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Ukulelerick9255
11-07-2015, 08:31 PM
If you were going to build a uke and you didn't want to use any CITES protected woods what would you use for the back and sides to get the best sound? I don't want to use Koa I have a Kanilea in Koa already.

Michael N.
11-07-2015, 10:18 PM
Might depend on what one calls the best sound. Cherry, Maple and Walnut are hardly a million miles from Koa. In fact in terms of density and Janka hardness there's a lot of overlap. Factor in Youngs modulas and Cherry can be a perfect shoe in for Koa. You just have to look at the figures. After that there's not a lot left to determine tone, other than people thinking that they can do so by looking at the wood.

hoosierhiver
11-08-2015, 04:57 AM
I think mango is very under rated. It's a beautiful wood and very stable. The trees are grown for the fruit, when they get big they are less productive and are replaced with new trees so it is also a very enviromentally friendly choice.

johnson430
11-08-2015, 06:11 AM
I think mango is very under rated. It's a beautiful wood and very stable. The trees are grown for the fruit, when they get big they are less productive and are replaced with new trees so it is also a very enviromentally friendly choice.

+1 for mango.
I love my mango tenor. It is so warm and responsive.

printer2
11-09-2015, 12:56 AM
After that there's not a lot left to determine tone, other than people thinking that they can do so by looking at the wood.

Light wood has a brighter tone. dark wood, well dark tone. With a light top and a dark back and sides I get confused.

Lapsteel
11-15-2015, 05:11 PM
Try some big leaf maple or white ash.

lauburu
11-16-2015, 08:26 AM
Instead of using new wood, have a hunt around some second hand shops for cheap mahogany furniture to upcycle. I've found perfectly good mahogany that is of little commercial value because the varnish has crazed, it's been painted white, the joints have separated etc...
Mahogany furniture used to be very fashionable in the seventies but seems to have lost popularity. Coffee tables and bedheads are good as they convert into nice long(ish) boards without too many screw holes.
Miguel

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-16-2015, 08:51 AM
Instead of using new wood, have a hunt around some second hand shops for cheap mahogany furniture to upcycle. I've found perfectly good mahogany that is of little commercial value because the varnish has crazed, it's been painted white, the joints have separated etc...
Mahogany furniture used to be very fashionable in the seventies but seems to have lost popularity. Coffee tables and bedheads are good as they convert into nice long(ish) boards without too many screw holes.
Miguel

Great idea. I have an old church pew I'll cut up some day. Extremely tight grained redwood and 20" wide!

Pete Howlett
11-16-2015, 10:34 AM
Although upcycling is a great way to give new life to wood the chances are, if it is old enough, it will be on CITES list which does not recognise age or provenance without them bits of paper. So an instrument made from recycled Cuban mahogany would still be unable to safely cross an international border without a CITES certificate!

So back to answering the question - cherry for the body, alder for the neck, walnut for the bridge and fingerboard for a complete indigenous build...

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-16-2015, 10:39 AM
Even with CITES documentation, i would never get on a plane with BRW

little timber
11-16-2015, 10:56 AM
a bit off topic, but how does one get those CITES papers anyway?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-16-2015, 11:23 AM
The entire notion of CITIES documents related to or proving validity to sets used these days is ridiculous.

To my knowledge, cities documents were given for a log or pallet of wood by weight, not individual sets of instrument wood.

How can a customs person at the airport (or even the owner of the wood) KNOW that the CITES document they have is for the piece of wood they are holding holding?- There is no photograph of the wood attached to the document to match grain lines etc.

Pete Howlett
11-16-2015, 11:30 AM
That's the point Beau... it is a stupid law, backed by a stupid notion enacted by stupid governments. Nothing makes sense to the producers and users. It does however make money for someone. And despite the BRW thing I would bet that it is the most asked for wood of custom builders. There is so much myth attached to it. Bit like koa :)

printer2
11-16-2015, 12:20 PM
The whole idea was to stop the raw lumber trade in these woods from what I recall.

Pete Howlett
11-16-2015, 12:41 PM
It was to stop exploitation by taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut!

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-17-2015, 12:20 PM
It was to stop exploitation by taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut!

hahaha-
Much like how you can no longer sell a 400 year old piano with ivory keys.......

