Craig Mayhem's Blog (21)

Ever have a build that kicks your ass?

Working on the 2nd nut and saddle.

Epoxy failed on the rod bridge.

Drilled a hole in the wrong spot that I have to cover up

The nut - beginning of the fretting - started too far down the neck so I put a piece of fretwire above it to protect the wood and it was too high and I had to file it down....

It's going to be cool when it's done, but I will be happy to see it out the door.

Added by Craig Mayhem on June 20, 2013 at 11:50pm — 3 Comments

Eventual project- Monkeypod lute

One of these days I will have to finish these projects! Seriously. Fiddle is on the cusp. Hopefully next week for that one. Nickel Seegar parlor guitar parts are mostly here. Should be an "easy" build. And now:

The Monkeypod Elven Lute!

(maybe TWO lutes)

Ok, so they'll probably be 3/4 string dulicimer strummers that LOOK like lutes. Watched "The Court Jester" with Danny Kaye this week and was intrigued by the lute he had with him. It was a…


Added by Craig Mayhem on June 6, 2013 at 9:32am — 4 Comments

What to do with a vintage cigar box?

So I just won this "Rare 1925 Collectible Uncle Jakes Nickle Seegar Lined Wood Cigar Box".  I got a screaming deal on it!

It's 13"x8"x3.5". Really a perfect size for a guitar. But should I turn it into a guitar or hold on to it to resell? I don't collect cigar boxes, but I love a deal. 

The other issue is the top / label. I'd have to cut into it for sound holes. I'm not opposed to this. I think it would make a super cool…


Added by Craig Mayhem on May 22, 2013 at 9:28am — 14 Comments

Ups and downs

What a weekend...

Nearing completion on a cat-bowl resonator concert-scale ukulele. I'm not a huge fan of non-neck-through builds. They try my patience and I'm leery of the neck joints. This one should be fine - it's a uke after all. But still! Using one of those Ashton boxes with the label that wraps almost all the way around. Put the bowl on the bottom covering the part that isn't covered by the label. Looks neat. Neck is cut and shaped, box is almost ready, neck support is…


Added by Craig Mayhem on May 6, 2013 at 9:52am — 6 Comments

New tools, mods and build dilemmas solved

In the interest of speeding up production I got some new tools. I've been learning from my neighbor who has been building with wood for many years. So after a few sessions of watch and learn I headed down to Harbor Freight.

First new toy is a 4" belt sander / disk sander combo. I should have bought this thing months ago. I only picked it up on Saturday but it's already changed my building life. I was able to thin out the headstock on a guitar neck made out of some very hard wood in…


Added by Craig Mayhem on April 24, 2013 at 10:30am — 5 Comments

Dobro parts shopping

Yum yum indeed.…


Added by Craig Mayhem on March 7, 2013 at 3:00pm — 4 Comments

In making a uke pickup, I made a banjo pickup

The dude who plays banjo in my band forgot his contact pickup. Since we wanted to hear him during practice I grabbed one of the uke pickup s I make. Used making tape to attach it between the bridge and tailpiece on the banjo's head.


It sounded terrific! I was floored. Didn't appreciably alter the sound of the banjo - still sounded like a banjo. Plugged directly into the PA. A little eq and it was perfect.

Now I have to make one specifically…


Added by Craig Mayhem on February 11, 2013 at 3:12pm — No Comments

Picture description mini rant

I really love looking at all the pics people post here. But sometimes a bunch will get posted without any description at all. I really like reading about the builds as well as looking at them. Can't be just me?

Added by Craig Mayhem on February 7, 2013 at 4:27pm — 14 Comments

Fun with nails and clowns

Yesterday was busy but I didn't get a lot done on builds.

Went to Lowes to get supplies. They were completely out of the sink strainers I like to use for sound holes. Crap! I did get some new carbide bits, more wood stock, a thin blade for my miter saw and various bits.

Took apart and cut up an ancient tin circus clown toy drum that is going to become a resonator plate for a guitar. Sure, I could have just cut a hole for a neck and Bob's your uncle, but the sides were…


Added by Craig Mayhem on January 9, 2013 at 8:46am — 2 Comments

Busy busy

This weekend I fretted a 25" scale, 22 fret aspen fingerboard and three 12 fret soprano uke oak fingerboards.

Cut a hole and dry mounted my 1942 PA License Plate in an Undergrown Gordito box for MY guitar! I say MY but I thought my latest uke was mine, but I'm donating THAT to an raffle for a fundraiser for a local artist who is in a bad spot financially. 

1940's PA plates are 12" long & really wide - it takes up nearly the entire Gordito box and it's going…


Added by Craig Mayhem on January 6, 2013 at 11:12pm — 1 Comment

Why is it buzzing!?!?

Finished the pain in the butt tin postcard reso uke build yesterday. Had only to glue down the bridge & nut and string 'er up.

