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Matt Clara
11-10-2009, 09:34 AM
At the local shop I can choose from oaks (several kinds), maple, poplar, pine, cedar, cherry, walnut, beech. Actually, you can find the complete list here (http://www.theworkbench.com/species/species.php) (with nice descriptions of each wood's characteristics)--while they have some of the exotics listed in there on hand, there's a lot less to choose from, and they are much more expensive. Almost none of those are quarter sawn, so if the wood I choose isn't quarter sawn, and isn't as hard as, say, Ash, then I'm going to assume the neck should be reinforced, but given the above selection, what would one be best off going with?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-10-2009, 10:05 AM
Mahogany is a good choice for neck wood with Honduran being better than African. Generally no reinforcement is needed for either. Either of these is much harder than cedar; the down side being they weigh more. Most common thicknesses you'll find at a local lumber yard for exotics will be 1" (4/4) will will work fine since most necks are laminated from a few pieces of wood. Flatsawn or quartersawn can be used as long as the grain orientation is correct when you profile the neck however quartersawn is preferred.

Matt Clara
11-10-2009, 10:08 AM
Mahogany is a good choice for neck wood with Honduran being better than African. Generally no reinforcement is needed for either. Either of these is much harder than cedar; the down side being they weigh more. Most common thicknesses you'll find at a local lumber yard for exotics will be 1" (4/4) will will work fine since most necks are laminated from a few pieces of wood. Flatsawn or quartersawn can be used as long as the grain orientation is correct when you profile the neck however quartersawn is preferred.

Where the correct grain orientation would be parallel with the uke center line?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-10-2009, 10:28 AM
When viewed from the end of the neck the grain orientation should be as such: lllllllllllllll
And of course you'll want want a straight grained piece of wood as well, That is with the grain to be running parallel to the center line of the uke with no run out.
Also, make sure it is dry.

Pete Howlett
11-10-2009, 10:31 AM
Poplar and Cherry would be good choices...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-10-2009, 10:39 AM
Poplar and Cherry would be good choices...

Cherry can be heavy.

E-Lo Roberts
11-10-2009, 11:01 AM
Made a tenor neck out of rosewood thinking it would be cool to cut the frets right into the top of the rosewood just like a maple telecaster neck. Got half way through the profile and abandoned the idea when the neck weighted in like a cider block. No worries though, it now serves quite well as a great defense weapon for would-be burglars! e.lo...

Cherry can be heavy.

dave g
11-10-2009, 11:24 AM
I've made necks out of all sorts of woods - any sound, dry piece of hardwood with relatively straight grain will do. Obviously, some species are heavier than others, but there isn't anything in the rule book that says the neck has to weigh just so :). I've never reinforced a ukulele neck, and I doubt it's necessary except perhaps on baritones or possibly tenors with wispy thin necks.

One caveat: The way I build, the neck has a separate 1/16" thick piece of wood laminated to the top of it (an extension of the soundboard). That undoubtedly adds some stability.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-10-2009, 11:29 AM
Made a tenor neck out of rosewood thinking it would be cool to cut the frets right into the top of the rosewood just like a maple telecaster neck. Got half way through the profile and abandoned the idea when the neck weighted in like a cider block. No worries though, it now serves quite well as a great defense weapon for would-be burglars! e.lo...

I have an uke I keep next to my bed for the same reason! Brazilian cherry neck. Only problem is that if an intruder came in I doubt if I could lift it. In my book, ukuleles should be as light as you can build them.

RonS
11-10-2009, 11:32 AM
In addition to what has been mentioned

Walnut
Birch
Sycamore
Maple (sliver - it's lighter)
Aspen
Butternut (white walnut)

erich@muttcrew.net
11-10-2009, 01:07 PM
In addition to mahogany and Spanish cedar (same basic characteristics as mahogany but somewhat lighter in weight), we regularly use maple (zing), walnut (mellow and woody) and cherry (mellow zing), and have also used rosewood (well known for depth and harmonics but lead heavy), amarillo (like mahogany but a beautiful yellow color), padouk (hard and heavy but rings like a bell), palm wood (hard and heavy but wow)...