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Thread: In the future...

  1. #21

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    Apparently there is an old wives' tale that oak 'absorbs the sound' and therefore won't be resonant.
    Stupid. But relaying stuff like that lets people feel smart, and so it keeps going around.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    East London
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    Oh gosh! PETE! Are you forgetting that when I came to you asking to commission a uke built of all UK woods in 2011, you said No?

    I had to go to 2 other builders - one in Sweden/Sven and one in the UK/Rob and I ended up getting ukes from each.

    I think you are right that wood choice is changing but there are European builders who've been using alternatives for the last 5-10 years.

    I like the way they're also all helping each other.


    I think the future is varied and hopeful.
    mx

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Howlett View Post
    As it becomes more apparent that the use of tropical hardwoods for musical instruments is unsustainable, the use of our local woods will be more frequently seen. Start making a stock of them now before they get priced out of the market. Walnut is a good place to start and here's why:


  3. #23
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    Jan 2010
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    Does walnut work well for complete instrument bodies, or is it better to pair with a different wood for the soundboard?

  4. #24
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    Aug 2008
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    I don't remember Mary. Some of the first Pete Howlett named ukes back in 1995 were walnut and yew... Besides, things have changed so much. I'd still be building mainly koa instruments if the market wasn't so strangulated by CITES and greed.

  5. #25
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    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    Does walnut work well for complete instrument bodies, or is it better to pair with a different wood for the soundboard?
    In the very distant past I made a couple of all walnut dulcimers and the instruments were not a great success. The sound was a bit tight and constrained and frankly disappointing. This might have had nothing to do with the wood but how I built the instruments. Still, if I was going to use walnut (and I love walnut), I would use a different wood for the soundboard. Walnut makes a great back and side set but maybe not so much as a soundboard. It seemed to lack pop and projection and like I said, it was dark and tight sounding. Doesn't mean it wouldn't work but that in my hands it did not. If I built such a beast today, I would use a spruce soundboard or something a bit more responsive.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Canberra, Australia
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    When I read threads like this I think of the poor Portuguese immigrants in old Hawaii cutting cane, dreaming of home. They think a bit of music from home would be nice. They scrape together some local wood and cobble together a pale imitation of a cavaquinho. It sounds OK. Not like the ones from home, but OK.
    The locals pick them up. They don't know what a real cavaquinho sounds like. The music grows to the new sound.
    New experts arise.
    New truths are established.
    No doubt new woods will be found. Old woods will continue to used.

  7. #27
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    UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    Does walnut work well for complete instrument bodies, or is it better to pair with a different wood for the soundboard?
    I use walnut a lot but only for back/sides of instruments.
    Let's bring a bit of numbers into the game. average density of Koa is near 0.58 Kg/M3. Average weight of walnut is . . . . near 0.58 Kg/M3. Given that there are variations in the properties of koa and variations in the properties of walnut there's absolutely no reason why walnut should not sound as good as koa. Unless you know the particular property of walnut that doesn't make it sound good? People go by the name of the wood far too readily and yet they seem totally oblivious to the fact that any wood type has a fairly wide variation in density and variations in other properties. You end up with silly generalisations that are near meaningless. It's very much like the spruce v cedar debate. It's a generalisation, especially when I have examples of spruce that feel and weigh very much like some cedar. Generalisations don't work for individual pieces of wood though.
    Last edited by Michael N.; 12-15-2017 at 01:31 AM.

  8. #28
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    Jan 2015
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    The last two posts were very well put. But please keep quiet about local woods.... I rather all the trees in a far off tropical island were all used up instead of in my back yard

  9. #29
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    Jan 2010
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    Yew shouldn't worry!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    Yew shouldn't worry!
    He shouldn't, but Rose would.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dpophotography@yahoo.co.nz
    Southern Cross Instruments
    New Zealand

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