View Full Version : another new member with ideas, but this noob has no idea.

05-01-2011, 06:31 PM
Hi Guys,

Been trawling the interwebs for info about building a Uke. wanted to build a Uke one day and had some basic plans which I found in a magizine which my sister-in-laws boyfriend took a liking to so we are gonna build a couple of them.

So this post is just a quick one to say hi and ask if my timber material is suitable for what I want to do.

I have two Oak doors which may become the top or back or both, I'm not sure about the tonal qualitise of oak but I have it. second is I have some mahogany which will become the opposite side of the oak so either top or bottom as well as bridges and possably bracing inside. the neck will be made of Rimu and native hard wood in NZ. for the rest I wanna use maple for the fret board, which I still have to source. and if it doesn't matter i'll use pine for the sides.

I'm looking for some other plans as the ones I have the Uke looks like an oval and I'd rather a dreadnough or cutaway. anyhow, this decision was made late last night and I have a lot of the parts and matherial so I'll keep you guys posted and we'll see how it goes.


Michael Smith
05-01-2011, 09:20 PM
Hello and Welcome.

Oak will work fine for back and sides but isn't ideal for top wood. It might be best to stay away from the very tight bends of a cutaway on your first time to the rodeo.

05-02-2011, 12:01 AM
I agree with Michael. Oak for the back and sides. Maybe the mahogany for the top. Use the pine for bracing. The most important thing is fret placement and bridge placement.

05-02-2011, 07:45 AM
I would first look at the wood and see how much is vertical grained/quarter sawn before making any decisions. Vertical grain is preferred for the sides and the top if possible. Also for a first go at anything I would try to make it easy and go with the easier of the choices. You can always complicate things later. Mahogany is much easier to work than Oak and is a classic choice.
As far as the Pine if it is construction grade 2X framing timber it may be usable for a top and brace stock if split on the quarter. Check these excellect Youtube videos by Chris Paulick:

05-02-2011, 10:03 AM
What sort of Oak is it your talking about? And Maple as well? The species that have local names in Australia as Oak and Maple are nothing even closely related to those in the rest of the world and their working properties are very far removed from what our American friends are referring to.

That being said, I'd stay away from a cutaway on your first. You are needlessly complicating your first attempt. Get the basics down first before jumping in at the deep end.

Your plans sound like they might be for a pineapple shape. There are heaps of plans available. A quick look at Google will find plenty of options. Hana Lima (http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/StoreFront) has good plans and a book to walk you through the process if that interests you.

05-02-2011, 04:11 PM

The oak, or thats what I think it is is from some furniture from europe so it will be the same. I will avoid the cutaway and see how I go with time to deside on either the pineaple or dreadnought. can I use pine for the sides? as it will be a cheap option for my first attempt. I'm not sure on the cut but I'll do some research into it. Is there a value in a two piece top and bottom or is it just because it is a better use of timber?

05-02-2011, 05:26 PM
You want to use a wood which offers more stiffness for the sides (and back) than what we would call Pine. Also...typical construction uses the same dense wood for the sides and back and a less dense wood for the top. Koa and Mahogany are the main exceptions to this but you can find all Maple and Myrtle too. Two piece tops and bottoms allow for book matching the grain which makes interesting patterns and allows for narrow sections to be used but if you have wide enough stock it's not required.

05-03-2011, 07:49 AM
You can download free plans for a Martin style soprano at Grellier guitar site.... http://www.grellier.fr/plans.php?lang=en
There are several others for sale out there.....stewmac.com. hanalima.com, elderly.com, etc
I haven't used oak in a uke before but others have with good results. I'd recommend maple for your first time because it bends very well