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Ukulele Guild May Newsletter


UGH Business
West Hawaii Regional Report
UGH Forum
Ukulele Building with Bob Gleason
Al's Musical Movements
Mikes Page
Nate's Corner
Wokman's Culinary Delights
West Hawaii Regional Report


(By Andy Berard)

Our membership in the UGH continues to grow.  We had our first West Hawaii regional meeting on April 13, and had an excellent turnout.  25 people in attendance and 10 new members plus others sending in their membership separately. 

UGH West Hawaii Region Calendar

 The following calendar of events has been established for 2002:

          1.  Quarterly Working Meetings

        April 13, 2002

        July 13, 2002

        October 12, 2002


2.  Support UGH Exhibition and Conference at Marriott Waikiki Beach Hotel.

        November 15 -17, 2002


3.  UGH West Hawaii Region sound forum

        May 25, 2002 at the Keauhou Beach Hotel


 UGH West Hawaii Region sound forum

Our first sound forum will be held at the Ohana Keauhou Beach Hotel Kahaluu Room on 25 May 2002 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  We are charging $5 for UGH members and $7 for non-members to help defray cost and raise funds for the West Hawaii Region. We are limiting each builder to one ukulele and we are planning on 35 entries maximum.  Rance Pinao, our chairman for this event is working real hard along with his committee members Dick Hinshaw, Willie Pereira, and Ren Walker.  Master builders and players will be playing and evaluating all of the ukuleles submitted.  Cutoff date for registration of instruments is May 18, 2002.  Contact Rance at 808 322-6669 for information.


UGH West Hawaii Region Quarterly Meeting:

Our first meeting was held at O Kona Ukuleles & Guitars workshop in Kailua-Kona.  We had a great turnout and at least 30 in attendance with 25 signing the roster.  Membership drive was one of our primary objectives as well as establishing our calendar of events for the rest of the 2002 year. 


Some of our attendees at our first quarterly meeting.  Ira Glasser, Alan Taniyama, Jim Anderson, Bob Gleason, Guy Sasaki, & Laurie Tupasi

Our meeting started out with a great video from Guy Sasaki showing how the students at Konawaena High School make ukuleles.  This video has been shown on the Big Island Channel 9 (Visitor Channel on what's happening of interest to visitors)  Many of our builders of ukuleles got their start at Konawaena's evening adult course or as students under the tutelage of Guy Sasaki.  Not sure how many instruments have been built in Guy's classes, but, it is well into the hundreds, maybe even thousand!  One of Guy's comments at our opening introductions reflects his philosophy about ukes"he wants to continue building ukes that are affordable by everyone " It's not about money, rather its about the love of the uke and those who desire playing it.


David Gomes during his demonstration with wood binding and Andy Berard looking on.

Our first demonstration was conducted by Al Vickonoff.   He showed us his neck/body alignment fixture, which he built and modified to suit his way of building.  His source for the jig is Ukuleles by Kawika Web Site.  Sorry no pictures were taken, but you can get the information from the referent web site.  Following Al, Jim Anderson demonstrated his method of neck/body alignment where he uses the flat section of his work bench with  body & neck face down and  aligned and clamped against his wood workers table vise such that he is able to quickly and evenly apply pressure for the jointing process.  (Again, sorry, no pictures available).  Following Jim Anderson, Master Luthier David Gomes of David Gomes Guitars from Kohala, shows us his methods of building wood binding.  He brought along samples as well as his clamping jig to sandwich the thin strips of wood that he uses in his binding work.  He sands his wood strips down to about .008 inches on his thickness sander, layers his line wood, using titebond wood glue and clamps to his base wood, which in this case was purple heart wood then when all done, will cut on his bandsaw using a metal blade and then final sanding.  All tolerances are very specific for dimensions of the binding channel as well as the binding with purfling line added.  David also showed us his "Rope Binding" that he builds for some of his custom ukes as well as restorations.  Sort of like stacking wood to build a Spanish rosette log, then cutting at about 45 degrees and regluing cut sections to form the completed binding!  As David said it was even difficult to explainand he challenged the group to figure out how it was builtand he may even show us how at our next meeting. 

Close-up of David's Rope Binding

Following David, was Master Luthier Bob Gleason of Pegasus Guitars & Ukuleles.  He uses a long jointer plane about 22 to 24 inches long, sharpened to razor sharpness and a shooting board that is waxed to help minimize friction when planning the edge.  Both edges are planned simultaneously, and the first pass is with a course setting of the plane to get the edges close to true.  Second pass is with a finer setting that planes the joint to a final edge.  He places both pieces of wood against a ridgid edge support to apply hand pressure to the joint and as you press down at the joint you will see movement where there is no contact between the wood.  This tells him where he needs to plane next to complete the joint.  No need to look for light between the joint.  Checkout his web site for more details of the method.  All told, took about 5 minutes to get a "PERFECT EDGE"!!

