This all started when I enrolled in an online inlay course through the Musical Instrument Maker’s Forum in 2004. During the basic class we learned to do a traditional vine and flower inlay on an ebony fingerboard and a torch set for the peghead. Then in the advanced class we needed to come up with something a bit more challenging. So, I decided on this theme of palm trees on a small island under the moon with a porpoise. Well, one thing led to another and I came up with my design which I then had to execute with pearl, abalone, various types of wood and bone.
But after completing the inlay I needed something to put it into, and decided that the only appropriate thing would be an ‘ukulele. I really was building a guitar at the time (still not finished) I had previously started working on a guitar neck, but while cutting the scarf joint to make the headstock, I miscalculated it and ended up having to make another neck, but the “error neck” was plenty good size to re-work for an ‘ukulele. I split the neck lengthwise and inserted a thin strip of pau ferro (Bolivian rosewood) to add rigidity and prevent warping, kind of like a through-spline. After carving the neck I routed the headstock and inlayed the palm tree scene.
I’m happy to say this first ‘uke of mine is now enjoying a life making music with a friend to whom it was gifted.
[Apologies for the poor quality of photos from back in 2004, I had a very poor camera in those days!]