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Ukulele Design and Construction: A comprehenisve guide to construct a Hawaiian Ukulele For Any Woodworker Spiral-bound – October 7, 2004

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Ukulele Design and Construction: A comprehenisve guide to construct a Hawaiian Ukulele For Any Woodworker + Make Your Own Ukulele: The Essential Guide to Building, Tuning, and Learning to Play the Uke + The Luthier's Handbook: A Guide to Building Great Tone in Acoustic Stringed Instruments
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing (October 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412039096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412039093
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sherweld on March 18, 2005
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A fair resource with many interesting bits of information for anyone seriously planning to build a ukulele. However the book refers several times to "layouts" or "plans" for a tenor ukulele supposedly included in the book. My copy had no such plans. The plans or dimensions referred to throughout the text would have made the book far more useful and understandable.

If this book is to be used as the sole reference to build a ukulele, it probably doesn't have enough information.

I should add that I have scratch built several other instruments in the past, (several violins, and mandolins, a hammered dulcimer among other things) so I am not a complete rookie.

For a complete guide to building a ukulele I would suggest "The Ukulele" by Denis Gilbert which is more basic, but does contain enough information to build.

If I didn't already have plans from another source, I would consider returning the book, but since I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going, this book does have enough useful information to justify keeping it around.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By kwb on March 28, 2005
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Summary:

This book is probably not a good choice for absolute beginners. Not because it is not good, but because of the way things are organized and presented. If you've never built any stringed instrument, even if you're an experienced woodworker, I'd recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0811806405/103-9920176-6446213">Cumpiano and Natelson</a> (and a plan for ukulele separately).

If you're curious, however, just go for it. Certainly the book has some good information.

Unfortunately this book suffers from full of typos, grammatical errors and a lack of a plan (despite the author saying otherwise).

Target audience:

It is apparent to me that the target readers are experienced woodworkers trying to build their first instruments or luthiers in need of fresh and different ideas. Quite often the author implicitly stresses on getting things done quickly and consistently. Access to some workshop setup is a norm: For example you're expected to use thickness sander to thickness the board, and build a Fox-type bending machine to bend sides.

How things are presented:

The book is not task-oriented (I'd call it idea-oriented). The sections are roughly arranged in the order of work-flow, but you cannot just follow one of these sections (e.g. about curving the neck) to complete the task that the section is talking about. Rather, the author shows you ideas about how he'd approach the problem. You get some general idea, often without details of the work. I'm not saying this is bad. With clear and instructive pictures, I myself found quite a few ideas (e.g. using high pressure-stamped wooden biscuit for neck joint, Spanish style ukulele instead of traditional box style etc.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C or E Kleinman on July 24, 2007
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Good effort , but not for amateurs. This book was a giant disappointment, poor black and white photos, erroneus information, and poor explanation of jigs. Not enough detailed expalanations, especially for beginners.Many of the photos in this book were poorly done,Photos need to be in clear color with detailed information.Lots of spelling mistakes, and incomplete words . Measurements , were way off. the author used guitarmaking measurements for top , back and sides. The back of the book had photos of jigs, but no explanation of how to make them.I do not recommend this book . Have been woodworking for 33 years.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Shuter on May 4, 2010
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I found D. Henry Wickham's book "Ukulele Design & Construction" a useful resource of ideas and construction tips for the building of the ukulele. I did not purchase this book as a stand alone guide to build the ukulele. I wanted to add to my library so as to further the options I had on building techniques and jig construction. I did find the book a bit deceiving in that on the back cover one could be led to believe that plans were included (as they should have been in my opinion)in the book. With out a plan included there are plenty of places one could be left hanging as to demensions and such. Overall I am glad I have the book in my library. JWS
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Miller on December 15, 2009
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As you've probably realized from other reviews, the plans are not included with the book. Overall, if you've never built a string instrument, I'd say the book is pretty good for an advanced woodworker with some solid manufacturing engineering skills in fixtures/jigs and reading drawings. You'll need a planer, a thickness/drum sander, bench beltsander, and a bandsaw, and tablesaw, as well as an assortment of rasps. By the time you read through the book, you'll know what tools and materials you'd need.

The spelling and grammar mistakes lend some credibility that Wickham is a regular guy, probably voted for Palin, but the book does the job. I'd be embarrassed, but I guess he ain't got no time for no high falutin' grammar and spelling.

The plans, available through a number of luthier websites, aren't very well done. The two sides of the headstock aren't symmetrical, the overall length in the drawing is different from the printed dimension and the peg holes only are located in one dimension. For many measurements, you have to measure the drawing and take a guess. The overall length of the neck and fretboard aren't on the drawing and even though that's not that important (since the distance from bridge to nut is the critical measurement), it doesn't give that much confidence in his skills.

Overall, I think I'll be able to build a uke from this book and plans, but it's not going to be easy. I'm working through the whole neck shaping process in pine, and so far the book has had good instructions and troubleshooting. No way could I do it in "real" wood the first time. If you go for it, good luck...
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