The Panjolele




About: We are a husband/wife team. One is an elementary school teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom, and the other a 2D/3D character animator. Needless to say, we both consider ourselves to be kids @ <3. This has bee...
  After receiving the latest issue of Make magazine in the mail, I was thrilled to stumble across a featured project on how to build a ukulele out of some wood and a couple of cake pans!  I am a big fan of the ukulele as well as odd instruments, so this sort of thing was right up my alley.  I made a quick run to the hardware store and gathered the materials I needed.
  Since you can follow the details on how to build the panjolele at the aforementioned link, I won't cover the process but rather describe some of the extra bits I did along the way.
  For achieving the design on the cake pans, I used a metal staining product called Sophisticated Finishes (which found on clearance at Michaels- what luck! ).  First, I sanded off the non-stick coating using some regular coarse sandpaper, and then I applied the stain with a paint brush.  I used the Blackened Bronze stain, and it was dry within an hour or so.
  After spending some time cooking up a design on the computer (I used Artrage as my tool of choice), I then ran down to our local Fab Lab to make use of their laser engraver.  The laser engraver simply took the stain back off of the pan, revealing the original metal color underneath!  I finished the pans off by spraying them with some clear coat as recommended by the Sophisticated Finishes product.  I will post the image I used to engrave below in case any of you might want to use it.
  One other added touch, was the stained nut and fret markers.  Since I didn't happen to have any wood stain handy, I improvised by just using a few orange/red Copic markers on the wood.  I think it turned out pretty well!
  Here is a video of me and my humble ukulele playing skills to show off the sound of the panjolele.  It has a great mix of jangly banjo sound mixed with the relaxing  tones of a classic uke. 



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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    the instructions on the make blog said to use 2" deep cake pans. I'm having a really hard time finding those at the goodwill. Did you use 1" deep pans? I'm almost wornding if there was just a mistake in the materials list...


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I bet if you cut a couple of holes about the size of quarters in the sound board you'd get even better projection from this awesome uke.


    5 years ago

    rimar2000 - here is an image I snapped of the back:

    13, 7:58 AM.jpg

    5 years ago

    Thanks everyone. It does sounds really nice. It isn't quite as loud as my pro uke, but it has a very distinct (kind of banjo) sound and still projects pretty well. It takes a little tinkering to keep the tuning spot on, but the bridge is not attached, so it can be slid to adjust intonation.
    I need to get better about taking more in progress pics, but you can find most of what you might want to know at the MAKE article I liked to.