PDA

View Full Version : Curly maple Uke?



mrhandy
01-16-2012, 05:49 AM
Hi all I have a friend that wants me to make him a uke out of curly maple.

I am looking for some insight into building with Maple, and also what others have experienced with tone quality. what sort of top wood, would be suggested, if different then maple.

finally If I do decide to build with maple, I need to find a good source for some knock your eyes out stock... I'm a little nervous about bending, high figure stuff, but its going to either be crazy or I'm going to talk him into a different species, which I may do if I cant find a good price.

All insights and suggestions welcome.

ksquine
01-16-2012, 07:51 AM
Maple is great stuff. Very easy to bend and work with. I've never had a problem bending figured maple on my hot pipe. High figure stuff can be tricky to thickness. You'll have to be good with plane and the blade has to be sharp sharp sharp.
I'd go with a spruce, cedar or redwood top. I've seen maple topped ukes but haven't heard the results. Maple takes dye really well so you can color match the top and body really well....or go crazy with the color.

thehappyukulele
01-16-2012, 08:36 AM
Gordon & Char recently added this to their site at Mya-Moe. There's a lot of info there.

http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/acoustics.html

I've never bent maple myself. I've only used it for soundboards. I love the sound, nice and bright and quite loud too.

byjimini
01-16-2012, 08:41 AM
I think it takes skill to go with a maple top, at least from luthiers I've spoken to whilst researching my Compass Rose order.

bluesuke
01-16-2012, 09:28 AM
It also depends on what kind of maple. I like a soft top with maple.

byjimini
01-16-2012, 09:40 AM
Anyone can feel free to call me stupid/naive/whatever, but I went with a solid flamed maple top because I love the look of it. I didn't want (what I consider to be) a plain spruce top.

Luckily, Rick Turner seems to be one of a lucky few that can make an all-maple uke. :)

mrhandy
01-16-2012, 09:57 AM
thanks for the replies all,
I have access to some nice sitka spruce that I think will work well for a top, aged for quite some time, not split, dead perfect QS but within reason and seems to work well.

As far as thicknessing goes I know my way around a sharpening stone, and I also have a thickness sander that i normally use for the task... I am set for that.

Now I guess I need to find a good source.

tattwo
01-16-2012, 10:24 AM
Anyone can feel free to call me stupid/naive/whatever, but I went with a solid flamed maple top because I love the look of it. I didn't want (what I consider to be) a plain spruce top.

Luckily, Rick Turner seems to be one of a lucky few that can make an all-maple uke. :)

If you like the sound of all maple its no trouble to build with a maple top.

byjimini
01-16-2012, 10:27 AM
But to get a hard wood to project well enough would be a challenge, surely?

Sven
01-16-2012, 11:50 AM
Fnarr fnarr, a hard wood that doesn't project?

(insert joke here)

Sorry

tattwo
01-16-2012, 06:07 PM
Fnarr fnarr, a hard wood that doesn't project?

(insert joke here)

Sorry


:rofl: Nice Sven

Liam Ryan
01-16-2012, 10:06 PM
But to get a hard wood to project well enough would be a challenge, surely?

Getting the best out of any top is a challenge.

I'd start by looking for a piece of maple with similar density and stiffness to other successful top woods.

Allen
01-17-2012, 08:58 AM
How an instrument projects has to do with the way it's been built and very little to do with the wood species.

lauri girouard
01-17-2012, 10:48 AM
thanks for the replies all,
I have access to some nice sitka spruce that I think will work well for a top, aged for quite some time, not split, dead perfect QS but within reason and seems to work well.

As far as thicknessing goes I know my way around a sharpening stone, and I also have a thickness sander that i normally use for the task... I am set for that.

Now I guess I need to find a good source.



