View Full Version : Does neck need to be qtr sawn ?

02-02-2012, 07:58 AM
How important is it to have the neck of a soprano ukulele be perfectly quarter sawn. My local wood dealer has a killer deal on 16/4 African mahogany cut offs that are about 3 feet long and 6 ~ 8 inches wide for $5 per bf. I picked a few that were quarter sawn but most would have the grain running at a 45deg angle. In a soprano does it really make a big difference in the sound?

02-02-2012, 08:49 AM
My opinion is that it would be fine. If you want to strengthen it then resaw it, flip it over and glue it back together so that the grain is in a V shape. Then cut it in a manner where the point of the V is on the fretboard. That should, should being the key word, give you the most figure when you carve it. There are a lot of other things that are involved including how dry it is, how straight the grain is along its length etc but I think a soprano neck is so small and has so little tension on it that you have a larger room for error.

In my neck of the woods, $5.00 BF isn't really that much of a deal for African but it would be for Cuban or Philippine which are the choices I have here. Of course, who knows what species it actually is. I've found the African with a lot of ribbon in it to be pretty but it carves horribly.

Michael Smith
02-02-2012, 02:48 PM
That isn't that great a price for 3' African which can be just about anything. Go pick out the really good quarter sawn.

02-03-2012, 08:10 AM
It doesn't make a difference in the sound.....just how straight the neck will stay over time. You might be OK against warping with 45deg wood....or maybe not.
Plus the neck would look funny. Quarter grain showing on one side and flat sawn grain showing on the other.
I'd go with the V joint or just re-cut the wood so it is quarter sawn.

Rick Turner
02-03-2012, 05:11 PM
Not that important if the wood is dry and stable, and mahogany is one of the more stable woods.

For bolt-on electric guitar and bass necks, slab sawn maple is actually a tad stiffer than quarter-sawn, and in a neck, if there's no internal stresses in the wood from wild grain or improper drying, stiffer is better.

Chih-Wei Liu
02-04-2012, 05:46 AM
Violin family makers use perfect-flat-sawn neck blanks. The transverse stiffness of a neck, which is a long beam, is irrelevant to its longtudinal stiffness.

Rick Turner
02-04-2012, 01:08 PM
I think there's a misuse of the word "transverse" here. It's the longitudinal stiffness that really counts. That and the stability.

Maple is one of the woods that is marginally stiffer "flat sawn" as opposed to "vertical grain" or "quarter sawn" if we're talking about "flat" being with grain lines parallel to the fingerboard vs. at a 90 degree angle to the fingerboard plane. The difference in mahogany is negligible. I've done tests.