I wanted to make my own ukulele case. I used 6mm ply for the box and 12mm ply for the lid. Ridiculously, for most people this won’t be a cheaper option than buying commercially, but there is a sense of satisfaction – and I have enough raw materials to make several cases which brings the per case cost down. This is therefore my first case, and the plan is for there to be more.
The first step was to measure the ukulele. I placed the ukulele on the 6mm ply and drew around it, then cut out a straight edge shape which enclosed the uke, with room to spare. Using this shape as a guide, I cut side walls to fit.
Here was mistake one – I only have a ‘jigsaw’ type of saw, a circular saw would have given me straighter edges – and so when it came to putting the box together, there were gaps. This wasn’t too big a problem as I would be covering these.
I used some wood at each corner and screwed the sides into it, reinforcing with plenty of wood glue (which helped fill the gaps).
To make the lid to fit, I used the box itself to draw onto the 12mm ply before cutting (I should have done this by cutting both lid and base at the same time, clamping the 6mm and 12mm ply together).
If I had a tablesaw I would have made a solid box, and then sliced it into base and lid afterwards, making a thicker lid section.
Next, I covered the box and lid in canvas, held on by glue and spraypainted red. This hid the imperfections in the box itself. I added a black piece of webbing (again glued) to prevent any edges of canvas ‘starting to ‘lift’ (I had the ends of the case done like a birthday present), and attached the lid to the base with hinges and fasteners.
The fasteners I chose are quite sensitive to positioning, it is very easy to get it too loose or too tight. The trick is to fasten the smaller section to the lid, and then use this to position the clasp ‘in situ’, just below where it wants to sit naturally whilst ‘closed’. On the clasps that I bought, the clasp hinge was actually a small slot, and so pushing in on the clasp slides the hinge away from the box and gives a ‘locking’ effect. There’s also a place to put a locking pin should the clasp be too loose.
To make a handle I used a piece of webbing and screwed it to the case using several screws, this was backed up with more glue. I glued a second piece of webbing inside the first in order to hide the screw heads and make a thicker handle.
My next step was to line the case. I used an old camping mat to pad the base and lid,leaving a gap for the bridge. I got a block of foam from a local habidashers. Simply cutting the foam with a knife to give me the shape of my uke – for the neck I cut out the chunk of foam, and then sliced this in half so I would have foam under the neck. With headstock I just cut the foam away completely as the ukulele was held securely elsewhere.
Finally, I wrapped the foam in faux-fur material (tasteful) held on with fabric glue. This makes for a very snug fit with my uke, but fit it does.
It may not be the neatest job, but all in all I’m quite pleased with it – and I’ve learned some lessons that I’m already applying to case two, a larger case for a concert ukulele.
The ukulele has quickly got me to a standard where I can play along with a group of people in a pub, something which, when I first picked up a uke, was my goal. Now, my goal is to keep having fun with 'me little ukulele in me hand'.
I have been playing since 2011, and I am a teacher.