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View Full Version : Padauk for a Uke



lauri girouard
01-26-2012, 12:02 PM
We were going through our tonewood inventory and ran across enough padauk for a soprano uke. How is that sound wise for a tonewood on a uke and how hard is it to bend? We had purchased this for use on one of our mandolins that was suppose to be a mando tribute to Jerry Garcias Tiger guitar. It was used in the neck and headstock as stringers.

This is the wood... we had known it by vermillion I believe that it and Padauk are one in the same

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Below are a few close ups of the stringers on the Garcia #1 mando.

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Bradford
01-26-2012, 12:17 PM
I think it would be great for sides and back with a spruce or cedar top. It would probably be a little much to build the whole uke out of it, much like making an entire ukulele out of rosewood. It bends OK.

Brad

ukebuilder
01-26-2012, 12:57 PM
I think it would be great for sides and back with a spruce or cedar top. It would probably be a little much to build the whole uke out of it, much like making an entire ukulele out of rosewood. It bends OK.

Brad
I would agree with Bradford, I have used it for many types of stum stick types and it sounds great. I would use a different top like Brad said. You will find that it has a grain that runs though it and you will either have to pore fill it or you will see the grain for sure. I love it but it is rough on the body and when sanding it. It hates me and I have a hard time after sanding. Post pics when done. I have thought it is under rated for a tone wood and would use it more if it didn't kill me to work with it.

lauri girouard
01-26-2012, 01:11 PM
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I have thought it is under rated for a tone wood and would use it more if it didn't kill me to work with it.


It does kill....just look at the aftermath of what happened in our shop when we resawed it..looks like a murder scene.

Shazzbot
01-26-2012, 01:34 PM
The dust would pass for paprika.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-26-2012, 01:44 PM
The dust would pass for paprika.

Especially when it gets near spruce. It can be a mess.

lauri girouard
01-26-2012, 02:32 PM
It does look like paprika.

Thanks for the top advice. I thought it would sound richer and not so bright with a softer top too. How would you describe the difference in koa to padauk?

I have a nice uke sized piece of redwood that needs to become an instrument. That would at least hide the dust a bit.....I think carpathian or engelmann would be off this list for sure on this build.

UkeforJC
01-26-2012, 03:19 PM
Hi! Lauri,
That is a one nice looking mandolin.
How is your uke#1 coming?

JC

Pete Howlett
01-26-2012, 07:42 PM
I have the true vermillion or Andaman Padauk which is so unlike African that it needs to be in a diferent category. Although the dust is brick red, if you use is with spruce and seal the soundboard as soon as possible and before sanding, purflin and binding you have, as you would with any rosewood, no contamination problems. If the dust from sawing is orange then it is probably not Andaman but African. Andaman bends easily and leaves 'oil' on the iron like barazilian/indian rosewood. It is quite course so needs careful grain filling. The tenor uke I made in it is a killer and has held its colour well.

lauri girouard
01-27-2012, 02:36 AM
Hi! Lauri,
That is a one nice looking mandolin.
How is your uke#1 coming?

JC


Thanks JC. The uke #1 has been at a standstill over this week with all the mandolin builds we have going on. I hope to get the neck done sometime this weekend in my free time. I'll be sure to post pics.

Gmoney
01-27-2012, 04:01 AM
Ken Timms AKA "Timbuck" built one of his Martin-style soprano's out of it - thread here:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?42562-Experiment-with-African-Padauk&highlight=Paduak

Lovely stuff! Would have loved to own Ken's uke & love what you did with it on that mando!

Pete Howlett
01-27-2012, 04:05 AM
Yeah, that will happen with that nasty African stuff which will also go a mucky brown in a few weeks....

jcalkin
01-27-2012, 01:30 PM
Can't speak to padouk as a uke wood, but it makes a wonderful guitar. My playing-out mountain dulcimer was also all padouk (top and all) and I regret the day I sold it. I consider it in the same class as Indian rosewood. If exposed to light in the raw it turns brown, but I like that color. The problem is getting the same shade of brown all over. If lacquered soon after sanding it will stay red, but keeping it in its case is still recommended. It may also be susceptible to cross-grain checking that doesn't show up until you try to bend it. Inspect the wood very carefully. I enjoy the aroma of working with it, but it will turn the mucus in your nose a startling color. I like padouk a lot. It also comes in a salmon pink, which I liked. You may likely find that not many buyers enjoy a red or pink instrument. Perhaps uke buyers are more open-minded than guitar people.

