At Luthiery Shop, Students Learning To Build Ukuleles

For more than 40 years, Paul Dunn has been building string instruments and he has a lot of knowledge to share about the craft.

Dunn, who operates the Luthiery Shop & Music Theater at 296 Pine Street in Bourbon, decided to pass some of it on in the form of a ukulele building class. 

The first class has three students and they meet a few times each week at Dunn’s shop, creating their own ukuleles. 

Dunn will eventually begin another class and he is considering adding a guitar class. The ukulele class costs $375 with a $150 preregistration fee. 

With that, students get to use Dunn’s tools, labor, materials and his expertise.

“You will be successful if you take this class,” Dunn said. “You will not fail. My idea is to take people with the desire and give them the tools to succeed.”

Dunn went to a luthiery school in Arizona where he learned how to build string instruments, but back in those days, he said instructors tried to keep their knowledge under wraps.

“Everybody was afraid you would take their job,” he said. “I want to share.”

Students who take the class will start a ukulele from scratch — they will cut out the wood, assemble it and finish it. Regardless of how much woodworking experience one has, Dunn said he will see to it that they come away with a complete project.

As of Thursday, the students had put in around 14 hours and Dunn estimated that they were nearing the halfway point. 

There is a limited use of power tools and students will gain knowledge about wood.

“They will learn about wood, wood properties, handling it, the grain direction and get a better idea of why things look like they do,” Dunn said. “It’s hands-on work. We use hand tools, planes and sharp chisels.”

Dunn is excited about how far the class is coming alone. Two of the students did not have much woodworking experience before it started.

“I’m really enjoying it, he said. “I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy it.”

Sullivan Independent News

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