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Dougf
11-09-2014, 04:49 PM
My brother is in construction, and his current project requires the demolition of an old barn with old-growth redwood siding. Before turning it over to a local salvage operation, he let me cherry pick a few pieces. I found two nice pieces that were quarter sawn, and although quite weathered, they looked promising, with pretty tight growth rings.

Here’s a shot after hitting them with the pressure washer.

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Here’s what I got after cutting around the nail holes, worm holes, and splits.

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Then I selected just the heartwood.

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Here are the first four 1/8” slices from the smallest piece.

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I might be able to get two bookmatched sets per piece, if I can cut it just right, or at least one set per piece. So somewhere between 5-10 sets total.

kwall
11-09-2014, 05:00 PM
That wood looks nice, keep us posted on how it turns out

sequoia
11-09-2014, 06:18 PM
I live here in redwood country (Mendocino County, Northern California) and a find like that is always a bonus. Yes, let us know how it turns out. Probably not old growth, but who cares. My only question is how long to season it once it gets down to plates.

Dougf
11-09-2014, 06:53 PM
I'll definitely post some progress pics, I'm just waiting for a new bandsaw blade.

I'm pretty sure it's old growth. It has about 25 rings per inch, and the salvage guy, who seemed to know his wood, said it was old growth. It was nailed with square nails, along with a few of more recent vintage. He loaded up on the old weathered stuff, but left behind quite a bit that he didn't think was old growth.

The barn was in Marin, just outside of Novato.

Matt Clara
11-10-2014, 04:42 AM
I would like to make a uke of reclaimed wood and keep the weathered look on the outside of the instrument. That would be painstaking, I think, but would look pretty cool in the end.

Dougf
11-13-2014, 08:54 AM
I would like to make a uke of reclaimed wood and keep the weathered look on the outside of the instrument. That would be painstaking, I think, but would look pretty cool in the end.

I found this idea intriguing, but since my good pieces were only about 4 1/2" wide, I didn't think it would work. Then I realized that I might be able to bookmatch two pieces on the horizontal axis instead of the usual vertical and it might just work. Here's a shot of two weathered sides bookmatched as such, so I think I'm going to go for it. The big challenge will be getting the thickness right, and also cleanly attaching the bridge.

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gyosh
11-13-2014, 09:54 AM
Hey Doug! Your wood looks great :)

Are you going to stick with pineapple shape on this one?

Dougf
11-13-2014, 02:15 PM
Hey Doug! Your wood looks great :)

Are you going to stick with pineapple shape on this one?

I think my best results have been with pineapple-like shapes since the bending process is much easier and uses less wood. It also gives more surface area for the top and back, which in this case I think I want to maximize. But I do want to get some real forms and try more traditional shapes at some point.

gyosh
11-13-2014, 02:32 PM
I think my best results have been with pineapple-like shapes since the bending process is much easier and uses less wood. It also gives more surface area for the top and back, which in this case I think I want to maximize. But I do want to get some real forms and try more traditional shapes at some point.

Can't wait to hear the latest ukes. Have you come up with a name yet?

Dougf
11-14-2014, 08:15 AM
Can't wait to hear the latest ukes. Have you come up with a name yet?

Yes, I'm calling them "K'oto Jalulu", which means manzanita flute in the Nisenan language. I've used manzanita in every one I've built, I'm just about to finish up #17.

Sven
11-14-2014, 11:17 AM
I would like to make a uke of reclaimed wood and keep the weathered look on the outside of the instrument. That would be painstaking, I think, but would look pretty cool in the end.

I saved a rough edge from the neck blank on a tenor in progress, it's seen on one edge of the headstock. The player it's going to is a little scruffy so I thought it would suit. Kind of hard to put any finish on though.

Matt Clara
11-15-2014, 01:44 AM
I saved a rough edge from the neck blank on a tenor in progress, it's seen on one edge of the headstock. The player it's going to is a little scruffy so I thought it would suit. Kind of hard to put any finish on though.

