Last night I finally spent the time making an Uncle Crow style 3 string.  Last weekend I bought several boxes from the cigar lounge a few blocks away.  Made a couple of trips to the hardware store (mostly home depot), even got a piece of oak.  I was considering some modifications to the Crow design but then just decided to "go with it".

I found an old 1x2 in the corner of the garage with a knot in it.  Thankfully one side was long enough for a neck, the other side long enough for the block.  Spend a bit of time sanding to smooth it out and the block.

So I went ahead, measured, cut...and forgot the 3" at the bridge!  Ugh.  Recalculate, change tuner/spacer spacing to 1", slide the nut closer to the spacers.

Drilled the string holes, excellent, nice linup.  Drill the spacer holes, uhoh, can't hold it straight.  Same for the tuners. Although they are centered well they're a bit crooked.  Well, continue on.  I don't have a metric tape measure, and no clamps to hold one down anyways.  But I have a 12" steel rule.  Marked up the frets with that doing the extra math.

Stared at the box for a while, it's 9 3/8" x 9 7/8".  Lid opens the long way.  After some measuring and marking I decide to swap it out for the slightly warped cohiba box.

I don't want to flip the box and everything over a bunch of times like in crow's video so I finally come up with using my scrap wood as a "depth gauge".  I center line mark the box for both the neck and block, and center line mark the block and neck at the box edge.  I put the neck face down, the box on top and the block in that, roughly line up the center lines.  I 'T'd the scrap wood against the neck at the front of the box and mark the bottom of the box on the scrap wood.  I slide the 'T' down the neck and adjust the box to square it up, recenter the center line and adjust again.  Voila, the neck is adjusted.  Drive the front screw home, double check the depth gauge and drive the rest!

Next fun, stringing it up.  The crow style eye bolt tuners are just a huge PITA with fresh strings.  They don't want to bend, but want to push out the tension string.  I broke the top string at one of the bends but thankfully had enough to make another bend and finally get that started.

So I tuned it up and went to bed, can't play with little kids sleeping.  This morning I played with it...the intonation falls apart going up the neck!  I tilted the bolt some to shorten the high string.  I need to fiddle with that more it's still not quite right.  The fret markers are off, probably due to the bridge not having enough breathing room.  I dont' care so much since I'd never played fretted strings before starting the ukulele some months back.

Well now it's time to play and plan the next build!  Maybe I'll properly redo the neck, eh?

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Comment by Brian on November 26, 2012 at 8:25pm
Comment by Lonman on November 21, 2012 at 9:59am


Have you posted the pic of your 'uncle crow'? l liked the idea and thought how novel it was, so I too tried it. This is the Spirit of '76 build. Turned out fine, but interesting enough, I felt the neck was bending some, so not sure if it is because it is pine or the strings (gitty acoustic low g set) are too heavy, so I leave it un-tuned when not playing.

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