chuck in ny
11-17-2015, 03:05 PM
i am in the US northeast and in the middle of an appalachian forest and intend to start my building with native woods that are common commercial species and too common and accepted to be on anyone's hit list.
my stash right now is some black ash which i intend to augment with white ash. the black came from a neighbor and the white is standing dead at my place. you all have me on advisement that 25 instruments have to be built to make one's bones and i have had to take another look at the wood storage in light of that. there was no real impulse to plan out a series of 25 but when someone puts something like that on the table, it does make sense after all, you can't back down from the challenge, and it's work and it's joy. needing a rather enhanced stash my neighbor has a sizable red oak leaning dead at his place. when you are harvesting the wood yourself, here's where being a maniac with a chainsaw comes in quite handy, you get <real> picky about exact quarter sawn, and even the most common tree in the forest, which the red oak is, is going to be entrancing on the quarter filled with worm figure. it's the yankee way, we have to live up to the tradition in this area, use what you have. the portugese who started all of us on our quests did nothing different, they got to hawaii and started to build with what they had and thus koa became our standard.
i would not complain about rosewood. you can get a great guitar or uke out of it, exotic, luscious in its beauty and immensely resonant. there is no must be wood however as nearly every species that can produce an adequate board has something to recommend it. i love exotics but like native woods much better. dandelions growing in the sidewalk cracks and all that.

southcoastukes
11-17-2015, 05:28 PM
Pete, Beau,

It's pretty hard to read some of the things you've said in this thread. Folks who use wood as the material for their livelihood should absolutely be the last to criticize efforts to conserve it. I can tell you from long experience, the CITES regulations are a bare minimum of what needs to be done to conserve threatened species.

As Chuck points out, there are plenty of other wonderful tonewoods available for instrument building. I know your customers probably ask for restricted species, but you as builders should be able to educate them about more responsible alternatives. If that's too much difficulty for you, then - well - I won't say it.

Steveperrywriter
11-17-2015, 07:04 PM
According to Al Carruth, Osage Orange is somewhere between Braz and Indian tonewise, and it's considered a trash tree.

sequoia
11-17-2015, 07:26 PM
Hear hear. I totally agree... However, what I don't agree with is calling people out by name. Beau and Pete are responsible luthiers and it is perhaps better to say "lutheriers say such and such and do such and such". In other words, keep it general, not specific to any one person or persons. Thank you.

I've been involved in this discussion of exploited woods going back to the 80's when Bob Taylor pointed out that it wasn't luthiers driving the market in endangered woods so much as the consumer who demanded rare and exotic woods because they "sounded better". So maybe instead of putting the onus on the luthier we should start naming names of consumers who demand old growth koa and Brazilian rosewood ukuleles? That is not gonna happen.

So your point is well made Southcoast Ukulele & Guitar Company, let's just not be pointing any fingers here. Aloha.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-18-2015, 03:36 AM
Pete, Beau,

It's pretty hard to read some of the things you've said in this thread. Folks who use wood as the material for their livelihood should absolutely be the last to criticize efforts to conserve it. I can tell you from long experience, the CITES regulations are a bare minimum of what needs to be done to conserve threatened species.

As Chuck points out, there are plenty of other wonderful tonewoods available for instrument building. I know your customers probably ask for restricted species, but you as builders should be able to educate them about more responsible alternatives. If that's too much difficulty for you, then - well - I won't say it.

You have utterly misinterpreted what I and Pete have said and how we feel about conservation.

What we did was point out that the steps used to conserve wood through the use of CITES documentation doesn't work in regard to sets of instrument wood. (It minimizes present and future mass logging though which is great)

IE- if someone has a CITES document for some legally harvested BRW cut 100 years ago, what is stopping me from borrowing that same document for some illegally harvested wood???????

How can one differentiate between the wood the document is issued for and some other illegal wood?- If you know how then please tell us!!!

If you want to save BRW trees, the best way is to stop buying anything with Palm oil in it or beef: the two major commodities (to my knowledge) that replace the BRW trees on the cleared land.

This was our point. Perhaps try to think before you call someone non conservationists.

PS-Thanks Sequoia but I prefer it when people call me out by name, as then I can set them straight from their erroneous thinking processes.

Pete Howlett
11-18-2015, 04:03 AM
I'm used to being misrepresented on this forum. So I'll represent my view. You want to get people out of poverty - don't give 'em a chainsaw! Show them how to properly manage the resources they have. You wanna eat beef? Eat less of it so poor people won't be compelled to degrade their land for short term profit. You want a nice instrument? STOP BLEATING ON ABOUT HOW GOOD BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD IS! It ain't the bees knees. It ain't the holy grail. It is ONE in a huge number of options, some equally sonically brilliant, most breathtakingly more beautiful. I am about conservation. I am about sensible use of resources. I am about finding alternatives - I've been doing it since 2008 but it is THE END USER not me that demands these precious resources... don't point your gun at me. I have never used illegal wood and have sought to source all of my CITES listed woods from old sources - pool table legs, old joiner's stock... I recently bought 11 boards of 30 year old makore - posted an exciting thread on it which practically got ignored here. This wood is great, it's pretty and what's more, in my experience of building over 700 instruments produces one of the best ukulele sounds there is! But hey, lets have another thread about koa or better still, the problematical cocobolo...

