I’ve been obsessed recently with the idea of building a ukulele. As someone who knows virtually nothing about woodworking, I realize this is somewhat of a stretch. But what the hell.
I’m reading The Ukulele, a great little book that simply and clearly outlines how to build one. (Plus one for spiral bound!) What I’ve learned so far is that I would need a lot of tools to do this, and the investment in these tools would far surpass the investment in a similar (no, much higher) quality ukulele built by someone else. So, while I certainly wouldn’t save money doing this, I would learn to use a lot of tools I’ve never used and also a lot about how acoustic instruments are put together.
StewMac.com has a nice tenor ukulele kit with the major wood pieces pre-cut. The assembly instructions are freely available and provide a pretty good primer on how to build a ukulele. If I take this any further, I’d probably start there. Looking at the instructions, it feels like a pretty major undertaking that would probably take me a long time. But that’s cool, I’m in no hurry.
Financially, I’d have to build a few and sell them to ever recoup the expense of buying even the most basic tools required. While coming up with the money isn’t so much of an issue, I’m a practical and relatively frugal guy. I can’t justify buying all these tools to build one ukulele and be done. I need to convince myself that I’d be willing to do this again (and again, and again… and again).
This may very well go nowhere, but if I allow myself to dream, building ukuleles does sound like a nice retirement gig.