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cml
12-28-2016, 06:50 AM
Just received this board of oak from my neighbour...1600x574x12mm in size!!! Big board of 3 smaller boards glued together.
I figured this could become a uke or two :).

So does it bend at all :)?

96558

Yankulele
12-28-2016, 04:22 PM
I think oak will bend ok, but I also think it's usually really ugly. With all the effort that goes into a build, why not start with a prettier piece of wood?

Nelson

Choirguy
12-28-2016, 04:35 PM
That's interesting...oak is such a popular wood for cabinets and furniture, and I have always thought is was nice looking! Maybe it doesn't look good on a ukulele?

Dan Gleibitz
12-28-2016, 05:40 PM
I'm sure it will bend. I reckon 12mm might be a bit thick for sides though. :p

Michael Smith
12-28-2016, 06:38 PM
I would not build a ukulele out of flatsawn oak.

greenscoe
12-28-2016, 08:24 PM
We had a discussion on the use of oak awhile ago: I still havent used it but maybe next year?

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?102546-Ukulele-made-from-oak

DennisK
12-28-2016, 08:59 PM
Yep it bends pretty easily. It likes water, so put a wet paper towel on the pipe.

But as Michael says, stick with quartersawn. Oak has extremely high humidity expansion when flatsawn, but reasonably low when quartersawn.

cml
12-28-2016, 09:15 PM
Thanks fellas! It would be for sides and back if I use it.
Ken's pallet thread inspired me to think outside the box :)!

printer2
12-29-2016, 02:26 AM
I think oak will bend ok, but I also think it's usually really ugly. With all the effort that goes into a build, why not start with a prettier piece of wood?

Nelson

Yeah, I'm not too crazy about oak either.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u169/SteveK_album/Number%20100/3bd3b1e985ffc7a046f2b4bff1fa3ead.jpg

Stagehand
12-29-2016, 03:15 AM
That Back is gorgeous!

cml
12-29-2016, 03:56 AM
I think so too!

fungusgeek
12-29-2016, 04:40 AM
A little curl helps the look of oak or ash a lot, as does perfectly quartersawn oak which reveals a strong medulary ray pattern (often seen in old oak furniture). I built a uke out of ash (first cousin to oak in terms of grain structure, bendability, etc). The ash was quite curly and that really makes the look different, particularly since the curl is maximal when the wood is perfectly quarter-sawn. 'Normal' ash is pale and rather plain looking.

This was from a tree that my neighbor and I took down above his garden a number of years ago before my uke building days. When carrying in firewood I found some really nice curly pieces that were big enough for back and sides. This is a wedding present for my neighbor's daughter, who is a vet living in Wyoming.

cml
12-29-2016, 05:35 AM
Well, I cant change the grain direction and cut of this piece I was given, so we'll see if it's good enough. I'll take a look at it come spring :)...

As to oak not being pretty, I think that's down to us being used to see it in furniture!

Rrgramps
12-29-2016, 06:53 AM
Dang it CML, you've pulled off some stuff which amazes me more than a lot of old timers. Furthermore, you aren't one to say, "I can't," so I say; go ahead and use any wood you can get your hands on. It'll bend.

I'm told quarter sawn is best, flat sawn might warp, and real builders don't use oak. I'm in for you to experiment and use it, so let's see. If it works for you, then we may quit listening to old fuddled-duddies and their iron-clad, meant to be broken rules. ��

jollyboy
12-29-2016, 06:57 AM
Every time I see the title of this thread I feel like it's some sort of Zen koan. And I want to go off and contemplate it...

Off-topic. Apologies :)

cml
12-29-2016, 07:13 AM
Every time I see the title of this thread I feel like it's some sort of Zen koan. And I want to go off and contemplate it...

Off-topic. Apologies :)
Sounds good to me!:)

Gramps, thank you for your humbling comment.

resoman
12-29-2016, 07:22 AM
I played an F5 style mandolin a few years ago that was quarter sawn white oak with a spruce top and it was a wonderful instrument. Maybe one of the best this guy had made to that point. So I think it goes back to the sound being in the hands of the builder.
John Calkin says nice things about oak in his Heretic's Guide to Alternative Lutherie Woods

ProfChris
12-29-2016, 01:24 PM
This is oak, and not too shabby looking I think.

I made it for Phil Doleman who tells me it gets played regularly, so I'd say it sound OK too.


https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3912/15059191310_30495fab1c.jpg

(The slab of wood behind is the bar top from which it was made)

Ken Franklin
12-30-2016, 08:17 PM
If the wood is plain looking then the uke's form and binding scheme can help make a very attractive instrument. As stated before there are lots of fine oak guitars. The wood is usually quartersawn which can show a nice ray pattern. I found a board recently that should make a handsome uke. I didn't have much trouble bending oak for a guitar I made awhile back. This will be more of a challenge.

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cml
12-30-2016, 09:03 PM
Gorgeous set Ken!

Rrgramps
12-31-2016, 08:34 AM
Wow, Ken has found an awesome looking book matched oak set for the back and possibly top too. If CITES is against us, then local woods like Ken found are going to be our next premium, local luthier wood.

BTW, I've read that oak is among the easier woods to bend.

ProfChris
12-31-2016, 10:25 AM
I rarely see any elitist, status quo thinking among uke luthiers about wood.

Just to give a few examples, I'd say there is a pretty fair consensus among luthiers that straight grained Koa tops sound better than curly; that Koa doesn't sound better than other wood, just different; and that pretty much any wood species which meets certain functional requirements can be made into a good sounding uke.

Uke buyers, on the other hand, have very strong opinions on these matters!

Fortunately there are builders who like to try new things, and enough players who like the idea too so that these ukes get played.

To get back to the original post, the only problem with that oak (using only the parts between the joints) is that it's not vertical grain (quartersawn). This presents three technical problems:

1. It will be less stiff across the grain than is desirable for a top. Slightly taller bracing can compensate, but some volume will be lost.

2. The sides may want to cup when bending - keep them as dry as possible. I find oak bends easily, even dry, though it bends easier with water.

3. Top and back will expand and contract more, widthways, than quartersawn wood. This can cause cracking. But curving these plates across the grain direction might be enough to allow these movements to occur safely (maybe a 3mm/ 1/8 inch dome would-be adequate, twice that would look odd but be plenty). As a knock on effect the top will rise and fall with humidity, probably requiring two saddles for different seasons. But the OP plans something else for the top, so will only need to dome the back.

I'd add that oak makes a decent neck, not as heavy as you'd think. But because of its propensity to move I'd either use quartersawn or would laminate two pieces with mirror grain direction to counteract each other.

Rrgramps
12-31-2016, 02:47 PM
Chris, I posted that elitist comment on the wrong thread.

Ken Franklin
01-01-2017, 08:39 PM
If your sides do cup you can always do double sides. Then they can be bent much thinner.

Rrgramps
01-02-2017, 04:56 AM
If your sides do cup you can always do double sides. Then they can be bent much thinner.
DD cups need to be thicker than AA cups. ;)