View Full Version : tahitian ukes #2

09-28-2009, 01:34 PM
at the risk of getting slammed for this here is the prototype uke.

total cost $35 nz (bugger all to be honest) + fishing line + lots of help from some mates at the local joiners, whose tools are way cooler than mine.;)


its a laminate of pine and rimu, plays nicely in open chords, although the tuning is GCEA, with the same nylon the e string is an octave higher than normal so any fiinger work sounds weird to say the least. its sounds more like a banjo, than a uke (like pete said!), but its a nice distraction on a sunny while on a deck chair. (just need it to stop raining!)


p.s. the next one will be better!

09-28-2009, 01:44 PM
Thats cool, why so few frets? I know its mostly chording but I like a long neck to work different voicings out of chords to get the most out of the smaller scale.. I wonder what the laminate body does for the sound

09-28-2009, 01:46 PM
ran out of fret wire. this was done on the major cheap.

09-28-2009, 01:50 PM
haha for that then its even more awesome! gotta appreciate ingenuity to make something to jam out on

09-28-2009, 02:08 PM
This thing is awesome!

09-28-2009, 03:29 PM
Cool :)

It's all about making you smile when you are playing it.
If you accomplished that, it was well worth it.

09-28-2009, 09:32 PM
Cool. Is rimu a native New Zealand wood? I've never heard of it before.

09-29-2009, 10:54 AM
most of the milled rimu in NZ comes from the pacific islands now (Fiji) although the local maori can get permits to fell, and process some trees. There is a local guy making soprano's about half an hour from where i am, is using it for tops and necks, but he prefers other woods if he can get them (matai, and mangeao, with mangeao being the best in his eyes)

"using mangeao, matai, swamp kauri and rimu for tops at the moment. mainly rewarewa for the backs, totara or tanekaha for sides, rimu or totara for necks, and puriri for fingerboards." - this is a quote from one of his e-mails.

tawa, kauri, matai, and rimu, are easiest to get from recycled floor boards from old houses, but there are now places like http://www.rarefind.co.nz/
poping up now which is great if your trying to fiind wood.

the following is from wikipeadia:

Dacrydium cupressinum is a large evergreen coniferous tree endemic to the forests of New Zealand. It was formerly known as "red pine", although this name is misleading since it is not a true pine but a member of the southern conifer group the podocarps. The name "red pine" has fallen out of common use and the Māori name rimu is now used.

Rimu is a slow-growing tree, eventually attaining a height of up to 50 m, although most surviving large trees are 20 to 35 m tall. It typically appears as an emergent from mixed broadleaf temperate rainforest, although there are almost pure stands (especially the west coast of the South Island). There are historical accounts of exceptionally tall trees, 61 m, from dense forest near National Park, New Zealand, now destroyed [3]. Its lifespan is approximately 800 to 900 years. The straight trunk of the rimu is generally 1.5 m in diameter, but may be larger in old or very tall specimens [3].

Historically, rimu and other native trees such as kauri and totara were the main sources of wood for New Zealand, including furniture and house construction. However, many of New Zealand's original stands of rimu have been destroyed, and recent government policies forbid the felling of rimu in public forests, though allowing limited logging on private land. Pinus radiata has now replaced rimu in most industries, although rimu remains popular for the production of high quality wooden furniture. There is also limited recovery of stump and root wood, from trees felled many years before, for use in making bowls and other wood turned objects.

The inner bark can also be used to treat burns and cuts.[4


09-29-2009, 11:08 AM
That is amazing! I love it.

09-30-2009, 04:23 AM
Cool. Is rimu a native New Zealand wood? I've never heard of it before.

I guess you could say it's our koa...

There is a local guy making soprano's about half an hour from where i am, is using it for tops and necks, but he prefers other woods if he can get them (matai, and mangeao, with mangeao being the best in his eyes)

Got a link perchance? I seem to recall some guy in Te Kuiti, but I wonder if you mean Captain ukes in Te Pahu?

Anyway, great job on the tahitian bro... let me know if you're flicking any off (outside trademe)... this Cook Islands one looks interesting too:

10-01-2009, 10:28 AM
can do, but honestly they are really cheap to make, you should have a crack.
yo u may inherit this one if my wife gives me any more grief about too many ukes;)

it is captain ukulele out of te pahu, if you google it he will come up.


Ahnko Honu
10-01-2009, 11:05 PM
That Tahitian 'ukulele is a beauty, I like the laminate body. I grew up with a Tahitian friend and he made a few on these. I always wanted to make one but use shark belly skin for the sound board instead of plywood like they used to in the old days. I'd like to make the hollow bigger for a bigger skin too.
Back in the early 80s I worked in a lumber yard on Oahu (Atlas Building Materials) and they had a stock of Rimu wood lumber that they were clearing out at half price. At the time I started building a 21 feet fishing boat so I used this half price Rimu for all the frames. Kind of a shame to use such beautiful wood that would be painted over but it was the cheapest wood available at the time. Wish I had more.
I'd like a swamp Kauri 'ukulele too. :D
Keep us posted on the progress.

10-15-2009, 11:37 PM
Very cool build! I've wanted one for a couple of years now, but they're ridiculously priced online. Granted, some are beauties, but after finding out how cheap they are to make, i couldnt justify dropping that kind of dough on one.

On your next build, could you possibly do something more like a tutorial? I'd really love to try my hand at this. I cant imagine anything more rewarding than enjoying something that I've built with my own hands.

Thanks for sharing!