BlackBearUkes
01-27-2012, 04:15 PM
Ukes players and buyers are very open minded when it comes to different woods and designs, at least that has been my experience.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-27-2012, 04:43 PM
Ukes players and buyers are very open minded when it comes to different woods and designs, at least that has been my experience.

Haha. Unless you live in Hawaii!

Rick Turner
01-27-2012, 06:01 PM
apropos of Chuck's remark:

When my former partner, Barry, first took one of our early walnut tenors into Gryphon Stringed Instruments, Frank Ford kind of huffed and said, "Real ukes are made of koa", whereupon Barry went over to one of the many Flukes and Fleas on the wall, turned it over, and asked, "Where can we get koa like this?" Now, of course, Gryphon sells more of our non-koa ukes than koa by a wide margin, and the last time I was there I was told that we always supply them with great looking timbers.

lauri girouard
01-28-2012, 03:05 AM
Keeping it Hawaiian and traditional is on my mind but so is using what I have available. Maple, spruce and birch all grow here in abundance. From talking to the locals here in New England, they would love to have our native woods over something that doesn't need to be shipped from 1000's of miles away. If you can get superior sound out of it, that is what matters to me. We had a few walnut mandos come out of our shop and I had a hard time letting go of them because of how they sounded.

I had a local guy over yesterday and he owns a tree service here in town. He was telling me about some locust trees that grow here in NH and may be bringing me over some from a tree he took down a while ago. Very hard wood and I have no idea what it will be like for tone wood. I am willing to give it a shot if it meets my criteria.

thehappyukulele
01-28-2012, 04:16 AM
I like Padauk but it is hard for me to work with. If I take my dust mask off for a minute I'll be congested for three days. I like it as a soundboard. I think it sounds very nice and it looks terrific. I used it for the top on this semi-hollow archtop.

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I also used it as the back on another semi-hollow. Carving this one out was tough and took a long time, but this one has great tone and surprising volume. The soundboard is Maple.

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I've never tried bending it.

Dave Iriguchi

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-28-2012, 07:12 AM
Frank Ford kind of huffed and said, "Real ukes are made of koa"

Mr. Ford is a very intelligent and insightful man.

Pete Howlett
01-28-2012, 09:54 AM
If I am correct Rick is building ukes for guitarists so the marketing strategy is different eh Rick?

Rick Turner
01-28-2012, 10:46 AM
Pete, yes, that was my intent with the Compass Rose tenors...to attract guitar players to the uke rather than try to out-Hawaiian our Hawaiian friends. For me it has worked out well.

However, when I started teaching the "Build a Uke in Four Days" course, I started with a soprano pineapple with a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. The instruments sound completely different from the "guitar" shaped CR tenors; they sound much more traditional.

Another way to look at "alternative" woods is that for Hawaiians, koa is one of the local timbers. For me here in Northern California, local means woods like black acacia (I have a ton of it now...literally), walnut, myrtle (Bay Laurel), maple, sycamore, redwood, etc. So building with these woods is in the tradition of using what's at hand...and that, to me, is in the spirit of the Hawaiian makers without copying them.

Pete Howlett
01-28-2012, 11:07 AM
I'm with you theree. Pity is we don't get really highly figured dark woods here in the UK - our walnut is a subtle grey color which if you are lucky will have some orange and black streaks in it but rarely the fiddleback you see in American walnut. OK our 'sycamore' is often highly figured but I have yet to wotk out how to make a good uke from it. I love the sound of cherry and alder but these are both plain and again, not 'dark' which is the prefered color... nothing to do with how they sound note, just how they look as is much of the discussion on this board... Sad to say it but despite them being renowned canons, you rarely read a review of Chuck's work that focuses on the sound - it's all about that sensational inlay work and style. And please, correct me if I am wrong Chuck - this isn't a poke at you :)

Rick Turner
01-28-2012, 11:59 AM
Pete, when I go to uke club or play out, I'm playing my #1 eye candy koa tenor, even though it's not the best sounding uke we've made. It's fine; it sounds wonderful; but it doesn't put out like our spruce topped rosewood back and side ukes do. I use it because it's a marketing tool; it gets attention; it helps get me customers.

