View Full Version : Hive Katalox & Red Spruce Build Progress

01-21-2017, 07:53 PM
Thought I'd start a thread for progress pics of my Hive tenor. It's quite a ways from being built. But I received some nice pics of the wood and uke set from Jake. The back and sides are Katalox (Mexican Royal Ebony). Haven't seen any Katalox instruments before. But, of the many wood samples discussed with Jake, Katalox seems to have the right material properties and looks for me. It's hard, strong, dense with nice coloring and good figuring.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4342/36688106100_469aa3d904_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XU18Ks)IMG_3447_zps8al24gru (https://flic.kr/p/XU18Ks)

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4383/36942827961_fbda8b5de8_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/YhvDFF)FullSizeRender3_zpshxc2z3te (https://flic.kr/p/YhvDFF) ,

01-21-2017, 08:11 PM
This is going to be a very special uke! Cool looking wood!

01-21-2017, 08:14 PM
Really nice looking wood. It'll be interesting following the building process of your special uke.

01-21-2017, 08:35 PM
Very nice, Hodge! Thanks for bringing up this tonewood, it looks spectacular. Lokking forward to seeing this build progress.

01-22-2017, 02:42 AM
Wow Hodge, that is quite unique. I am sure it will be a wonderful Uke. Jake's quality from what I see and hear is superb (as you know).

01-22-2017, 02:45 AM
I saw this wood on his FB page Hodge. I'm glad that you snatched it up. Spruce top with that?

I am looking forward to following the build thread once it starts. And also hearing what your uke sounds like!

01-22-2017, 03:22 AM
gorgeous wood! tenor size?

Ukulele Eddie
01-22-2017, 03:29 AM
It's gonna be a beaut, Hodge!!!

Jim Hanks
01-22-2017, 04:15 AM
Ooh wee! :drool:

01-22-2017, 04:57 AM
Thanks for the nice comments everybody. It's amazing all the great tone woods that are available and little known.

gorgeous wood! tenor size?

OhioBelle, thanks. This will be a tenor, a Hornet model.

I saw this wood on his FB page Hodge. I'm glad that you snatched it up. Spruce top with that?

I am looking forward to following the build thread once it starts. And also hearing what your uke sounds like!

Thanks Dana. Jake has some really outstanding wood sets, as you well know.

Yes, the top will be Red Spruce.

01-22-2017, 05:00 AM
Well done Hodge, I love how you are thinking outside the box. Jake no doubt likes this wood or he wouldn't be offering it. Certainly is beautiful looking and being a Hive it will sound beautiful as well.

01-22-2017, 05:16 AM
Hodge, I'm glad that you and Jake are undertaking this build. Some of the most reputable tone wood sellers have been showing katalox sets in both guitar and ukulele sizes. It appears to be in good supply and not threatened, or at least not CITES listed. Many of us will be following this project with interest!

01-22-2017, 08:11 AM
Congratuations, Hodge - I think you'll be pleased.

This is a wood we've used for years. As always there are lots of names. Royal Mexican Ebony is the new one; Katalox seems to be used most often. We used the older (Aztec) spelling: Katalo'ox, but in our neck of the woods where terminology was very general and often made knowing what you were talking about difficult, the most common name was "Cocobolo Negro".

The latin name is Swartzia cubensis, so it's not directly related to Cocobolo, not a true Dalbergia, and so not effected by the new blanket restrictions on rosewood from CITES. Be careful, however, if an instrument with this wood were to come into the U.S. from outside the country. Several areas where it grows have local restrictions meaning Lacey Act paperwork and permit documentation showing local restrictions were followed will come into play for entrance into (not exit from) the U.S.

While we used it on most of our instruments for a number of years, that use was typically on fretboards. Still we used it on bodies occasionally as well. Here's a photo of the back of an Alto Largo:


I still actually have this one, and as it's a primary instrument for string testing, it's gotten pretty gouged up below the bridge. Now that the testing has ramped way down, I'm going to try to make it a presentable instrument again and likely play it myself.

