F I N K B U I L T

Scale model cockpit FPV

fpv
cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.

Liberty

liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

null
Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

drano
Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste




Project Ukulele – Pearl inlay

ukulele

Every axe needs a little touch of glam, and I see no reason why my ukulele should be any different, so I thought that a little pearl was in order.

In the spirit of DIY, I had hoped to start with an actual oyster shell, eat the oyster, and work the shell lining down into a usable sheet of mother of pearl. So, during my lunch hour, I walked over to the Pike Place Market in search of an oyster. It turns out that you need a really big oyster if you hope to harvest a usable slab of mother of pearl, and people just don’t want to buy those enormous monsters. Consequently, the fish market only stocks little dainty oyster specimens. So It was back to Dusty Strings where I purchased a pearl shell blank for the headstock decoration, and three pearl marker dots for the fretboard.

ukulele

Fret marker dots

The fret markers went in without a hitch, except for a bit of chip-out from the drill bit. I filled in the hole by putting in a drop of super-glue and packing in some dust from the same cocobolo wood from which the fingerboard was made. This works really well on darker woods, and once sanded flush, you will hardly be able to detect the repair.

Headstock inlay

I started out by cutting off the decorative point from the headstock, giving it a simpler squared-off style. For the inlay I wanted to do a sort of Astro-style, double boomerang design but it just didn’t look right when I mocked it up on the headstock, so I dew out this whimsically asymetrical ( in other words, sloppy) KAPOW!! star instead.

ukulele

Cutting the pearl

Mother of pearl is really hard, brittle, and thin. In order to be able to cut out the KAPOW!! shape without without breaking it, I first glued shell blank to a piece of thin wood with Elmer’s wood glue. The wood substrate was just the thing, and I was able to cut out the shape using a razor saw without breaking the piece.

ukulele

After soaking in water overnight, the pearl separated easily from the wood backing.

Digging the hole

I used an exacto knife to excavate an appropriately shaped depression the mahogany headstock. Let me tell you, they don’t call it hardwood for nothing, this took some patience. I probably should have sprung for that Dremel router base. I installed the star using some epoxy, and filled in the gaps using the glue-and-sawdust technique again, but this time it was a bit more noticable than it was on the dark-colored rosewood fingerboard.

ukulele

Next time: Nut, bridge and finish.

2 Responses to “Project Ukulele – Pearl inlay”


  1. matt zink Says:

    exceptional work! you’ve really taken what seems to be a pretty average ukelele kit and tricked the project into something special. i’m looking forward to the conclusion.

    will you be posting some sound files of the uke when it is done?

    would you ever take a crack at making a washtub bass? washtub bass players are a special group – they love what they do. there are plans all over the internet for them. check it out:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=washtub+bass

    Thanks for the words Matt.

    Yeah, I do plan to post a sound file when i am done.

    Love the washtub bass idea!

    steve

  2. DC Says:

    I very much enjoy your site and checking it regularly. Excellent craftsmanship. One question: How do you get such an even background in the photos you take, like the nixie clock for example?

    Thank you!