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There’s an apocryphal story about someone sorting through the possessions of an elderly relative who had died. Among a houseful of stuff, he comes across a shoe-box labelled ‘Bits of string too short to keep’.

I sympathise with the elderly relative – at least as far as bits of wood are concerned. It’s hard to throw away even small scraps of timber, especially when they contain an attractive figure. One solution is to heat the workshop with a wood burning stove. Then the problem goes away each winter. Another possibility is to use them up making something tiny. A few years ago I wrote about making musical boxes. This week, wondering what to do with the walnut left over from the 5-string guitar that I wrote about in a previous post, I thought I’d make a soprano ukulele.

Apart from the walnut, I was able to use up other off-cuts that I hadn’t been able to bring myself to throw away: spruce for the soundboard, laburnum for the headstock veneer and the fingerboard, and a piece of plum for the bridge.

The plans for the ukulele came from Christophe Grellier, a French luthier, who generously makes them freely available on his website.







  1. That’s just stunning. And using “scrap” wood…. I play the uke, so the post really caught my eye.

    Funny, the guys at the music shop, knowing I’m a woodworker, ask when I’m gonna make one. I demur quietly. That’s an art…..

  2. Many thanks for your kind comments.

  3. It might be scrap wood but its still lovely! I always save my small polymer clay scraps because you never know when you might be able to use them later. Of course they’re a bit more versatile in that you could mix them with other bits of clay with just a bit of squishing about. :)

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  1. By Koa and other difficulties | Finely Strung on 03 Oct 2015 at 11:02 am

    […] soprano ukulele that I made from scraps of wood too nice to throw away (but too small for anything else) turned out […]

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