View Full Version : Curly Mango Question

01-12-2012, 10:32 AM
I know some of you have worked with curly mango before.
I've heard mixed reviews and some like it and some don't.
But I have someone who has specifcally asked for a uke built with it, so I am going to give it a go.
I've heard people say that it sounds great, but that it is more warm and mellow rather than bright and punchy. Is that correct?

Before I start cutting and bending, does anyone have any suggestions about working with curly mango?
I'm also wondering how thick the top should be to get a good vibration and how difficult it will be to bend with the curl in it.

Thanks in advance.


01-12-2012, 11:11 AM
Chuck Moore said here recently that he found curly mango to be disappointing. I have bent a couple sets of soprano sides from some pretty straight-grained mango and had no bending problems. I used a blanket bender @ 350deg. after wetting the sides with SuperSoft2, a veneer softening agent.

As I have only just started my fourth uke, I am not the guy to talk about sound quantity except to say mine sounded great, nicer than the mahogany from my first. With Martin M600 strings it sounds very much like the Koa ukes I have with M600s. (well, maybe not as good as my Moore Bettah soprano). I used a top that was about.070 thick as it had a nice deflection under my thumbs, in the top at that point.


01-12-2012, 01:45 PM
I for one really enjoy working with mango. Although I am VERY picky about what mango I will use, when I find the right material it is fantastic! It has a very nice open sound to it. Very lively. I think the reason mango gets a bad rap is that people will use just about anything and are not using luthier quality material. I'm not saying Chuck would use sub-par material but some will and it does make a big difference.
It aslo boils down to personal preference, like everything.

01-12-2012, 02:00 PM
Tom: Thanks for the advice! The top thickness is very helpful. I will be bending with a hot pipe. I assume I should not soak the wood before bending. Is that correct?

Eric: Thank you very much for your advice. It's very encouraging to hear you say that!

01-12-2012, 03:02 PM
I learned here, from Chuck and others, to sandwich the sides between two damp pieces of canvas, instead of soaking. This seemed to provide enough moisture during bending. I think you'll find that when you reach the right temp. the mango will bend like butter. Good luck with the curly stuff.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-12-2012, 03:42 PM
What Eric says is sound advice: KNOW the positive qualities of a tonewood before choosing it to build with. CONSIDER stiffness and strength! Don't be wooed by a pretty face! (This thread, and my comments, address CURLY mago specifically.) More than any other tropical wood I've worked with, the qualities of mango runs the gambit. When mango grain is relatively straight it can be a dream to bend and work with. Some mango bindings can be tied into a knot, it's that flexible. Typically, with curly mango, the grain is more like a bowl of spaghetti, following many directions; harder to bend and can lack the stiffness necessary for a good top. Sometimes the grain is so short it's impossible to find the grain orientation. The prettiest mango I've worked with has had the stiffness of a damp sponge while less figured mango can be OK to work with. CHECK the strength and stiffness before committing yourself! Still, if I have a choice between spending my time with either mango or koa, there's no real choice for me.
BTW, for top thickness with mango I would suggest starting .01" to .015" thicker than you normally would and test from there.

01-12-2012, 04:33 PM
I agree with the other luthiers on this thread, pretty stuff but the grain direction can be problematic. I have been using it for necks because I like the look, but I always add the graphite truss rod for stability.

01-13-2012, 08:46 AM
I've used mango for two builds; one uke, one guitar. I like it. Its about the same as koa for bending and working. Seems a bit fussier to pore fill....probably my technique.
I can't comment about the tone differences as I haven't built the same model uke with other woods. Sounded nice to me

01-13-2012, 12:00 PM
every piece of mango i have used has acted differently. it is one of the most variable woods, in my experience. like all woods, the key is knowing when to throw a set out and when to treat it differently than other sets.