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The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun
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Author:  profchris [ Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

This "build" has a story:

My friend Tony fell downstairs over a year ago (he claims to have been sober), and whilst preserving his Argapa resonator uke he busted his leg badly. He was in a cast, then had complex metalwork to stretch his leg bone over 2 inches (!) because of how the break mended. A month back his cast came off, and I thought he needed something to celebrate.

In his social media signature line he takes the [mickey] out of "serious" players who carefully list their precious ukuleles. One of the ukes he lists is: "Cigarette Box nano-Piccolo (Capstan Full Strength)". So I had to make him one.

I found a tin on eBay:

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20s or 30s, I'm guessing so something old. And the seller was fairly nearby, so local too.

It presents an interesting building challenge (something new, I've never done anything like this before). The metal is so thin you can bend it between finger and thumb. When first strung up, the action rose from 3mm to about 12mm before I rapidly de-tuned, so I've had to invent a radical new bracing pattern:

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Not sure I recommend it to more conventional builders, but it does allow strings to be put on and raised to tension. In addition to the screws, I had to find a way to reinforce the attachment to the top, which is highly flexible. So you might just be able to see where I've drilled tiny holes either side of the bracing, passed through a wound guitar string, and twisted the ends together. This removed the worst of the buzzing!

Neck attachment is also visible here - a nice big wood screw into the heel.

Tailpiece is simply a scrap of mahogany with a rebate on the bottom side to take the knots on the end of each string and slots to lead the string up to the top.

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And today it was finished - the lid still opens, so the remaining buzzing was the edge of the lid vibrating against the side. I cured this with a couple of layers of insulation tape over the rim of the side.

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And it actually plays. Not very loudly, because the tin is pretty small (about 6 inches long). Scale length is 11 inches, which makes this a sopranino. I've put concert strings on it and it's tuned in D (a D F# B).

Video tomorrow, once the strings have settled down.

Author:  profchris [ Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

And budget, of course. I've *just* scraped in under the limit (numbers are translated into US dollars as I buy in British pounds):

Cigarette tin - $7
Sapele neck blank - $1 (this is cut from a slab I bought a couple of years back)
Fret wire - $3
Tuners - $1.25 (I bought a bag of around 50 from a shop which had removed them when upgrading ukes - they work out around $0.25 each, but I added a 5mm crinkle washer to each one so they actually hold tune)
CA glue - $0.50 (I've easily used two tubes of the cheap stuff here, removing and re-gluing the bracing several times. It doesn't really do much glueing because the top was so flexible the bracing needed to be held on mechanically, but it does fill any gaps between top and bracing and so stops buzzing)
Scraps, screws, shellac to finish the neck - $1

This brings me in at $13.75.

Strings are about $8, so just over $20 all in.

Author:  SteveSmith [ Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Very cool and fun!!

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Author:  profchris [ Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Here it is in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnkXz3t17tM

[YouTube embedding isn't working, even when I follow the board software rules!]

Author:  Pmaj7 [ Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Sounds great Chris! Are there any sound hole/openings?

Author:  profchris [ Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

pat macaluso wrote:
Sounds great Chris! Are there any sound hole/openings?


You must be kidding! It's just the safe side of folding up, so i daren't weaken it by cutting holes. Mind you, the lid is far from airtight, it's got a bit bent over the years.

And of course, soundholes don't affect the volume, but just shape the sound. I reckon the sound is what it is (and louder and less brash than i expected) so I'm calling it done.

Author:  SteveSmith [ Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Entertaining video and the little uke sounds pretty darn good, much better than I expected. [:Y:]

Author:  truckjohn [ Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Very cool. I love it.

Author:  chucksurette [ Sun May 14, 2017 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Very nice! I really like that slotted tailpiece.

Thanks for sharing.

Chuck

Author:  profchris [ Sun May 14, 2017 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Thanks all. Handed it over last weekend and its new owner is delighted with it. Plus he's walking with a stick, so can stand up to play it. Well worth the time spent!

Author:  Bryan Bear [ Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Bumping the finished entries up to the top. . .

Author:  profchris [ Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Thank you Brian, but I don't think I should be a contender. More engineering than building!

However, here‚Äč is Tony with his uke (crutches not in picture).

https://youtu.be/F7qPF_rWIIk

Author:  jfmckenna [ Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Prof's Cigarette Tin Uke - a late bit of fun

Love that little diddy :)

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