Chris Hoyle's ukulele buildChris writes
Ever since you posted your ukulele build a few years ago, I've been dying to build one of my own. I've been playing the ukulele for almost 10 years, and would love to have a home-made uke to add to my collection.
I started in mid-December and have been working at a slow gentle pace. I'm building a soprano sized ukulele, so I have been basing my dimensions on a soprano that I already have, but using most of the techniques that you recommended in your articles and videos. I decided to build mine from hard maple because it's relatively affordable, available at regular hardware stores, and I prefer the appearance of maple over oak.
For your reader's interest, here are some photos and descriptions of my experience with bending the sides.
For bending the sizes, my original idea was to use your over-bent profile and scale it down to suit a soprano size. However, I printed out a scaled down version of your ukulele profile (not the over-bent one) and found that the shape is fairly different from mine. I'm sure it would have worked fine, but I'm trying to base as many dimensions as possible on my existing soprano.
... but build it in such a way that it could go in the oven, as you recommended in your final thoughts article. I printed off a paper template, glued it on an old piece of cedar fence post and cut out two half-ukulele profiles. I saved and reinforced the two cutoff pieces to create an outer bending form.
I created a steam-bending chimney, very similar to yours, which fits on top of a large pot on the stove. Based on your experience with the wood warping, I built my adapter from some scrap plywood. So far there has been minimal warping after using it 3 times.
Next I got ready to prepare it for the oven. Of course I didn't want to put my ratchet strap in the oven, and also didn't have any all-metal clamps which were large enough to clamp together my form. Instead, I just cut some strips of scrap wood and screwed them across both faces, boxing it together.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at these photos and reading about my building experience. I know that you've mentioned that your ukulele build was one of your least popular project series, but it was by far my favourite. Thank you so much for posting it. Without your inspiration and helpful information, I'm certain I wouldn't be attempting this project.