Amy Qian appears to be one of those people who is always making something. Her website is full of cool projects like little electric carts and custom bikes. The project that stood out to me the most, however, was her travel ukulele.
Amy started with a chainsaw. She had a walnut tree that needed a trim and the resultant pile of wood was just too tempting to pass up. Some bits of it had been dead long enough to be fairly workable, so she got started.
She wanted to create a ukulele from scratch, and have her design be a little odd. Her instrument would be “headless,” meaning that the tuning pegs would be mounted to the side of the body. She notes that this may have an effect on the acoustics. However, I’m sure the difference is minimal, especially when compared to the cheap $25 ukuleles that are so common these days.
Amy’s resultant ukulele is, in my opinion, simply stunning. I saw her walk by, across the room, one day and did a double take. I had to go and ask her about it, and was truly impressed when she explained that she made it herself. You can follow along with the entire build on her blog.
There is an upgrade that came out after the initial build, that was present when I saw first saw her ukulele. Apparently, the first iteration was difficult to tune due to how the strings wrap around the bottom of the piece and then attach to the tuning pegs. Amy’s fix for this was to machine a fully custom bearing based system that allowed the strings to shift more fluidly as they were being tuned. This not only fixed her tuning issues, but looks fantastic.
You should really take a few moments to look around the rest of her site. There’s a variety of really cool projects there in all kinds of categories.