Tenor Ukulele #8 127

Completed December, 2014

(click any of the thumbnails for a higher-resolution photo)


This koa tenor ukulele sports abalone purfling and rosette, ebony bridge, fretboard, and headstock overlay, and custom abalone inlay. The bindings and pickguards are tortoise celluloid, and the gold tuners have koa knobs. To hear a Skipper ukulele being played, visit our Audio Video page.

Construction Photos


Construction begins with the joining of the plates and the thicknessing and shaping of the sides. The sides are bent and placed in a form and the head and tail blocks are fabricated and glued in place. Kerfed lining is glued to the sides. Pieces for the abalone rosette are cut on a dedicated circular cutter.


A recess for the rosette is cut with a Dremel tool, and the inner and outer purfling lines with a fly cutter. Bracing is laid out on the top and back.


The bracing and backstrip are glued into place, and the plates are brought to final thickness. Side reinforcing bars are glued in place.


The braces are tuned by shaving. Hot hide glue is applied to the gluing surfaces, and allowed to dry. Then the joints are clamped together and the glue is reactivated with hot steam. The end graft is cut and fitted.


Binding and purfling is installed, and the fret slots are cut.


The inlay is cut and the frets are installed.


The neck is fitted to the body and the bolt hardware is installed. The headplate and fretboard are glued to the neck.


The neck is brought to final shape, and the neck is stained to match the body. The bridge and fretboard areas are masked off from finish, and the finish is applied. After it's allowed to fully cure, the instrument is buffed out and set up.

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