Micheal Connor Woodwork
the sweet sound of making shavings

Build a Ukulele ,Cairns 2012

Build your own ukulele in 2012

Once again the Cairns Ukulele Festival will be held the first weekend of July, and as a lead up to the festival we are offering a class where participants will build their own ukulele from Monday July 2 through Thursday July 5 with Friday July 6 set aside for a Master Class.

The course has sold out each year it has been offered, and this year we will be accepting applications for 14 participants.

We've structured the class so that complete novices to woodworking will be just as successful as those with years of experience. The class is equally suited to both women and men, young and not so young.

The classes have turned out to be such fun that we have a list of volunteers wanting to assist in running the event. You will not be disappointed.

Here you can see some of what happened during
last years class.
Signing up is easy

All you have to do is
contact me (Allen McFarlen) and let me know you're interested in joining the class. I like to keep things simple and personal so will answer any questions you may still have. Even calling you on the phone if that suits.

Tuition cost is $650 and includes home cooked meals by the ladies from the Cairns Woodworkers Guild, who do a fantastic job. In fact by the end of the week you may be needing to shed a couple of kilos.

Securing a spot requires full payment, and that can be made via PayPal, Direct Deposit or even sending a cheque if that is your preference.

Should circumstances change and you need to withdraw from the course as sometimes happens, a full refund will be provided. Ample notice is appreciated so that we have a chance to fill your spot.
What you'll get by participating in the course.

This year we will be building a Brazilian Mahogany Pineapple with 15" concert scale length, using quality geared tuners by Grover, and bone nut and saddle. You can choose to have a mahogany top, but also available is spruce or western red cedar.

This wood makes superb instruments and is really rare to find as it has been added to the CITES list of endangered species, so no new wood will be made available. This wood has been stored away for decades, and we are very lucky in being able to put it to such a great use.

The building part of the course will run over 4 days where at the end you will have your new ukulele in a easy care low gloss nitro lacquer finish and a Rock Case Gig bag, ready to take with you to the Cairns Ukulele Festival.

We will demonstrate each procedure on an instrument that we will build along with the class, and then you will repeat the process on your own instrument. All the while we watch your progress and assist when required. Throughout the course there will be ample time for questions and demonstrations. We do our best to pass along all the information that you would need to tackle building an instrument on your own, as several of our students have.

The Itinerary

It's a tight schedule we have to stick to, so we jump right in on day one with you bracing the top and back of the ukulele. Glueing the tail block to the sides and then the sides to the neck. Before you leave for the day you will have installed the kerf linings to the instrument on both top and back so it will be ready for you to attach the back the next day. It will look decidedly like a ukulele.

Day 2 will have you shaping bracing, and gluing on the back. We'll be partially shaping the neck. Installing fret markers, and frets. Glueing the fret board and peg head overlay to the neck.

Day 3 sees us finish shaping the neck, finish sanding the body and gluing on the bridge. Then we will be spraying your instrument with several coats of lacquer. You will have the opportunity to get lessons on spraying if you like.

Day 4 is devoted to getting your uke ready to make music. We'll be installing the machine heads, making a nut and saddle. Levelling frets and going through all the set up to have your instrument playing like the hand built custom instrument it is.

Day 5 is set aside for a Master Class where you will get to see and practice some of the intricacies of instrument building that we don't have time for during the class. We will take questions from the class on what interests them. Some topics covered last year were re-sawing timber from log and getting it ready to build a uke. Learning how to join thin veneers for tops and backs. Using hot animal glue which is traditional for instruments. Steam bending sides. Talking about various bracing ideas in instruments and what they do.