Building a ukulele

My friend Pat Hawley encouraged me to try to build a ukulele.

Having an experienced guitar builder such as Pat to turn to for advice gave me the courage to build one. But once I got started, I experimented with how I could build it without the specialized equipment that many guitar builders use. I will also be covering Pat Hawley's more professional build of a ukulele alongside my experiments. I also have Free ukulele plans available

Ukulelele build, one video:


My ukulele build - detailed series

Pat's ukulele build

I experimented with different methods of steam bending the sides, while Pat used his jigs and a heating blanket. I'd say Pat's method is definitely better, if you have the right equipment.
I made my soundboard using spruce from a 2x10 bought at the Home Depot. Pat made his out of Hawaian koa wood, with a nice rosette around the sound hole. No rosette on mine.
I largely built my ukulele body without a form, but using a form helps to ensure the shape of the instrument is exact.

Pat mouned the front and back, and added "binding" around the edges. I left the back of mine open for now, and skipped the binding.

Pat and I used very different sets of tools for making the necks of our instruments. There are many ways to do it, and the best way typically involves making the best tools you have.
I cut my fret slots with a dozuki saw, and figured out how to insert the frets with a vise. Pat added fancy inlays to his fretboards. No inlays on my fretboard.
Installing tuners, mounting the fret board, closing up the back. I saved a lot of tasks until quite late.
In pat hawley's build,
most of this work was
done as part of earlier
steps.
Finishing the body, installing bridge and nut, stringing it up.
An instrument case for my homemade ukulele.


And here's the finished instruments.
Pat's looks quite exquisite compared to mine.

Comparing the ukuleles
Some fun with the ukulele with Go Long(!) music
Some Final thoughts on building a ukulele.


See also:

Building a cajon box drum, with Paul
Homemade pipe organ
Touring an organ
building workshop
Pat Hawley's custom fan
fret eight-string guitar
Pat's guitar case
Chris pinney's
cigar box banjo
Chris Hoyle's
ukulele build
Junk guitar neck reset
Cheap guitar mods
Guitar inlay experiments
Pat Hawley's homemade thickness sander
Plate resonance experiments
Building an air raid siren
Experimenting with
UV finish
Anti ASMR screeching and scraping sounds
Xylophone toy build

Back to my woodworking website.