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View Full Version : Is it possible to supply the tonewood to a luthier for a build?



hammer40
08-12-2012, 04:04 AM
I was thinking of having a uke custom built and was wondering if many, or any luthiers for that matter, will work with customer supplied tonewood? I ask this because I noticed that each luthier might only have certain types of wood to choose from for a build. I know once I decided on a luthier I could ask that question, but was just wondering in advance about it.

Gmoney
08-12-2012, 04:21 AM
Been asked a few times before... here's a previous thread:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?46982-Want-a-custom-tenor-made-luthier-recommendation

Hope this helps! Mahalo

hammer40
08-12-2012, 05:11 AM
Been asked a few times before... here's a previous thread:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?46982-Want-a-custom-tenor-made-luthier-recommendation

Hope this helps! Mahalo

Thanks for the link. I tried to use search for this and other questions but when I try to access the post's that come from the search, it gives me a 404 error and no information.

Rick Turner
08-12-2012, 05:42 AM
If you supply real "luthier grade" wood, allow the luthier to determine that, and also allow for the possibility of a side cracking during bending, then I think a lot of us would say "yes". We just finished a highly figured mango tenor for a client who supplied the wood.

Rick Turner
08-12-2012, 05:49 AM
Oh, don't expect a huge discount on the wood. You as a one time buyer are not likely to get anywhere near the kind of price that those of us who buy hundreds or thousands of dollars worth a year can get from favored suppliers.

I often get billets of California woods directly from sawmill operators, for instance, and so for some of it, the cost is quite reasonable, though I do have to resaw and dry it myself. I'd never have come across the California sycamore we now use had it not been for a local logger/sawyer coming by my shop with some samples. I coached him on the value added of sawing on the quarter...it yields less wood, but what it yields is considerably more valuable because of both figure and stability. So, he gives me a pretty good price...but I earned it.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-12-2012, 07:26 AM
When I've been approached with this question the customer usually has some wildly figured koa that looks prettier than anything but totally unsuitable for building. I reject a lot of gorgeous wood in favor of wood that I know will be more stable and sound better. Mostly what I've seen is someone who has paid too much for a set of wood from ebay without knowing how to select good instrument wood. I'd also want the wood to be sitting in my shop for a few months before I build with it. That said, I've never once seen a suitable set of wood come into my shop from a customer.

Pete Howlett
08-12-2012, 07:33 AM
i'd want a prermium on my standard price - that generally puts people off. My stash is good enough to fill most requirements as i suspect is the case with the other full time makers who post here. Having said this I know that many boutique guitar builders in the US including Collings will do this... it's just to risky for me.

David Newton
08-12-2012, 09:20 AM
I would do it.
It is always easier to say "yes" up front, and pay the piper down the line.
I like to build stuff, and have built with some pretty questionable wood. No need to stop now.

hammer40
08-13-2012, 03:38 AM
Thanks for the great feedback everyone. It's nice to know that it's an option, for some, if the circumstance ever presents itself.

didgeridoo2
08-13-2012, 05:21 AM
I had a piece of sinker redwood that I sent to Gordon and Char at Mya Moe. They had only built a couple as of then. They checked it out before committing to use it on my uke. After they found it to be an exceptional top, they matched it up with some great koa and built me a beautiful resonator. Since that time, they've acquired more redwood and have built some more since.