Bob Gleason demonstrating edge joining with his big jointing plane

Bob Gleason  demonstrating his method of edge gluing with his high tech jig!

Bob's next demonstration was showing us how he used his joining board with no metal clamps!!!  Only rope & wood.  The work board is in the form of a cross made out of particle board about 3/4" thick.  Waxed paper is placed on both sides of the glue joint and about two wraps of rope in a figure 8 pattern is made at the three horizontal ends of the work board using twine about 1/8 inch thick.  The wraps are loose enough to allow insertion of the three wedges that applies all of the horizontal force to get a great edge match.  The wedges are about 12" long and taper from zero to about 3 ".  Well, I know how I will be doing my edge matching and joining in the future.


Throughout the demonstrations, it was just wonderful to see how David and Bob were able to share in their methods of doing similar tasks.  Similar but different!  How great it is to have two masters to help us further our craft!  Mahalo uni loa to David & Bob.


Following the demonstrations, Bob Gleason had some items for sale, such as koa sets and prufling, which was bought by builders in attendance.  Koa sets were straight grain and curly koa.  The purfling was black/white/black or white/black/white and made in Europe.  I have since tried it on my inlay work and it is far superior than the maple veneer stuff that I use from LMI.  It is so pliable you can literally bend it into a tight figure 8 pattern and it is super hard stuff that doesn't get dented with the pins that I use to hold it against the binding ledge during gluing!!!  Bob is checking with his source to find out if other color options are available.  Contact Bob if you want to get some.  Also, mahalo to Bob for his donation of $20 to our region treasury as a percentage of his sales at our meeting .  During our future meetings it would be a good idea if all of those who sold stuff would provide our treasury with some kokua to help us with our expenses.


The pupus was good, but not great since this was our first meeting.  Thanks to Guy for his wonderful dried/smoked opelu.  It was real ono.  Thanks to Richard Godin for his delicious desert which he forgot in the frigno sweat, he and I ate some and he going freeze um for out next meeting, Ha!  Mahalo Rance, Laurie, and others who brought the dips & chips, mahalo to David & Bob for their sweet stuff and mahalo to Me for drinks and chips & dip.  Next meeting will be much better in terms of the pupusI promise.  Mahalo to Richard Godin for buying the Ice for our drinks and for taking all of the pictures for this newsletter.

Ralph Lewis, Al Vickonoff, Sam Rosen, Ren Walker, Rance Pinao, Willie Pereira

For our first meeting, I must say it was just fantastic to see all of the sharing of information with aloha to further our craft of lutherie.  Professionals and amateurs alike with a common goal of advancing our craft for those who follow.  E kalamai for such a long newsletter from the Big Island, however we are so excited about the process that we had to share with all of you.  Don't forget our next meeting and submit you ideas of program material for presentation to me and will work it to make the meeting beneficial to all.  Also, we need to kokua our help with the November UGH exhibition to build display stands etc.  Will get volunteers from our region as soon as we know what we can do.  Will also need our fishing members to plan to get some "Big Fish" for pupus at our conventionAloha No, Andy


West Hawaii Region


The UGH West Hawaii Region is having their very first Ukulele Sound Forum on May 25, 2002, It will be held at the Ohana Keauhou Beach Hotel, in the Kahaluu Room from 1pm to 5pm. Beverages will be provided (please no alcohol).  Admission fee is $5.00 for UGH members and $7.00 for non-members.  Children under 12 are free.


Individuals desiring to submit an ukulele that they have built for evaluation need to pre-register their instrument by submitting the application below to Rance Pinao.  Please send in your payment for admission/evaluation per the fees discussed above.

All builders are encouraged to participate and hear their uke as well as other ukuleles being played by the master builders/players.  Constructive, gentle, and candid feedback will be provided for all ukes submitted.  We are all participating to be able to share in the various ways of building to provide the best playability, acoustic excellence and workmanship. 

Rance, Willie, Ronald Baniaga and his son, and Basil Edmunds

Participants will be given the opportunity to describe briefly how their instrument is constructed, type of wood for the top, back, sides, neck, bracing; bracing approach, type of finish, and any other building considerations that they feel are important as a builder: