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18 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Bloody Frets!

It was too nice a day not to do a little bit more on my Sharkfin Ukulele build. Despite the troubles of yesterday, I was still on a high... Things seemed to be starting to take shape!

Burn baby, burn!

I've had some ups and downs today. I'm not too sure if I'm winning or not. Let me explain...

The first thing I tackled was the tuning pegs. I drilled the holes yesterday
and today's task was to get the tuning pegs into place. The wood is
quite thick where I'm fitting the pegs and I've only gone and fitted
them at an angle! There's nothing quite like making things difficult for
myself! I needed to cut some angled holes for the tuning peg head to
sit in. You can see here that I've done this. I did most of it with a large
drill bit, finishing it off with a stanley knife. It was tricky, but I'm
pretty happy with the end result.

And here are the tuning pegs fitted. I'm pretty certain that I'm not going to
use the washers on the inside. Everything seems to be holding pretty
well. You can see here how close the furthest left head is to the wood.
It's going to be difficult to turn, but I'm not going to fix it. I didn't do too
bad a job of aligning the pegs. Only that left one is slightly out. I can
live with it.

Next up, I did some work on the fretboard. I cut the blank to shape.
Here it is. It isn't looking too bad at all. Don't you think that this uke has
a spaceship feel to it?

I should maybe have stopped at this point - I was getting tired - but no,
I decided to fit the frets. You can see here that I dug out the jig I made
to fret my Kingcaster. You can see my mistake here... Although I've
held the right hand side firm, the left hand side wasn't fixed and you
guessed it... it started to move! Oh no!

Here, I've cut the slots for all of the frets. I was suspicious that I hadn't
got them all nicely parallel. I decided to fit the frets anyway to see how
bad it might look...

You can see that the frets are close, but no cigar. In case you're wondering, I've fitted
a zero fret to act as the nut and then there are 12 frets below that. I had a lot of
difficulty fitting these frets. The tang is pretty small and for some reason (perhaps it
is the wood I'm using) they just didn't want to stay in. I got all but one hammered in.
That bugger just kept falling out! I didn't glue the fretboard to the body just in
case something like this happened. Even so, I'm loathed to make another one.

I ended up gluing the wayward fret in place. Hopefully this will help to
rescue the fretboard. I need to put this away for a bit and I'll review
once I've had a chance to clear my head.

There you have it. The build has really moved on this weekend. I've had lots of challenges, but also lots of success. If it wasn't for screwing up the frets I'd be a very happy man. Perhaps this will look better in the morning. I live in hope!


  1. Perhaps it will look better in the morning ?
    Just try not to fret about it overnight.-)

  2. My grandfather said " Experiences is the best teacher. It's the only school where fools can learn." Soft wood is likely the culprit for the fretboard woes. I learned that by experience.

  3. Your grandfather sounds like a clever bloke. Yep, I think that I created myself some problems here with my desire to reuse that wood for the fretboard. The second attempt has been a lot more successful where I glued as fitting. Just waiting for some warmer/drier weather so that I can finish this build! Thanks for commenting.