Introduction: Paint Before Cutting Plywood Technique: Ukulele Stand
This method can be used to add a little pizzaz to anything you want to make from plywood. I designed this ukulele stand a while back and have made them from various solid woods to use and to sell on Etsy. I made this one in plywood for the Plywood Challenge. I wanted a strong contrast between the faces of the plywood and the edges. To achieve this I painted the faces of the plywood black before cutting out the parts. I really like the effect I get from doing it this way.
Step 1: Paint the Plywood
You could also use a colorful or dark wood stain if you prefer. I’m using some decent birch plywood with eleven plys and some water-based flat black paint. It needs to dry well before cutting out the pieces otherwise the soft new paint will pick up bits of sawdust and chips that are hard to clean off.
Step 2: Look at the Plans
I've included a SketchUp model below.
Step 3: Cut a 1” Strip
cut a 1” strip long enough to make the neck (1” x 16“) and cross piece (1” x 7“) on the table saw.
Step 4: Cut a 4” Strip
cut a 4” strip to make the feet piece (3.5” x 6.5”) and the top piece (4” x 4.5”) on the table saw.
Step 5: Cut the Feet Apart
mark and cut the feet apart on the bandsaw and sand the cuts flat. I taped the feet together and sanded them on the belt sander so they would be just alike.
Step 6: Mark and Cut the Round Part of the Top
Use a 2" hole saw ½" from the front edge of the top piece.
Step 7: Mark and Cut the Slots
I used a dado stack on the table saw to cut the slots. Set the cut depth to the thickness of the plywood. Plywood is thinner than its nominal size, so test the fit before cutting all the slots. A half inch dado was way too loose for my half inch plywood. So I subtracted 1/16” from the stack and added some masking tape shims until the fit was right. I used a backer board as well to prevent the dado blade from blowing out the face ply on the back.
Step 8: Finish Cutting Out the Top Piece
I used the bandsaw for the straight cuts. Then sanded the edges on the belt sander.
Step 9: Sand the Sharp Edges on All the Parts
I used the belt sander at first and then a sanding block to ease the edges and corners.
Step 10: Assemble and Glue
If the fit is good, you can leave it as a knock-down piece, or as I prefer glue with wood glue or super glue. I used thin super glue because it soaks into the joints and darkens the wood similarly to the shellac so it looks better after the next step.
Step 11: Shellac the Whole Thing
The edges are where you need to let it soak in to make the plys look nice and contrasty. A few coats with a light sanding in between will make it nice and smooth.
Step 12: This Stand Will Accommodate Any Size Uke Up to a Tenor
And leaving your instrument on display means you will see it and play it more often, and improve faster. Have fun!
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