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Pete Howlett
01-12-2012, 10:17 PM
With the difficulty for me of importing koa - no it's easy to import but with taxes and shipping a mastergrade set at $175 ends up costing me $300 I am forced to offer it as an upgrade for tenors and focus on indigenous hardwoods for my now largely European market. I have just visited a famous guitar maker's website where his koa upgrade for what I would call AA grade is over $700 seems excessive to me. Fellow builders, how do you see this going? Are we looking towards a fierce hike in prices? I've noticed less billet size koa available on eBay with some former traders of very good stuff no longer putting up billets for auction. I am out of mastergrade and have only a dozen tenor sets left of my huge stash which is cut foir concerts and sopranos - yep, I made a huge error 4/5 years ago when I thought I would be the concert king... most of it now goes into soprano kits!

ukulian
01-12-2012, 11:36 PM
I prefer to use indigenous/local timbers, which, as you know, can work out far cheaper. There is also the 'green' aspect to local sourcing which more folk are agreeing with in this modern age. :)

Pete Howlett
01-13-2012, 03:21 AM
I kno what I prefer... however, ther market says different! Look at the continuing demand for Brazilian Rosewood in the guitar market despite the almost impossible task of using it. A maker told me the other day he had a stash that he was frightened to use - his words!

crescent55
01-13-2012, 08:04 AM
I'm just glad you made my koa tenor while you still had a reasonable supply. I just love the look and sound of the koa.

It is a such a shame that the import restrictions and costs make it almost prohibitive to have the choice of materials that customers may like to buy.

That said I am very impressed with what you have achieved using native timbers.

Kekani
01-13-2012, 08:37 AM
Personally, I normally don't up charge for woods, but, I normally don't keep a lot of Master grade Koa in stock either. If a customer asks for that, and I have to purchase a specific set, I'll pass the total cost of the set to the customer, in addition to the base price. Pretty much what you plan on doing.

Milo, well, that's another story. Kou will follow that story as well. Both of which I have. Just gotta find Kamani for the trifecta.

Aaron

Allen
01-13-2012, 09:59 AM
I haven't uncharged for a spectacular set as yet, and am really at a lose as to what I would mark it up should it come to that point.

Like you Pete, I've trolled throughout other uke and guitar sites and see what some up charge for what I would never consider. As at this point that particular wood didn't cost me any more, nor is it any more difficult obtain or to work with. I put the shortage and or high price down to the large number of hobby builders jumping in and driving up the price for the fancy looking wood they want to use on their first instrument.

I get suppliers contacting me now and then wanting to move a stack of wood, but quoting me price per set that they get from a one time buyer. That usually 3 times higher than what I can get it for from my regular suppliers.

Personally, I like to work with local woods, and Australia has a heap of them that are fantastic, but the sad part is that most of my market want's something exotic. Seems that the grass must be greener somewhere else.

Bradford
01-13-2012, 11:07 AM
Yes Pete, I have noticed that is getting harder and harder to find billets of nice koa. I have been adding a modest upcharge for the very best that I have and like you that is getting to be in short supply. Fortunately I have had pretty good success getting people to go with myrtle, which I love.

Brad

Pete Howlett
01-13-2012, 12:10 PM
I love myrtle too but it is not native to North Wales :) ;)

Liam Ryan
01-13-2012, 12:45 PM
.......................I've seen a $400 upcharge for curly myrtle.................

Kekani
01-13-2012, 03:43 PM
Myrtle is for the guys that play with their eyes closed - one of the best sounding ones I've made have been Myrtle. Actually, not too bad on the eyes, especially the curly stuff. Unfortunately for me, I got a curly billet with spalting, before I knew to stay away from that. It moved more than beef tartar, and needed a lot of stabilizing to work with (won't be using that again).

That said, I think I need to get some more (and not upcharge for what is a really inexpensive wood).

-Aaron

Dan Uke
01-13-2012, 05:53 PM
That said, I think I need to get some more (and not upcharge for what is a really inexpensive wood).

