I'm interested in taking on the challenge of my first build to teach myself, and I've got my eye on the stewmac tenor uke kit. I know the instructions contains a list of tools required, however, buying all those tools would more than double the amount of the kit itself. All the reviews on stewmac and YouTube show that people love these kits, but it seems they all have the tools already.

My question is: Has anyone built these kits and what are the essential SPECIALIZED tools required? For example, I already see that I'll need a large C-clamp for the bridge gluing, maybe even 3 of them. I'll most likely need nut files too.

Any advice?

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That's the part they elected to leave out.

Unfortunately, amassing MOST of the listed tools is something you'll have to do if you want quality results.

Our well respected forum member, Hesh Breakstone, recently recounted his experience "saving money" by building a S/M guitar kit.  I believe he stated (with tongue planted firmly in Hyperbole's cheek) that between buying tools and time & labor, he had $200,000 invested in his $450 kit.

Others will chime in with much more helpful info.

Best of luck with your build :)

I might suggest going another route - Dennis Gilbert has a book on ukulele construction, "The Ukulele", that is really superb and show how to make a fair number of jigs to do the job. It won't help you with a StewMac kit, but will really give you another perspective on how to do this is a relatively efficient, less expensive manner. You can't avoid using tools and jigs, but you can find good ways to get the job done without purchasing so dang much stuff. 

I agree with mark. So much fun to build, your first one will not be your last one.


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