Lots went wrong with this one - not the least of which was the really awful no good terrible really bad box I decided to use. I knew it was a bad box, but accepted the challenge anyway. The Royal Jamaica Petit Coronas box has a split opening, not a lid so working on the internals was a nightmare. Not only is the box shallow, because of the split…


Added by Craig Mayhem on January 4, 2013 at 8:52am — 2 Comments

First Sale?

Brought my reso uke into the bar I frequent both as a patron and performer and someone wanted to buy one just like it!

Wasn't even trying. Sweet.

Added by Craig Mayhem on January 3, 2013 at 8:45am — 4 Comments

One day build... Almost

ALMOST finished an entire build in one day yesterday. It's my second reso uke. This one is using a tin postcard from Hawaii. 

The box should have been rejected outright. Not a great box and it sort-of splits in the middle instead of having a top lid. Used it anyway.

Box got a hole for the reso plate and two grommet soundholes. Took a uke bridge/tailpiece combo and cut it in two to separate the bridge and tail parts. Glued the tail, made a damn mess of it with a drill…


Added by Craig Mayhem on January 2, 2013 at 8:56am — No Comments

Reso uke project update

Waiting for poly to dry. 

Made a bridge AND tailpiece for the uke out of a salvaged Telecoustic bridge. The pin holes will make nice tie-anchors for the strings. They're a little widely spaced so I added some string guides (screws).

I used the other part of the bridge for a bridge. flipped the original bridge since it was compensated so I could  use the flat part. Epoxied it in place in the original wood slot, cut it to size and it's almost ready.  One I fit the neck…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 29, 2012 at 7:31pm — No Comments

Measure a bunch, cut once, file for hours.

Made some progress on my latest build - a LP reso uke. Neck is almost ready for poly. Cut the hole for the plate in the box, then measured and cut the holes for the neck in the box.

What I FORGOT was that the fretboard is overlapping the box so when I dry fit the neck, the fretboard was too low! Luckily it was just the thin box bottom. This meant I had to use the only flat file I have - a tiny one - to thin the bottom of the fretboard overhang. It came out fine and will work great.…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 28, 2012 at 12:25pm — No Comments

Even more progress!

Check out the pics! LP reso #1 almost done. Waiting on some ferrules then I can string 'er up! 

Problem 1: Cut a hole in the wrong side for the EQ system. 

Solution 1: Cut a piece of plate to cover the hole and bolted it on. Looks like I meant to do it.

Problem 2: Didn't want strings contacting edge of box.

Solution 2: Used a piece of hex to act as a turnbuckle. Epoxied to tailpiece of neck.

Should get the amp done this weekend too. Too late for Xmas, but my…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 21, 2012 at 10:33am — 2 Comments

Reso progress and monster reboot.

I poly'd the neck of the LP reso I'm working on. 3 coats. Gotta smooth it out tonight then THAT part is done. Cut a hole for the EQ/preamp for the rod piezo. HOWEVER I THOUGHT I was cutting it on the TOP of the box, but I wasn't. Man alive. I might patch it with another PA plate I've got lying around and move it to the top. Probably will. Hope I've got some tin snips! 

Which stinks because I WAS at Home depot yesterday and didn't buy any snips. Haha.

I'll find something that works…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 20, 2012 at 9:29am — 1 Comment

Getting there

Had a stage show Saturday so not much got done. Sunday I went to two different Home Depots... Got my work table set up in the basement. Also bought a Husky 'X' stand for my 10" band saw. Stacked 2 2'x2' sheets of birch ply and bolted them to the top of the X-stand. Then I screwed my band saw to the top of that. Pretty solid. I'll probably get a couple of those 50lb tube sand things to put on the legs to make SURE, though it probably doesn't need em. Then it was band practice so I didn't get…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 17, 2012 at 9:21am — No Comments

Progress, regress

Got a big round top craft box ebay special in the mail yesterday. Was gonna use it for a license plate reso. However it is a bit smaller than advertised and the bottom is split all the way through. Aggravating. Don't have time to find another box, so my Undercrown box will now host my dad's guit.

Monster build - made a bit of progress. Rejiggered the neck internals so the pickup could be adjusted. Gonna have to pfutz with the pickup cover now though. Went to the Home Despot and got…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 14, 2012 at 9:20am — No Comments

Monster build progress

Glued and screwed the neck yesterday. I routed out a channel for the single-coil pickup, but after attaching the neck it seems the pickup will sit too high. This will be a 3-string slide but I don't want super high action on it.

Put it aside while I pondered the problem. Plus I had band practice... Woke up today with a solution. Going to cut the neck completely away from under the pickup then add a brace across the neck for strength. 

Also the really cool red hinge I bought for…


Added by Craig Mayhem on December 10, 2012 at 9:34am — No Comments

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