Maybe some decking/water resistant seal (http://www.thompsonswaterseal.com)? ;)

This last summer I built a bat house for a friend and am in the process of building another. I used reclaimed wood from a barn, some oak, some pine, some maple. http://i.imgur.com/2n35eKL.jpg

Ron B
11-19-2014, 09:40 AM
While out at antique shops with my wife this summer, I came upon a full 6' bundle (10 pcs) of 8" western red cedar siding for $8. The tag on the wire wrapping the bundle was from a lumber yard that went out of business 62 years ago. All of the pcs are quarter sawn, and I can't count the grain without a magnifying glass. I've used WRC for tops on a couple of tenor builds. I think they sound great, but the wood is a bit blah in appearance compared to some of the other possibilities. I like the "barnwood" term in your post title. I try to use only what can be found and re-purposed. The two tenors I mentioned involved WRC from scraps on a siding job, fir from reclaimed wainscoting, maple necks from the firewood pile, and walnut sides from an orphan table leaf. The fretboards were sawn from an ebony cribbage board I found at a flea market for $3. The Hawaiians used Koa because it was local wood. It is beautiful, and I wish it grew here in New Hampshire. I could afford to send for some, but it feels just too much like eating hummingbird tongues or Argentinian raspberries in January. I'm not condemning the builders out there that produce incredibly beautiful instruments from exotic species found all over the world. I'm feeling relatively comfortable that most of the materials out there are sustainably sourced.
Good luck with that redwood.

Dougf
12-07-2014, 10:52 AM
Just finished stringing it up, my barnwood-weathered-side-showing ukulele. Thanks for the idea, Matt.

For now, the weathered side is unfinished, I may just leave it that way.

The neck is also from the barn wood, made by gluing a few of the 3/4" thick pieces together.

The back, sides, fingerboard, and pretty much everything else is manzanita.

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Jim Hanks
12-07-2014, 11:28 AM
Looks great! Can't wait to hear this one!

ukuloonie
12-07-2014, 05:14 PM
That looks pretty cool

Dougf
12-12-2014, 05:59 AM
Here's a little show-and-tell vid.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIQMikOk50E

gyosh
12-12-2014, 07:03 AM
Very nice Doug!!

When I'm ready, I'm going to apprentice under you! :)

ukuloonie
12-12-2014, 07:41 AM
This soundboard is pretty interesting and gives it a ]
lot of depth and interest. Cool looks and sounds great

Matt Clara
12-13-2014, 06:38 AM
Nicely done, Doug!

Dougf
12-13-2014, 10:52 AM
A super thanks to you, Matt, great idea. This has been just an incredibly fun project.

sequoia
12-13-2014, 07:04 PM
maple necks from the firewood pile, and walnut sides from an orphan table leaf. The fretboards were sawn from an ebony cribbage board I found .

I love it. Especially the cribbage board fretboards. I live in the middle of a forest in rural Northern California, a wood paradise, and yet I order wood from Africa? Sometimes it doesn't make sense. Not ten minutes ago I just threw a beautiful 18 inch by 8 inch piece of clear madrone into the wood stove and I thought, hey, that thing is clear and there could be three necks in that piece of wood. Too late...The point being, there is good wood all around us. Use it.

However, I'm an amateur and if the madrone neck develops an eights inch check down the middle, I shrug, bum out and move on. The professional builder on the other hand does not have that luxury. He or she has to use known, seasoned, stable woods that won't fail for the customer. This limits them some... That being said, I've got access to some unbelievable Manzanita. Oops. Too late. Gets chilly here in December. Redwood? Makes good kindling.

Dougf
12-14-2014, 05:42 AM
I've used manzanita in all my builds -- it's great for fretboards, very hard and dense -- but it can be quite a challenge finding pieces big enough for backs and sides. I used madrone for a neck in my first from-scratch build, but I decided it's too heavy. Most of my necks since then have been incense cedar with manzanita sandwiched down the middle to stiffen it up a bit.

I harvest pretty much all my wood from the wild. I've got some property in the Sierra foothills, and I also bought a firewood permit that allows me to collect dead wood on national forest land. Anything that can't be used for ukes makes great firewood.


I love it. Especially the cribbage board fretboards. I live in the middle of a forest in rural Northern California, a wood paradise, and yet I order wood from Africa? Sometimes it doesn't make sense. Not ten minutes ago I just threw a beautiful 18 inch by 8 inch piece of clear madrone into the wood stove and I thought, hey, that thing is clear and there could be three necks in that piece of wood. Too late...The point being, there is good wood all around us. Use it.

However, I'm an amateur and if the madrone neck develops an eights inch check down the middle, I shrug, bum out and move on. The professional builder on the other hand does not have that luxury. He or she has to use known, seasoned, stable woods that won't fail for the customer. This limits them some... That being said, I've got access to some unbelievable Manzanita. Oops. Too late. Gets chilly here in December. Redwood? Makes good kindling.