We built these in Central America and in those days used locally imported soundboard material. The most common was European Spruce - very popular with the local guitar builders, and we used it a lot as a result. It's the soundbard on the instrument in the photo. That pairing, as you might imagine, tends to be on the bright side, but there is a bit darker flavor these backs & sides give to the sound as well. So I'd say you have a nice combination and of course you can expect Jake will bring out the best in your selections.

01-23-2017, 02:27 PM
Congrats Hodge! Jake builds beautiful instruments

01-24-2017, 08:41 AM
You don't mess around sir Hodge!

As has often been the case recently when I read your posts, I have to go to google and learn about something new. Todays topic: What is Katalox? Well, for starters we can see it is beautiful to behold!

Thanks to Dirk and David for their educational input!

04-20-2017, 07:59 AM
New pics of the build from Jake. I'm loving how it's looking.
The Katalox grain and curl kind of resembles rising streams of smoke. Gorgeous!

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4334/36270948323_3bc24fca3a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Xg96gZ)IMG_5281_zpsljfhfhrs (https://flic.kr/p/Xg96gZ) [/url], on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4442/36688106220_43f5b3a1fc_c.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_5286_zpslf2v6sxf (https://flic.kr/p/XU18Mw) , on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4386/37084253395_e65b4c7eb4_c.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_5290_zpso1hrkuaa (https://flic.kr/p/Yv1uxe) [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/], on Flickr

Ukulele Eddie
04-20-2017, 05:16 PM
Wonderful, Hodge. It does seem reminiscent of smoke!

04-21-2017, 12:53 AM
Ok now you need to learn to play "Smoke on the Water"......or at least the riff for when you do your NUD sound sample. Looks wonderful Hodge.

04-21-2017, 04:31 AM
That's a beauty. I've been following Jakes work on other sites and am always impressed. I love the shape of the Hives and the Katalox is gorgeous. I thought it was Myrtle when I first saw it.

04-21-2017, 02:46 PM
Possibly weird question... how are you getting these pictures as the build continues? Are they emailed to you?

04-22-2017, 01:11 AM
It's looking great Hodge. I think that it is going to b e a stunner!

09-07-2017, 04:30 AM
Latest picture of the progress:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4430/36249163774_72036a9a59_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Xedruj)21430117_10155168594034825_4678035383411806 419_n (https://flic.kr/p/Xedruj)

09-07-2017, 12:58 PM
Very unique looking piece of wood. What have you chosen for the bindings Hodge?

09-07-2017, 02:44 PM
Very unique looking piece of wood. What have you chosen for the bindings Hodge?

After selecting the wood, I asked Jake to decide what would look best. We're going with ebony bindings, a classic look for framing the Katalox.

09-07-2017, 02:52 PM
This is an exciting time for you. Congratulation !

09-07-2017, 03:09 PM
Hodge, that is one great looking ukulele. The Katalox looks fantastic I'm sure Red Spruce with Ebony binding is going to look fantastic. I can't wait to see this one finished. I can't wait to hear it. Congrats.

Ukulele Eddie
09-07-2017, 07:01 PM
Very fine looking uke, Hodge! Looking forward to its completion!

09-12-2017, 03:24 AM
Latest updates from Jake. Ebony binding is on and a coat of pore-filler reveals the more finished color and nice figuring.
To me the ebony looks classy with the Katalox.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4430/36989607036_743e60d115_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/YmDpts)IMG_0785 (https://flic.kr/p/YmDpts)

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4414/36989606446_b7a904aafa_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_0787 (https://flic.kr/p/YmDpih)

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4385/36342568574_168b4a2697_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_0784 (https://flic.kr/p/XntatU)

[url=https://flic.kr/p/YmDpFG]https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4355/36989607746_b6db981d19_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_0783 (https://flic.kr/p/YmDpFG)


09-12-2017, 04:25 AM
That's really looking nice!

09-12-2017, 08:57 AM
Yowza! YOWza!! ...... WOW-ZA!!! :drool: :bowdown:

09-12-2017, 09:07 AM
And another Yowza from me! This is turning out great, congrats!