Andyk
11-18-2015, 05:37 AM
well I for one am glad we all got that cleared up nice and quick and avoided the traditional 12 page fights followed by a closed thread.

back on topic ... I hear 2x4 pine is gaining popularity over BRW ;)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-18-2015, 06:05 AM
... [I] have sought to source all of my CITES listed woods from old sources - pool table legs, old joiner's stock... I

The frustrating thing is,
1- "Old stock" is still illegal to trade in without documentation-
2- Who the F&#k has documentation for such old things bought 2nd, 3rd, 4th (etc) hand
AND
3- How can anyone prove that the piece of wood (pool table leg) in your hand corresponds to the wood addressed in the document you have in your other hand!?!?!??!?!??!

(I know you know all this Pete- i'm writing it for others)

Recstar24
11-18-2015, 06:15 AM
Pete,

I thought your makore find and thread was awesome :) Keep on posting!

chuck in ny
11-18-2015, 06:34 AM
well. i'm a vegan and hence much less beef consumed and it would be nice in its way if others really understood vegetable protein sources. more or less a ding dong irrelevant point. the best reason to eat meat is that you like it. what i am doing is part of the zen diet and zen way and zen is appropriate for a loyal american because, what's your problem with personal freedom. people are never going to do what is best for them or what you think they should do or any logical or peaceful point so leave 'em alone. if you want a happy wife and kids, aside from the normal interface, leave them alone. bon apetit guys.
i briefly lived in the midwest and osage orange is an extremely interesting wood, yellow orange when cut, like nothing you have ever seen or used. it is immensely rot resistant and great for fences and such, a fence post is good for about 125 years so no unsatisfied customers. it can never catch on commercially because it gets chewed by the planer. maybe the new carbide spiral head units can process it well. it saws perfectly well, and can be easily band sawn and further perfected with a drum sander. i'm not sure it holds color over time under lacquer. it ages and goes toward brown and unremarkable in color. heavy, dense, probably very resonant, someone will have to try. it's range is toward new york from the midwest and i burn the odd bit as firewood from time to time.

Steveperrywriter
11-18-2015, 07:32 AM
well. i'm a vegan and hence much less beef consumed and it would be nice in its way if others really understood vegetable protein sources. more or less a ding dong irrelevant point. the best reason to eat meat is that you like it. what i am doing is part of the zen diet and zen way and zen is appropriate for a loyal american because, what's your problem with personal freedom. people are never going to do what is best for them or what you think they should do or any logical or peaceful point so leave 'em alone. if you want a happy wife and kids, aside from the normal interface, leave them alone. bon apetit guys.
i briefly lived in the midwest and osage orange is an extremely interesting wood, yellow orange when cut, like nothing you have ever seen or used. it is immensely rot resistant and great for fences and such, a fence post is good for about 125 years so no unsatisfied customers. it can never catch on commercially because it gets chewed by the planer. maybe the new carbide spiral head units can process it well. it saws perfectly well, and can be easily band sawn and further perfected with a drum sander. i'm not sure it holds color over time under lacquer. it ages and goes toward brown and unremarkable in color. heavy, dense, probably very resonant, someone will have to try. it's range is toward new york from the midwest and i burn the odd bit as firewood from time to time.

I lucked into the Carruth uke because I had a classical guitar he'd made. I asked Al if he had ever considered making ukes, and it turned out, one of the two he had built, the buyer had money problems. Both the uke and the guitar had osage orange backs and sides. Cedar-top on the guitar, and spruce on the uke. Much of the wood is local -- it's got an Engelmann-spruce top, Osage Orange back and sides, and most of the dark wood is walnut, though the fingerboard is apple with a walnut stain.

The guitar is coming up on ten years old, and the fresh-cut pumpkin color it was has gradually changed to a pale brown. The uke is about two years old, and still more orange than the guitar. I think they look great.

Both sound terrific.

The wood is apparently hard to work, but obviously it can be done ...

85481

85482

maclay
11-18-2015, 09:05 AM
I know Beau Hannam quite well, and he is a great person. I know for a fact that he takes conservation seriously, and does his best to ethically source his Tonewoods. I also know that when he uses a wood like Brazilian, he uses every little bit....nothing goes to waste.
I don't know Pete on a personal level (yet), but I assume he does the same.



.

chuck in ny
11-18-2015, 05:20 PM
I lucked into the Carruth uke because I had a classical guitar he'd made. I asked Al if he had ever considered making ukes, and it turned out, one of the two he had built, the buyer had money problems. Both the uke and the guitar had osage orange backs and sides. Cedar-top on the guitar, and spruce on the uke. Much of the wood is local -- it's got an Engelmann-spruce top, Osage Orange back and sides, and most of the dark wood is walnut, though the fingerboard is apple with a walnut stain.

The guitar is coming up on ten years old, and the fresh-cut pumpkin color it was has gradually changed to a pale brown. The uke is about two years old, and still more orange than the guitar. I think they look great.

Both sound terrific.

The wood is apparently hard to work, but obviously it can be done ...

85481

85482


steve, nice looking instruments altogether. not going to be a heck of a lot similar.