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weerpool
02-04-2012, 04:59 PM
Hello,

im sure some UU member had asked this same questions in the past forums but...did anyone experienced any problems with the US customs/airport securities with regards to carrying Koa wood or any exotic woods to mainland US? i had such an aweful time with them just 6 months prior my southeast Asia vacation.
i learned my lesson the hard way. thanks

ricdoug
02-04-2012, 05:38 PM
http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/25/business/wood-protection-law-creates-splintering-in-guitar-industry/?ref=mostReadBoxBusiness

garyg
02-05-2012, 03:35 AM
I didn't have any trouble taking an Ohana sk-65 to NZ early last year and bringing it back through customs and it was clearly visible at all times. Others have apparently had problems though. If I was taking an instrument out and bringing it back again I would make sure that I had a bill of sale or whatever the relevant customs document was. cheers, g2

Plainsong
02-06-2012, 12:38 PM
If you're not using Brazilian rosewood, or anything protected under CITES, you're golden. But it's true that with underedumacated customs people, having documentation proving what you have may not be a bad idea. It's just the cost of logistics, having the right forms. Whoever built the uke should be able to supply you with a statement of what you have.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
02-06-2012, 01:43 PM
If you're not using Brazilian rosewood, or anything protected under CITES, you're golden. But it's true that with underedumacated customs people, having documentation proving what you have may not be a bad idea. It's just the cost of logistics, having the right forms. Whoever built the uke should be able to supply you with a statement of what you have.

Everything is scrutinized these days, not just endangered or protected species. It would be nice if a builder could provide you with the necessary documentation to sail through customs. Some of the big manufacturers can, most smaller build can't. It's not as easy to document every plant and animal species as you'd think, especially since many of us are using materials we've had for 20 or more years.

Plainsong
02-06-2012, 02:31 PM
Have more uke-related species come under protection? Or do you mean the problem of proving to the customs person that the koa is koa, the bone isn't ivory, the rosewood isn't Brazilian (unless it is), and so on?

Whenever I look at the CITES exceptions, nothing leaps out at me as being on any uke I have, although obviously there's no ordering one things that can't be shipped.

Drew Bear
02-06-2012, 02:33 PM
Are we talking about people bringing 1 or 2 ukes through US customs? Or were the problems involving significantly larger quantities and/or wood components (fingerboards, necks, etc)?

southcoastukes
02-06-2012, 07:08 PM
Have more uke-related species come under protection? Or do you mean the problem of proving to the customs person that the koa is koa, the bone isn't ivory, the rosewood isn't Brazilian (unless it is), and so on?

Whenever I look at the CITES exceptions, nothing leaps out at me as being on any uke I have, although obviously there's no ordering one things that can't be shipped.

Take another look at that list. Of course it's a long one, and all with Latin names, but there are several rosewoods, several ebonies, spanish cedar and mahogany (yes, mahogany!). All pretty common. In addition, shell is so hard to pinpoint, that any shell at all could be problematic.

In our case, we technically import all our instruments into the US, though the finish work is done up here. The effect has been to shut us down for several months now, while we accumulate new stocks of wood unlisted in CITES.

If there's a silver lining, it's that our new instruments will come with a list of materials. That list will be your instrument's "passport". I think Rick Turner is doing that with Compass Rose, where many of the woods were North American natives, and also unrestricted.

southcoastukes
02-06-2012, 07:12 PM
Are we talking about people bringing 1 or 2 ukes through US customs? Or were the problems involving significantly larger quantities and/or wood components (fingerboards, necks, etc)?

Both. Roll the dice and the odds are still very, very much in your favor. In our case, we can't risk the consequences - up to 1/2 million in fines and jail time. For individuals traveling through customs, nothing like that, but could be some much smaller fine and potential loss or damage to your instrument. Customs isn't liable for mistakes, either.

Plainsong
02-06-2012, 09:55 PM
That's my nightmare, the mistakes. I know what I have passes, but what if I get the airport dingbat? I want to do the right thing, but there's the risk of getting it wrong no matter what.

foxfair
02-07-2012, 12:37 AM
I would say.... Depend on when, where, and how you travel.
I brought my Kamaka concert back to Asia last Dec, bought it from Gryphon Strings when I visited there. I did keep the receipt from Gryphon Strings, but no custom officiers asked or even looked at my instrument. Lucky? I don't know, maybe. Keep the doc to prove you own this instrument through traceable retail channel is safer. If it is a vintage or several-year-ago instrument and you don't have the original receipt, well... print some review document from internet and see if they accept.

I do not think US custom will check string instruments and verify in every details, they have much more critical missions to worry about..(drugs?), unless you bring an expensive, bling uke and you panic when they ask you something about it.

Just my 2c.