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17 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - 3 is the magic number

I have a quick post for you.  Here's what I've been up to today with my Skarkfin Ukulele build. My last post talked about some shaping I was doing to the neck. Guess what? I picked up where I left off...

The 3 Morphs!

It's been a productive day. The bad news is that I discovered 3 flaws in my design. The good news is that I've fixed two of them. Read on...

I warmed up by doing some more filing on the neck. You can't really see
in this picture, but the depth is almost where I need it to be, tapering
up to the body. I've left it fairly square for the moment. I need to think
a bit more about the shape I want and will come back to this later on
in the project.

Today's task was to start to fit the tuning pegs. You can see that I
drew lines onto the body to mark where I wanted them to be along with
the angle of the shaft. This was where I spotted my first design flaw.
The furthest left tuning peg is too close to the body... It's going to be
hard to turn it. No matter, I haven't done anything to fix it it. I am
considering angling the body bit that juts out at the bottom. I'll sleep
on it before making a decision...

Here you can see me drilling the holes for the tuning pegs. I wanted to drill these prior
to cutting the centre hole to give me the best chance of having nice clean drill holes.
You may remember that I almost came a cropper with this when I drilled the tuning peg holes
for my Kingcaster
. These holes are a lot thinner, but I still didn't want to leave any
room for it to happen again.

Here's the finished set of holes. I'm pretty pleased with them. Next I moved on to
drilling the holes for the strings to pass through the body.

See that I've marked the centre hole. I drew the strings onto the body and drilled
holes for the strings as close to where I think the strings will need to be as I could.
I intend to put some small grooves into the body to guide the strings around and into
the holes. This is where I spotted my second design flaw. The first and second string
 holes on the left are too close to the upper "arm". I got the holes started, but couldn't
get them as deep as I needed them. I'll come back to this...

I dug out my forstner bits and put some strategic holes into the centre hole. Then I
set to it with my jigsaw.

Here's the centre hole before I've done any work on it to tidy it up. You can see the
holes I've drilled for the tuning pegs on the left and only 2 of the holes I've drilled for
the strings on the right.

This is when I spotted design flaw number 3. I couldn't fit the tuning peg
closest to the neck. The centre hole was too small at this point. I ended up
drilling right through and into the upper part of the hole. Hmmm... I need
to decide what to do with it. It wouldn't be the end of the world if I left
it as it is.

I fixed the string hole problem by using my hand drill. It's got a smaller
chuck than my electric. But even the hand drill couldn't do the hole
closest to the arm. I ended up running a screw through it and working
the hole by hand. Fixed!

That's today's round-up for you. I'm pleased with progress. It was inevitable that I was going to hit a few problems on this build. I'm sure there are more to find. So far... nothing fatal! I don't know if I'll do anymore tomorrow.

I have a question for you.... See the body in the picture above. Do you think I should round the edges a bit? I'm getting close to convincing myself that I should... just a little. If you've got an opinion, there's still time to give me your two-cents!


  1. RE:
    " I have a question for you.... See the body in the picture above. Do you think I should round the edges a bit? "

    Yes,because sharkfins have to glide through the water and rounded edges are one of evolutions great tricks when it comes to elegance in the water...and Gibson guitars.-)

  2. What are the odds of Gibson stealing my idea?!?!? I won't sue... Must... rise... above... this...
    So you think I should round... hmmm... I'm going to sleep on it...