I started ‘Ukulele #11 in the summer of 2012 and had intended to complete it by the end of the year. Alas, I had to put it aside for a while to attend to other projects.
One of the problems with lutherie as a hobby (as opposed to as a job?) is that there are so many other projects that need to be done. I typically do not start a new instrument and work on it exclusively until it is done. I like juggling several things. For example, in addition to my current ‘ukulele projects (#11 and #7) I am currently working on the following other things:
- Harpsichord (Early 17th Century Ruckers Single – more on this later!)
- Restoring an antique Queen Anne mirror
- Norm Abram’s Deluxe Router Station (any TOH or NYW fans? This is almost done.)
- Turning new handles for some tools
- Helping my cousin (no, not #6) build a cigar box ‘ukulele for her friend
- Refinishing a sign I carved a few years back for my sister-in-law
- . . . I could go on!
Back to talking about ‘Ukulele #11. Number 11 is based on, but not a copy of a 1951 Barbero Flamenco Guitar I read about in the Big Red Book of American Lutherie. This particular flamenco is considered one of the most significant guitars in the flamenco world. Here’s a wonderful video about it. This ‘ukulele will have traditional tuning pegs like ‘most’ flamencos and a headstock with the same shape as the Barbero. The bracing structure is the same as that in the plan.
Why a flamenco style ‘ukulele? Just because I thought it would be cool!
Flamencos are usually made of Cedar, but in this case I chose Ceylon Satinwood, which is a bit heavier/stiffer. At this point the body is pretty much complete, except for a ‘lot’ of final scraping which will leave a nicer finish than simply sanding. The top is a single piece of 60-year old Italian Spruce that was a gift from a friend. This one, departing from the original, will not have a Spanish heel as I’m hoping that that will reduce the overall weight.
Here are a few photos of the work so far, top in progress, scraping the bindings, and the completed body. The Satinwood will be quite striking with a finish put on it.