Scale model cockpit 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 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

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

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

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

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Project Ukulele – Making the fretboard

uke kit
Grizzly Industrial sells milling machines, lathes, saws, drills, all manner of intustrial machine tools and shop equipment, and of course, ukulele kits.

Lutherie kits and supplies really do stick out as an oddball product segment for this industrial tool supplier. Apparently the president of the company is big into making guitars, and the kits are his pet project. I’ve known about the Grizzly guitar kits for a while and always thought that it would be neat to build one. A recent investigation into the ukulele sub-culture has pushed me past the tipping point where interest threatens to crescendo into obsession. The only way to get over it was going to be to dive right in, so I ordered up a Grizzly uke kit.

Unpacking the kit

The kit comes packed in a blue box about the size of a telephone book (which gives it an odd, Tiffany kind of feel). Inside there is a uke body made from laminated mahogany, a neck, pre-made fretboard, and a little bag which contains tuners, nut, bridge, strings, and some tiny pearl marker dots.

The top and back of the pre-assembled body are made of mahogany plywood, so you know that this isn’t going to be the greatest sounding uke ever built, but for me, its more about the building fun than anything, and for the price, who could have expected a solid wood top? The neck is pretty nice, but the fretboard was not so great, being made of “doorskin” plywood with brass frets, so I decided to start by making a new fretboard.

uke kit

Making the fretboard

I had some beautiful cocobolo rosewood thins left over from my Nixie clock project, so using the grizzly fretboard as a pattern, I cut a new fretboard blank from the cocobolo with the band saw.

uke kit
John the repair tech at Dusty Strings in Freemont provided the fret wire and some great advice on how to install it. I used a small razor saw and miter box to cut slots in the fretboard to accept the fret wire. I then cut the frets to length and tapped them into place with the butt end of a screwdriver, since I didn’t have the appropriate soft hammer.

To be continued…

10 Responses to “Project Ukulele – Making the fretboard”

  1. vladimer kerchenko Says:

    geeez steve…….. you really ARE a geek! and i mean that in the most complimentary sense of the word. you should explore creating a band using odd instruments….. kazoos, ukeleles, jaw-harps, theremins etc….. would be neat.

  2. Steve Says:

    Thanks. …I think.

    Actually, my next band is going to be the “The Finks” (a lodefink family band).

    I hope to play uke. Not sure what Ivan is going to play, but Harlan is deffinately on drums. I tried to start him on “ta ta tee tee ta” but he busted right into double flamadiddles!


  3. Brian Says:

    Sweet sweet cocobolo. Did you have any allergic reactions to it? I (and others) get deathly ill (imagine the worst cold ever, where each of your internal organs tries to leave your body through the various holes in your face) at even the thought of its dust. Ain’t gonna stop me from usin’ it though. :D

    Wow, that sounds pretty horrible. I feel like I dodged a bullet! No problems from the dust.


  4. TJIC from Technical Video Rental Says:

    I never had a reaction to cocobolo…but I was turning some “Chechen” once, and my throat really started getting tight, so I stopped.

    Later I looked up “Chechen”. Turns out that it’s also called…wait for it…”black poisonwood”.


    Gee, I wonder why the place I picked up the plank from didn’t mention that! :)

    Btw TVR has an extensive luthiery section.


  5. Birdy Says:

    Check out
    The guy who started the company developed alergies to all kind of exotic hardwood dust. Now he makes some of the most beautiful (and best) wood working tools on the planet.

  6. Cementtruck Says:

    I’m building an electric uke and am in need of some fret placement calculations. Found some on the internet, but wanted to know if there were some tried and true methods you tested.

    I’ll let you know when the uke is finished. This was my inspiration – http://www.risa-music.de/English/Products/Solids/solids.html

    I already own a Uke Stick but wanted to build one that suited my “style”.

    By the way, Cool Site!

  7. Jackerson Says:

    Raterme HI!!!!!!

  8. Frank Goy Says:

    Can anyone please tell me what the spacing is for the frets on a ukulele please?

  9. Ukes for Troops Says:

    Ukes for Troops – a Worthy Cause

    In May 2005, Anita Coyoli-Cullen and Shirley Orlando began to send care packages to troops in Iraq, not filled with cookies or body armor but with ukuleles, complete with tuners and song books. By May 2006, Coyoli-Cullen, whose daughter served in Afghanistan, and Orlando, who owns the Hawaiian Gift Shop in Huntington Beach, CA, had sent over 600 donated ukes from California to Iraq in the “Ukes for Troops” project. At first they shipped the instruments mostly to the Hawaiian National Guard units, but now requests are coming from all sorts of units stationed in Iraq.

    “The response from the troops and their families has been overwhelming,” says Coyoli-Cullen. “We have received many pictures and e-mails from the units who get the ukuleles. They told us how they go to sleep at night with the sound of the ukuleles and wake up to the sound of them. The Iraqis love hearing them play and even come into the compound so that they can listen to this strange new instrument. Some of the Iraqi soldiers being trained have even asked to be taught how to play the ukulele themselves.”

    Requests for ukes continue to pour in from beginners and experienced players stationed in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. According to Coyoli-Cullen, “we don’t just send over one ukulele to a trooper. When a request for an uke comes in, we send 12 ukes to the unit, so that they can all learn to play together.” The organization depends on donations of instruments and cash to their non-profit organization in order to supply troops with ukes. Thanks to a generous wholesaler, each $75 uke costs only $25, including a songbook and postage. Additonally, the Hawaiian Ukulele manufacture, Ko’aloha, sends 20 of their $175 Ko’alana ukes to them per month. If you are interested in this worthwhile project and would like to offer your support, see the website: http://www.ukesfortroops.com.

  10. Garrett Says:

    On the allergies note, I had a little discomfort from working with rosewood. My cheeks got puffy, and I felt pretty dizzy with a stuffy head. I drank about a gallon of water – my answer to everything.

    Thanks for the heads up on the cocobolo, Brian.