View Full Version : Beginner Uke Luthier, Base Wood Question?

02-10-2015, 05:36 AM
I know it it used to some small extent in guitar, but how would oak work on a Ukulele? It's the most common locally sourced wood around here, and it's near impossible to get any non locally sourced wood around where I live.

02-10-2015, 08:48 AM
The question was asked recently -here is the post:


02-10-2015, 09:07 AM
Its been used...like in the linked thread. Other wood options you can probably find anywhere would be maple or cherry.

02-10-2015, 12:27 PM
I posted pics of the camp uke I made in that thread. The oak I had was pretty light - I've met far denser oak which I wouldn't use for a top. Also it proved very stiff once cut.

But pick a lightweight board which pings when you rap it, and there's a good chance it will sing.

One thing though - oak is tough to carve into a neck. Slow work, though it carves well with sharp tools. Walnut or (I read) butternut would be easier, and one of these might be local to you.

Here mine is again 'cause it turned out rather well. The board is its parent bar counter.




Beau Hannam Ukuleles
02-10-2015, 01:18 PM
Oak would be fine for back n sides.

As would maple from homedepo if you have that near you.

02-10-2015, 04:29 PM
The most common local woods are Oak, Red Cedar (which is really a Juniper, it's just a silly local name), and pines (White, Virginia and Loblolly), and silk tree.

02-10-2015, 08:18 PM
Take this with a pinch of salt if you like as I'm not a builder, but what you really want for an instrument, is mature dry wood. Not fresh wood that was cut down locally a few weeks or months ago.

Some nice old furniture timber would be much nicer for an instrument. See what wood you can find to recycle in your area.


02-10-2015, 11:27 PM
I just completed a banjolele neck from some pieces of an old oak chair given to me by the instruments eventual recipient. It is a tad heavy but was pretty workable and took a finish nicely. To counter the weight, I made the profile a bit slimmer (especially the headstock).

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
02-12-2015, 04:13 AM
My nearest wood supplier is a place called the internet. Its really close.

02-12-2015, 06:44 AM
Mine too...

search for 'ukulele set', 'ukulele neck', etc.

02-12-2015, 07:55 AM
I first want to try a small scale, westernized version of an instrument I have made before, a Sitar. Kind of a sitarlele. When I get my funds up I'll try to get some toon or teak for the neck, head stock and face. I'm not sure if prefabbed Uke necks come in toon, and with all the slight sitar edits I need to make, it may be best to start from scratch. The problem is, if I'm only scaling down a sitar and using a guitalele based tuning, am I really learning anything new...