09-12-2017, 10:04 AM
I absolutely love it Hodge, pure class. That Katalox has really changed to a beautiful warm brown color with great figure in the sap wood.

09-13-2017, 01:44 AM
Magnificent Hodge. I agree with Dave about the color change. And a thumbs up here for the ebony binding.

Ukulele Eddie
09-13-2017, 01:14 PM
WOW, it just keeps getting better and better!!

09-13-2017, 01:44 PM
Holy Uke-moly!

That is gorgeous! Can't wait to hear the finished product.

09-13-2017, 02:11 PM
Deliciously fabulous.

09-15-2017, 03:38 PM
Outstanding! Jake's work is so clean! I look forward to seeing it finished and sound sample please.

09-30-2017, 02:33 PM
Two more pictures from Jake on the build progress.

Neck and fretboard:
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4494/36738170923_dd84bd4bc0_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XYqJh4)[/url] (https://flic.kr/p/XYqJh4)

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4445/36738170263_54c978ba22_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XYqJ5F) [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/] (https://flic.kr/p/XYqJ5F)

Jim Hanks
09-30-2017, 03:26 PM
That headstock ain't going NOWHERE! :p

10-01-2017, 08:39 AM
He definitely builds a fine Uke.

11-22-2017, 07:47 PM
This has been in the works for over a year now.
Here's the latest pics from Jake. It should get frets and then shipped off to Addam Stark for finishing next week.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4546/38561309422_1cc542276f_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/21KwMQs)IMG_3438 (https://flic.kr/p/21KwMQs) by [/url], on Flickr
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4543/38537105976_8c921b62c1_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_3439 (https://flic.kr/p/21HoJZE) by , on Flickr
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4578/26817603429_594dd1db4c_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_3437 (https://flic.kr/p/GRMebV) by , on Flickr
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4519/26817604159_c0e5b3af6d_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_3435 (https://flic.kr/p/GRMepv) by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/], on Flickr

Peace Train
11-22-2017, 08:19 PM
This has such a nice clean look to it. I especially like the contrast between the front and the back/sides. What a lovely build!

11-23-2017, 01:06 AM
I have always loved the shapes and proportions of Jakes instruments. This wood combo is just outrageous! What a proud owner you will be.

11-23-2017, 01:32 AM
Your uke is looking fantastic Hodge! Certainly a long wait, but it will be well worth it.

Jake has been using Tony Hernandez for his finishing lately, at least he did for my two. Did you request that Addam finish yours?

11-23-2017, 02:06 AM
Your uke is looking fantastic Hodge! Certainly a long wait, but it will be well worth it.

Jake has been using Tony Hernandez for his finishing lately, at least he did for my two. Did you request that Addam finish yours?

Thanks Dana. I am pleased how it has turned out. The build hasn’t seemed that long while getting periodic progress pictures from Jake, and at the start he told me it would be 18 months.

Actually, Jake didn’t say who was finishing it. I just assumed he was still having Addam do his finishing. I’ll have to ask.

Turns out I already have a uke that Jake built, my 2010 Flamed Cherry Compass Rose.

11-23-2017, 02:11 AM
Ah, that Flamed Cherry CR is a beautiful uke.

Ukulele Eddie
11-23-2017, 02:04 PM
It won’t be much longer now, Hodge!

11-27-2017, 08:04 PM
It's getting closer. Frets are installed, and it's been sent off for finish.
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4536/37976671884_c8d593f698_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/ZRSnsU)IMG_3804 (https://flic.kr/p/ZRSnsU) by , on Flickr

11-28-2017, 12:31 AM
It looks pure class, just like Jake and yourself Hodge. Really is shaping up to be a speical instrument. I am anxious to hear one of your well done sound sample of this beauty.

