View Full Version : Wood question

08-29-2014, 04:16 AM
Hi guys I am a long time woodworker and my brother has asked me to build him a uke. I have ordered the Hana Lima construction manual so that will answer a lot of my questions hopefully.

From what I have gathered in my online research I see that quarter sawn lumber is recommended for tops, backs and sides I was wondering if flat sawn lumber would be okay for the other parts such as kerfing, neck, fretboard, etc.

Finding flat sawn wood is not a problem does anyone have a good source for quarter sawn wood? I am located in Florida so I would prefer suppliers in the USA. I can resaw, plane and use the drum sander to work the lumber down to final thickness.


08-29-2014, 04:36 AM
Quartersawn is recommend for the body woods because its the strongest and most stable with humidity changes. That's pretty important for the thin light body parts. Neck, fingerboard, and linings are probably OK with flat sawn. Just be careful that you can pick woods that won't warp. I'll say flat is OK for bracing too....but lots of people will dissagree
Good wood sources: LMI (lmii.com), Stew Mac, Hibdon Hardwood, Hana Limia.

08-29-2014, 05:03 AM

There is a good list to search through. Hana Lima Ia has some wood sets. I am not sure what they are like I have only purchased the bracing, rosettes and tuners from them. Alot of good info in previous post on first builds here in the UU. I think I have scrolled through over 100 pages and I always find something to help me assure myself or make the process easier. If not there are some pros here who will help and you can get good tips by visiting their website or FB page. Good luck with the build.

Michael Smith
08-29-2014, 05:55 AM
I think it's important to use quarter sawn on the fingerboard. You will likely need some supplies so just buy one for 6 or 7 dollars from LMI. Kerfing doesn't really matter. Bracing grain orientation is very important to me.

08-29-2014, 06:43 AM
I think it's important to use quarter sawn on the fingerboard. You will likely need some supplies so just buy one for 6 or 7 dollars from LMI. Kerfing doesn't really matter. Bracing grain orientation is very important to me.

LMI- go to Featured Items-Sale Items- scroll down and there are some African Ebony fingerboards 2nd grades for around $5.00 and 1st grade for $7.00 along with some other good deals.

08-29-2014, 08:58 AM
What species are you looking to use? You never know, one of us may have some material lying around that we might help a guy out. :)

08-30-2014, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the help everybody. I think since this is my first build I will probably try using Walnut or Mahogany for the back and sides, Spruce for the top, hard maple for the neck and either Rosewood or Ebony for the fretboard. Do most of you buy your wood already thinned down? After I get a couple of builds completed I will probably go for a solid Koa build. The LMI fretboard seems like a pretty good deal so more then likely I will order a couple of them. I will go through the list in the link Eric provided and hopefully find all my materials. I will post my progress so you guys can laugh at me. Thanks again for helping a newbie.


08-30-2014, 10:31 AM
Hi Tim, we won't laugh. Using hard maple for the neck could be a challenge depending on how you plan to shape it, but you've probably got that down since you're a woodworker already.

08-30-2014, 01:24 PM
Tim, If you use hard maple for the neck, I would suggest that the wood be quartersawn with the annular rings perpendicular to the fingerboard. My thinking on this is the tendency for maple to move and twist in high humidity.Or, as an option with flatsawn wood, laminate the neck with 3 pieces (thinner center strip, perhaps?) so that the annular rings are also perpendicular to the fingerboard. I have a 1917 Fairbanks-Vega banjo with a neck made like that that is still straight. I would, suggest, however, that you consider using mahogany for the neck material. It is a lot less hassle. Good luck!

08-30-2014, 01:54 PM
I prefer carving maple necks because it s harder wood and I think carves better for it. Personally, I'd go all mahogany. Top can be spruce or mahogany.

08-30-2014, 05:50 PM
I always feel like the odd man out in a discussion like this. I've made several hundred various instruments, many out of flatsawn or random sawn hardwoods. Off-quartered cuts have never presented a problem that has ever come back to me. Many exotics, like cocobolo, are hardly ever quartersawn all the way across the back (speaking of guitars here), but no one seems to turn them down if they can get them. Quilted maple has to be flatsawn to bring out the figure, but I don't know anyone who avoids it for that reason. I probably made 50 instruments before I ever bought a set of commercial tonewood. A few turned out to have real issues, but I could never blame it on the wood, and I was glad to have learned important lessons using wood that didn't cost a lot more money. For 40 years I've always used quartered wood if I could get/find it, but even now I'd rather build with pretty off-quartered wood than plain quartered wood. None of this applies to softwoods, get it as quartered as you can.