-Aaron

I think I remember a $400 upcharge from Mya Moe for their master grade myrtle...could have been $300.

tonewood
01-13-2012, 07:22 PM
The main reason you are not seeing much billets or sizeable pieces of nicely figured koa on Ebay is because the economy is in the tank. Three, four, five years ago you could sell as much curly koa on Ebay as you had. For the fun of it I use to calculate the board foot price that people were paying and it was consistently 100 to 165 a board ft. All day long. Every day. And most of that wood was still green! That doesnt exist anymore. Sure you can still get rid of koa on Ebay but bottom line the game changed.Its not the cash cow it was then. People generally dont have the amount of extra cash they had then, or they are just not spending it. As some of you might know I have a brand new website selling ukulele sets. Thought it would be fun. Its still in its infancy due to a full time day job.But my timing was way off. I should have jumped in while it was hot. I have plenty of nice wood to cut but very little motivation due to the fact that its hard to sell. Its hard to get the price that you need to get to be able to do this. I thought that it would sell itself, but I was wrong. Now here is my Ebay horror story. I posted 3 koa and 2 mango soprano sets on Ebay last week. Starting price was .99 cents. These were nice sets and only one set sold. My first sell on Ebay ever. A guy bought the set for .99 cents! Im boxing it up even as we speak. Quite painful actually.This is why you dont see alot of the larger pieces. Because those Ebay koa sellers got use to a certain premium and they are finding it harder to get. Talk about giving away the store. Live and learn.

Kekani
01-13-2012, 09:08 PM
I think I remember a $400 upcharge from Mya Moe for their master grade myrtle...could have been $300.

Here's what less than $300 of Myrtle looks like, uncut. At 16/4, guess how many sets I could get out of that. . .
http://www.nwtimber.net/shop-all-wood-types/nwt5165.html

Liam Ryan
01-13-2012, 10:14 PM
Here's what less than $300 of Myrtle looks like, uncut. At 16/4, guess how many sets I could get out of that. . .
http://www.nwtimber.net/shop-all-wood-types/nwt5165.html

At $400 upcharge per uke, that $200 piece of timber becomes a $4000 piece of timber.

Pete Howlett
01-13-2012, 10:16 PM
Have you bought from NWT? I always thought their billets were expensive...

ukebuilder
01-13-2012, 10:56 PM
I am not sure if any of you guys live in the Northwest but I have bought all kinds of Myrtle for 4.00 ABF, My guy has tuns of it. It is all dry but it rough sawn and its hard to see what it is going to look like. I have got highly figured and also a light cream color with a little brown running through it. It all cost the same. It is in all different sizes and thicknesses. Some pieces are two feet wide and four inches thick and three to four feet long. Some are small four inch by four inch twelve inches long. It would all need re-sawn. I will post pics of what I get tomorrow. The guy at the coast sells it for 6.00 ABF all day long and his is cut right and is a little easier to work with. This is why I am blown away when I see 300 or more for myrtle.

mzuch
01-14-2012, 03:12 AM
Starting price was .99 cents. These were nice sets and only one set sold. My first sell on Ebay ever. A guy bought the set for .99 cents!

I suspect your sets are not selling because buyers are not seeing them. Mightyfinewoods and others are getting high prices for curly koa sets and billets. What search terms are you using in the title of the auction? I have automatic notifications for various search terms for koa sets and have not seen yours.

aaronckeim
01-14-2012, 05:46 AM
NWT is great. the billet that was linked to above would be normal myrtle for Mya-Moe, not upgrade. The freaky curly and striped stuff is quite a bit more expensive.

Kekani
01-14-2012, 08:26 AM
Have you bought from NWT? I always thought their billets were expensive...

Some of their maples are expensive, but every now and then it becomes worth it in the long run, especially for guys like us that resaw our own. Also, you really gotta look sometimes because the piece I linked to was one of their Musical grades, which is supposedly their more expensive woods, geared for instruments - obviously, that piece was cheap. I usually search for more curly rather than musical, which can oftentimes provide a more visually stunning piece. Outside of their once upon a time Blue frog's hair Giant log a while ago which was over $1K, most if not all of their myrtle is less than their maples.

Plus, they're easy to buy from and a pleasure to work with.

- Aaron

aaronckeim
01-14-2012, 08:29 AM
yup- i have a set of that frog's hair on the bench right now!

Kekani
01-14-2012, 09:07 AM
yup- i have a set of that frog's hair on the bench right now!

Now THAT deserves an up charge for sure!

aaronckeim
01-14-2012, 03:21 PM
once i get it sanded i will post a pic!