View Full Version : Macadamia nut wood

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-05-2009, 08:20 AM
Getting ready for the ukulele exhibition for the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival next week in Hilo, I just finished this macadamia nut/spruce tenor. It's a bit of a departure for me and gave me an opportunity to do something a little different. After working with koa, mac wood is a dream to work with, bends well and there's no grain to fill. The grain looks like snake skin or fish scales and the color varies enough so that it made a good rosette mosaic. The back is three piece because wide mac wood is hard to find. To make up for the extra work, the top is one piece, partly because I picked up a load of rejected Martin guitar tops which are perfect for ukuleles. Because the show is in a few days I didn't have time to a full glossy finish but I think I like it even better with the steel wooled satin, bringing out the warmth of the spruce.

04-05-2009, 08:42 AM
I've said it once and I will say it agian. You sure know how to make a fine looking (and sounding) ukulele.

Hobgoblin Steve
04-05-2009, 09:15 AM
wow thats really pretty looking. I especially like the the reddish scales on the sides and back. If you dont mind my asking, how much would these retail for?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-05-2009, 09:26 AM
Thanks, the grain is stunning, really unique. I think the player should be required to wear alligator boots and a snake skin belt to complete the picture. I haven't worked out the figures yet but it would probably be close to my base price for a tenor, around $1400 I'm guessing. I didn't mention but the nut, saddle and bridge inlay are fossil wooly mammoth ivory. (Maybe it's mastadon. I have both and it's hard to tell between the two.)

Hobgoblin Steve
04-05-2009, 09:33 AM
I think I need a better paying job :/

maybe one day :cool:

Pete Howlett
04-05-2009, 10:11 AM
Great work as usual Chuck. Is that the natural colour?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-05-2009, 11:53 AM
Thanks Pete. Yeah, only lacquer for the finish. I've had this macadamia nut wood around for a couple of years and had no plans for it. I thought maybe I'd use it for fret boards because it's pretty dense, the specific gravity is about 92. I may do a few more since I'm pleased with this one and the wood is so cheap, a few bucks a board foot. I guess it doesn't have too much commercial value since it's not commonly available in wider widths.

04-05-2009, 02:53 PM
Ooooh. that would be a sweet fret board. Time to see if I can get some on the interweb.

04-05-2009, 03:39 PM
It looks awesome. How does it sound though? Is it similar sounding to another more typical tonewood?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-05-2009, 04:29 PM
It's often said about luthiers than a builder has his own particular sound. So it is in this case as well. There are so many variables and so many subleties, but at this point I don't know if there's a huge difference between it and my koa ukes or my spruce tops for that matter. The strings aren't even fully stretched yet though and I haven't had much time to play it. I'm thinking the density of the mac nut is yielding a bit more volume and spruce always gives a roundness to the tone. The other variable is the fossil mastadon saddle which isn't quite as hard as the bone I normally use. I'll be better able to evaluate it in a couple of days.

Pete Howlett
04-05-2009, 09:34 PM
I think you always want to babalance a 'dense' wood back and sides with a spruce front - a bit ike rosewood/blackwood and spruce. What you have then is a lot of energy going into the front and the back acting more as a 'reflector'.

Ukulele Friend
04-05-2009, 10:19 PM
Aloha Chuck,

Truly a beautiful piece. The pattern in the wood is quite unique and I like the three-piece back with the pinstriping as well. It does add a sense of elegance to the piece.

I'd be interested in knowing how it sounds as well. I'll keep my eye out for your review.



04-06-2009, 01:46 AM
Is it spoken for? Damned UAS!!!!

04-06-2009, 04:36 AM
Wow, beauty! Nice work Chuck, as usual.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-06-2009, 04:39 AM
I had a couple of musician friends over last night and we passed the ukulele around. It's had a day to settle in and get used to it's new identity as a ukulele. I'm really liking this ukulele and will likely do more along this line. It's very open with a "woody" sound just as you would expect with a spruce top. And although I despise the word "loud" as it relates to stringed instruments (banjos are loud), it has plenty of volume, likely due to the side sound port. It will be part of the ukulele exhibit in Hilo next week.

Vic D
04-06-2009, 05:14 PM
I love the way you reinforced the beauty of the macadamia by using it in the rosette. Absolutely gorgeous.

04-06-2009, 11:15 PM
Deach two words of advice, "buy it"!

Nice uke Chuck, always liked macadamia nut wood, see you soon.

04-07-2009, 01:31 AM
Deach two words of advice, "buy it"!

Nice uke Chuck, always liked macadamia nut wood, see you soon.

I'd love to!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-07-2009, 07:22 AM
Nice uke Chuck, always liked macadamia nut wood, see you soon.
Ulua, Come to the exhibition at the Wailoa center in Hilo starting Monday.

04-07-2009, 07:29 AM
It's beeyooteeful! But makes me want chocolate-covered mac nuts...

04-07-2009, 08:28 AM
Beautiful work as usual Chuck. Enjoy the exhibition.

Ahnko Honu
04-07-2009, 09:42 PM
Aloha Chuck, beautiful work as usual. I've been a woodturner for about 15 years and on Maui the whole Macadamia Nut industry went belly up so there were literally thousands of acres of Macnut trees sitting idle. I went to the manager of the plantation for permission to collect fallen trees and broken branches, and he was more than happy for me to collect the fire hazards. This wood is very beautiful to turn with it's intertwining lacy grain the only thing comperable being Australian Silky Oak, and Protea wood. I found this wood need to be dried very slowly in the shade or it had a tendency to check badly. The colors from purple to pink are dazzling. When I moved to Oahu back in late 2007 I had to get rid of the majority of my non-native wood stash, just too much wood to crate up and ship so I trashed all my Macnut wood which I regret. I hope that Macnut wood ukulele goes over real well, best wishes to you.