02-08-2018, 07:26 PM
The uke has returned from being finished. I am pleased with the look of the Katalox under finish.
A few more weeks yet before it heads to me.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4605/40162918171_a661234d5f_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/24c4sjp)IMG_7177 (https://flic.kr/p/24c4sjp) by [/url], on Flickr
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4720/28382770059_b31943b00c_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_7178 (https://flic.kr/p/Kf67Gt) by , on Flickr
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4628/40162918091_e699f4f338_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_7179 (https://flic.kr/p/24c4si2) by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/], on Flickr

02-08-2018, 11:53 PM
I really do love the color the Katalox has taken under finish. The top is a primo piece of spruce as well, with all the silking evident in the grain structure. No doubt it will sound amazing, you must be getting excited

02-09-2018, 01:10 AM
I've been waiting for an update on this uke, Hodge. I figured that it was getting close. The finish looks fantastic!

Ukulele Eddie
02-09-2018, 05:46 AM
Fantastic, Hodge. Cannot wait to officially welcome you to the Bee Hive! ;-)

02-09-2018, 07:41 PM
Gorgeous looking ukulele; I'm sure it will sound fantastic also. looking forward to your sound bite.

02-10-2018, 05:28 AM
That uke looks sexy. Would love to hear a sound sample of that, and hear how it sings.

03-07-2018, 04:35 AM
It is now complete and on its way to me.
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4694/39963959524_0defe8d867_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/23TtJQU)IMG_7592 (https://flic.kr/p/23TtJQU) by [/url], on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4650/39963961114_d254f50e7d_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_7613 (https://flic.kr/p/23TtKjj) by , on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4759/39963970664_8e15119cf1_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_7594 (https://flic.kr/p/23TtN9Y) by , on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4662/39963960444_8f165bbba7_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_7614 (https://flic.kr/p/23TtK7L) by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/], on Flickr

03-07-2018, 04:43 AM
Wow Hodge, this is SO AMAZING. I am happy for you.

Congrats on the purchase of it ... I am sure it will bring you so much pleasure for years!

03-07-2018, 04:48 AM
Man that is SLEEK! Congrats. BTW, what are you going to string it with?

03-07-2018, 05:43 AM
That is pure CLASS

I would take that to the high school prom it is so beautiful looking. :drool:

Ukulele Eddie
03-07-2018, 05:57 AM
Hodge, I'm not sure I've ever been as excited about somebody else's uke! LOL. Given the many fine ukes you've had, I am very much looking forward to you joining the Bee Hive! ;-)

03-07-2018, 07:01 AM
Absolutely gorgeous. There is not a detail I would omit. Jake does some fantastic work, Hodge you made some great choices in the build and woods!!!!
I cant begin to say how much i like the style of the pin bridge and fretboard.



03-07-2018, 08:00 AM
What a beauty! And since it's from Jake, you know it will be a superb instrument. Congrats!

03-07-2018, 09:36 AM
I have been watching the thread and Jake's facebook and instragram feeds and your build is one of my favorites.

03-08-2018, 02:33 PM
Thanks everyone for the nice comments. I now have the Katalox/ Adirondack Spruce Hive tenor. It's every bit as wonderful as it looks.
First sound sample with Oasis Brights, low g. https://app.box.com/s/rd07g6q89d28zydb5y96zxitzfn54ap2
and two last pics.
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4778/40700388811_8445f15744_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/251y8Bz)IMG_7780 (https://flic.kr/p/251y8Bz) by [/url], on Flickr
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4774/40685392541_4c480b9a33_z.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/)IMG_7781 (https://flic.kr/p/24ZegKc) by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150516092@N02/], on Flickr

03-08-2018, 02:52 PM
Wow, that sounds amazing. Great depth and clarity. Congrats


03-08-2018, 03:34 PM
Stunning....and that signature Hive sound is just fantastic!

Ukulele Eddie
03-08-2018, 03:57 PM
Yep, signature (lovely) Hive! Congrats, Hodge!!

03-09-2018, 01:26 AM
That deep, rich, Hive sound is unmistakable. I like the Oasis brights on my Hives. It took a little while to adjust to the squeak of their low G, but it is lively and balanced well with the other strings. On my Redwood/Birdseye Maple Hive, which I have tuned re-entrant, I put a Southcoast wound C and a Savarez G on it and like that combo as well. I am sure that you will probably mess around with some different string combinations.

Congratulations on your latest acquisition Hodge!