Continuing Education Blog
PNCA offers evening and weekend classes for adults and young people. For adults we offer courses in art, craft, and design, as well as professional development classes. For children we have Saturday classes during the school year and week-long camps during the summer. In addition to our regular teen classes, we also offer immersive summer Pre-College Studios. Our blog below gives you an idea of some of the goings on, and you can see our full course catalogue online here.
Our ‘Picture of the Week’ is actually several images this time. We hit the mid-term mark and wanted to show you the goings on with classes!
So many fun things are happening right now. If you would like to see more, visit our flickr site today! Just click: www.flickr.com/photos/pnca_youth/
Class four was all about the interior structure-the kerf binding and bracing, both the back and soundboard.
With the sides in the mold, we added the kefing pieces, which were pre-cut from mahogany. Using water and a heat gun, the were formed into the approximate shape, glued along the edges of the sides and clamped into place. The reverse kerfing will give the uke a solid structure and help it hold its shape.
While the kerfing dried, work began on making the bracing for the back.
The bracing is made from 1/4 inch strips of spruce. The majority of the rest of the class was cutting and shaping the bracing and thickness sanding the soundboard and back in preparation for gluing in the bracing.
Next week- Gluing the bracing, sanding the body and more.
Class three focused on three parts of the construction-the decorative rosette, cutting the soundboard and back out, and adding the head and tail blocks to the sides of body.
The class began the process of adding the rosettes by tracing the finished shape on to the soundboard and finding the center of the sound-hole and measuring out where our rosettes would be. Choosing from scrap strips of wood, plastic and paper we sorted out what would make up the rosettes and measured that thickness. Max got the drill press with his circular cuter set up with the blades of the cutter matching the thickness of rosettes.
Now the materials were laid into the groove and glued into place. Followed by a run through the drum sander to smooth everything out and the back and soundboard cut into shape.
Tail and Head Block
The sides were placed back into the mold, measured and trimmed so that they lined up exactly. Each of the blocks was sanded to match the curve of the bottom or top and epoxied into place. While this was the step that required the least direction, the exacting nature of the fits made it more time consuming than expected. It was great to see the ukulele starting to take shape and gave us even more incentive to move forward.
Next week- kerfing the sides.
We are in the full swing of things now and students are hard at work on projects. The image above highlights just how focused and hardworking this new batch of students is, and is a personal favorite of the moments we captured this week. Students in Art + Storytelling: Fables decorated their sketchbooks, finished illustrating a larger than life page in our bunny/space travel-themed storybook, and decorated the front and back cover! See more at our Flickr Site!
Blogging a CE class-second class of Ukulele Building
We arrived to class on Thursday ready to do some joining and bending. Half of the class started on cutting, measuring and bending the sides of our Ukes while the half began working joining the soundboards and the backs together.
Last week we found the best book-matched combinations and moving from there we first ran the edges of our boards through the planer to get them as evenly matched as the machine allowed. Next we used the sandpaper levels to get the sides perfectly straight.
After much testing and re-sanding it was time to move on to gluing the two pieces together. For the class we are using super glue and an activator to make it harden and dry quickly. The two pieces are laid out, roped together and glued.
Bending the sides
Moving on the sides, we measured and using the table saw, cut the sides to the proper shape. This involved clamping the sides to the a guide board to ensure the angle was true.
Now the nerve-wracking bit, bending sides to shape. The first part of this process was laying the heating blanket on the side bender (built by Frank) and the wet wood on top of that. While the wood heated and the molds were pressed slowly in to place we sprayed the wood down with water. When we got the wood clamped down completely it was left on the heat for 10 minutes.
Following ten minutes of heating and spraying with water, the sides were transferred into the molds to sit overnight and have their shape for good.
Next class we move on to cutting the soundboard and backs out.
Thursday, October 3 was the first class of Ukulele building. After quick introductions and getting to meet the Instructor, Frank Irby, and Teaching Assistant Max Sipe, we got down to the business of ukes. Frank and Max showed us their own handcrafted ukes and Max’s handmade inlays.
There are four sizes of ukuleles that are common: soprano (standard), concert, tenor, and baritone. In this class we will be building a tenor uke. Frank brought ukuleles of of all the sizes to see, hear and feel the differences. We talked about what made good instrument wood, including where it comes from, what makes the rings tighter and how the wood selected and harvested. Our ukuleles are being constructed out of Koa wood for the soundboard and body, mahogany for the necks and rosewood for the fret boards. We talked about how bracing effects sound, how we can create the best sounding uke and what you can do to add some personal style to your creation.
After learning about the power and hand tools we are going to use for the class (and the safety demo) we chose our bundles of body wood. They was an incredible variety in the looks of the bundles of koa, from reddish, marbled looking pieces to rich yellow.
We went over bookmatching and laid out our pieces for our soundboards and backs, finding the best looking combination and headed back to the shop to plane down our pieces to 3mm. Next class we start cutting out the body and moving forward.
Our Fall term started on Saturday. It was quite the day, full of painting, drawing, and cats! Here is one of our favorite images from classes this weekend. Our Animal Art class started a project combining drawing and collage!
As always, you can find more images at our flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pnca_youth/
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