Different priorities for different situations...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-28-2012, 12:39 PM
I'm with you theree. Pity is we don't get really highly figured dark woods here in the UK - our walnut is a subtle grey color which if you are lucky will have some orange and black streaks in it but rarely the fiddleback you see in American walnut. OK our 'sycamore' is often highly figured but I have yet to wotk out how to make a good uke from it. I love the sound of cherry and alder but these are both plain and again, not 'dark' which is the prefered color... nothing to do with how they sound note, just how they look as is much of the discussion on this board... Sad to say it but despite them being renowned canons, you rarely read a review of Chuck's work that focuses on the sound - it's all about that sensational inlay work and style. And please, correct me if I am wrong Chuck - this isn't a poke at you :)

Correction follows Pete. I'm not sure why I was mentioned in this conversation. For some reason you're not seeing the compliments to the sound and playability of my ukes. I don't have the time to dig through it all, but look back at some of the postings here from people who own my work. My website also has plenty of sound clips. Tonally they are compared with the best, and lately a couple of people have mentioned that my ukes are so easy to play that it feels like cheating. I've received many testaments to the tonal quality of my ukuleles, but to post such nonsense is BS. Every builder is going to tout their own instruments as being the best sounding ever built.
I've been through this issue before and it's a very sad assumption amongst some people that a good looking instrument falls short in the sound department. I'm here to tell you folks, one feature is not exclusive of the other. It may be that some reviews of my work focus more on the aesthetics because at this degree of professionalism, an accomplished sound is already a given. (we're not talking about ukes made in Vietnam.) I'm in business to prove that a uke can sound fantastic and look amazing as well. Almost every customer that contacts me has sound as their first priority. Many of them (not all) will also want a set of wood with unique grain as well. If I can choose attractive wood that I know I can work with, and produce the sound I aim for, and give my customers the tasteful embellishments they want, then I've done my job. I've had many customers here at the shop choose a outrageously curly set of wood and I have to discourage them away from it, explaining the sonic faults of such a selection. The most amazingly curly sets of koa I have will never become instruments. I never compromise looks for sound. The vast majority of the ukes I build are rather plain and simple. They just don't make the web site because it would make a pretty boring exhibition. You're only seeing the unique stuff on my web site.

Pete Howlett
01-28-2012, 01:43 PM
Having yanked your chain Chuck and got you to blow your trumpet which you very modestly and rarely do I stand humbly corrected.... Thanks for the insight :) And you are wrong on one count - it's not BS when you publish what people say since it is the customer who is always right... well, right when he says the good stuff. Quote in an email to me - "I have a Moore Bettah Uke that plays like an electric guitar" Now I think I know what that guy means when I pick up my aNueNue harp ukulele and my left hand is tired after 5 minutes playing. That comment Chuck is not BS but an appraisal which is something else :)

lauri girouard
01-28-2012, 02:23 PM
I like Padauk but it is hard for me to work with. If I take my dust mask off for a minute I'll be congested for three days. I like it as a soundboard. I think it sounds very nice and it looks terrific. I used it for the top on this semi-hollow archtop.

32914

I also used it as the back on another semi-hollow. Carving this one out was tough and took a long time, but this one has great tone and surprising volume. The soundboard is Maple.

32915


I've never tried bending it.

Dave Iriguchi



Very nice stuff your putting out there. I love the archtop. I bet that took a LONG time carving that back and side being one piece!!! Few blisters? Also, The tail piece is pretty snazzy


Lauri

thehappyukulele
01-28-2012, 06:54 PM
Very nice stuff your putting out there. I love the archtop. I bet that took a LONG time carving that back and side being one piece!!! Few blisters? Also, The tail piece is pretty snazzy


Lauri

Thanks Lauri. Yes carving that back took a long time, very hard wood. Sanding the inside was a real chore too but it turned out nice. The tail piece works well. My arm rests right on it when I play which is very comfortable because it's nice and smooth and the result is that my arm does not touch the soundboard at all.

Dave

lauri girouard
01-31-2012, 01:20 PM
I was able to get a little start on the padauk soprano. The sides were not too difficult to bend. I soaked the sides in water for about 10 minutes and then bent at a pretty high heat. I was just amazed with the how oily the wood is. It left a red residue on my stainless slats that had to be removed with alcohol. As for joining, it was amazingly easy. I keep tapping and listening to the wood and I'm getting pretty excited to hear it. Very nice ring to it and the redwood will compliment it nicely, I believe.


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