HI Andrew,

If your looking for a good source for some nice maple. I would suggest trying Bruce Harvie at Orcas Island Tonewood. He is great to deal with and has lots of highly figured stuff in stock. I would get extra wood because more than likely where you are new to it, you will break a bit. It is not easy to work with. I find big leaf tends to be easiest to bend. I just lost a side due to a bending crack for some incredible Euro maple today. I have other suppliers on the east coast if you want to email me for that.

Lauri

aaronckeim
01-17-2012, 06:05 PM
I have done three maple topped ukes, including this one here: http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/uketracker.php?trackingNumber=582&submit=Track

Like any other wood, you just need to understand it's stiffness and density and thickness and brace accordingly.

byjimini
01-18-2012, 07:42 AM
How an instrument projects has to do with the way it's been built and very little to do with the wood species.


Like any other wood, you just need to understand it's stiffness and density and thickness and brace accordingly.


That's what I was trying to get across. I went with Rick because I love the style of the Compass Rose, but also because he's one of the best. I can rest assured that he knows the wood and how to use it best.

Mitch Johnson
01-19-2012, 11:41 AM
I think maple tends to have a bright tone with fast decay. If it were me building, I would probably couple it with an Engelmann, WRC, or Redwood top in hopes to warm it up a bit. My 2 pennies.

lauri girouard
01-20-2012, 02:39 AM
32575
I think maple tends to have a bright tone with fast decay. If it were me building, I would probably couple it with an Engelmann, WRC, or Redwood top in hopes to warm it up a bit. My 2 pennies.

I tend to agree with you Mitch though I have a lot to learn about ukukele tonewood and sound and I am speaking from a mandolin background. I have build # 2 going right now with some highly figured maple sides and back with a stika spruce top. I shyed away from doing it all maple because I thought it would get too bright. Maybe for #3 I'll try it. I have some incredible quilted maple that needs to become an instrument. I have what looks like just enough to do an all maple.

One thing that I am now learning is the difference in mandolin sides vs ukulele side bending. The width of the sides really does change the game a bit especially with highly figured maple. I am not sure if my problem is my side bender. I was using a heating blanket that is just about the size of the side I am bending, width wise. Do those who use a heat blanket, have a blanket sized with a bit of overlap over the sides or is it sized like mine? This is an old blanket I am using and probably needs replacing though it is getting up to heat in all spots. I am having to use my hot pipe now. I guess I wont complain about that however... a warm moist work area feels pretty nice at this point (late January in New Hampshire) Makes me think of how lucky those are in Hawaii right now. Aloha

dustartist
01-20-2012, 08:52 PM
Bright isn't necessarily bad for a ukulele. Hardwood tops sound different than softwood tops. Softwood topped ukes sound more like guitars. That is not necessarily a bad thing if that is the sound you are after, but the traditional Hawaiian sound usually comes from a koa or mahogany top anyway. Maple is a different beast than mahogany or koa, which have similar traits in many ways, but I would think you could get a nice sounding uke out of it. Never used it for a top myself, except on an electric guitar....

lauri girouard
01-21-2012, 03:12 AM
I have done three maple topped ukes, including this one here: http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/uketracker.php?trackingNumber=582&submit=Track

Like any other wood, you just need to understand it's stiffness and density and thickness and brace accordingly.


That quilted maple uke is sweet! Really really nice.





Dustartist, Thanks for chiming in on this. I will be interested in hearing the difference of mine once I have two to compare side by side.

With so much great uke music out there, I have been looking for some recordings of famous ukes with no singing. Any suggestions on that? Some traditionally built then maybe some of assorted tonewoods. Any suggestions?

WhenDogsSing
01-21-2012, 03:23 AM
I'm not a luthier but I love maple ukuleles, they are my favorite for the brightness and projection they impart. I own Tom Guy's (Bluegrass Ukuleles) "Flying Owl" tenor and it is one of the nicest ukuleles I own. Here is a link to Tom's website showing the "Flying Owl":

http://www.bluegrassukes.com/products/Curly-Maple-Tenor-Ukulele-%22Flying-Owl%22.html