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Making plates

The next step in my ukulele “kit” build is making the top and back plates. For the soundboard, I am using a piece of Sitka spruce from Aircraft Spruce in Brantford, Ontario. I bought a couple of their odds and ends bundles and found a nice ukulele-sized board, and re-sawed it on the bandsaw.

I have a jointing jig I made in 2009 for use with a hand plane, but I decided to try an experiment. I jointed the edge using my CNC and a 2 flute straight bit.

jointing the soundboard

I first squared the edge to the Y axis by butting the boards up to the edge of the bit, then moving it along the Y axis to the other end of the board, and butting it up to the bit again, then tightening everything down.

The bearing on the bottom is not used, of course. You don’t use bearing bits on CNCs, but the Z axis does not change for this operation so the bearing has no bearing on this job.

Soundboard

The experiment worked just fine. I can’t say this is any faster than doing it the old-fashioned way with a hand plane, but that does take some skill, and practice, so if you have the machinery, this is a viable option.

Of course you can also cut this joint with a powered jointer. I have a 4″ jointer, but I have never been satisfied with the results. Jointers are faster as there is no real setup involved, and of course no gcode, but there is no snipe using the CNC as there can be with a regular jointer.

I did the same for the back plate as well.

The back is spalted maple. I used hide glue to glue both the top and back plates.

ukulele back
I am Groot!