the shed have peaked at 43.5 degrees, which is a lot in a little airless box.

A few hours each morning is all I've managed followed by a cool off in the paddling pool in the afternoon.

It has been a "bits and bobs" week this week, I've put some finishing touches to the murphy bar that I'm building for a friend's beach hut. I just need to decide on a handle and some support stays and then it will be complete. I'm really pleased with how it's looking but will wait until it's delivered before spoiling the surprise (hopefully before the end of this summer!).

I put the first couple of coats of varnish on my recycling crate.

Note to self, varnishing 4 sides of 45 slats is a bit of a pain once constructed, next time I'll do it before assembly.

I spent a bit of time working on my ukuleles and had a couple of failures/learning points on my neck design. I think I have been trying to overcomplicate it and get the CNC to do too much. My visit to Pete Howlett earlier this month reminded me that a normal router and template is much faster and easier for many operations, so I think I need to re-think some of my steps.

On my visit to Snowdonia Pete kindly gifted me a parrot vice and a carving knife which I have put to use this week test-carving a couple of necks. I say test-carving since these were necks that didn't go to plan on the CNC step.


After some rasp, knife and file work:

Maple and wenge neck blank before:

After a bit of work with the shinto rasp and a file:

I also made up a few body blanks and dummy necks to practise carving the neck/heel transition. Sometimes things just don't click until you can visualise them in the flesh, my neck pocket design is one of these.

The original inspiration, a Gibson Les Paul Juniour double cut, has a completely different neck and heel design, with a thicker neck in the pocket, a flat top to the body between the two horns and a step down from the back of the body to the heel. With the ukulele neck being thinner I wanted a bit more meat on the body section of neck/heel joint of my solid ukes.

My intention is for the shoulders of the neck to butt up to the protruding body neck pocket and then carve a smooth transition on the back edge. Taking this:

To something like this (although with the less aggressive body shape) -photo from the internet

My experience with the test blanks reveals an issue with my design, as you carve the blend from neck to body it starts to reveal the neck tenon which is not full width leaving an odd visual effect. This isn't necessarily a problem but looks a little odd, particularly if using a dissimilar neck timber, as can be seen below.

I have a couple more test pieces to try but I may have to redesign this area.

Away from the sawdust, I've also put a couple of coats of red paint on my upgraded Brembo 6 pot brake calipers for my Audi, which hopefully I should be able to fit next week.

That's all for this week, now to look forward to the first Lions test in South Africa on Saturday.

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