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View Full Version : Starting third build - need advice on top wood



Habanera Hal
10-07-2012, 11:08 AM
I love being able to turn to the masters on this forum!

I'm beginning my third tenor uke build. Some of the last thin wood I was able to get from my local supplier before he went under was this piece of flame maple:
43856

It's wide enough to be able to make a one-piece top and back. My question is: It is just 1/16" (1.7mm) thick and is quite flexible as it sits. Is that too thin to use for both the top and back? What sort of bracing pattern (both top and bottom) would be best to stiffen it?

BlackBearUkes
10-07-2012, 02:45 PM
This kind of wood is veneer and meant to be glued to a draw front or other furniture project. I personally would not use it for any part of a uke, especially the top. If you want to try it however, go ahead, that is how you learn.

Habanera Hal
10-07-2012, 04:30 PM
Thanks, BlackBear, I appreciate the input. I didn't think of this as veneer when I got it - all the veneers I've worked with before were 1/32" but I suppose you're right. The .0675" (1/16") thickness is what bothered me, but having searched on here it seemed that top woods .050" and up were acceptable. I am very new to true lutherie and just trying to learn as much as I can. I'd hate to put a lot of work into something that isn't going to work, even though I have no intention of selling it (these are to be X-mas gifts for friends and famaily).

Gyozu
10-08-2012, 04:45 AM
If you have not already seen this, check out this thread on laminated ukulele building. http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?39074-Building-a-Laminated-Uke&highlight=glue+laminated+sides

David Newton
10-08-2012, 05:00 AM
If it is a full 1/16" and you don't plan to do a lot of level sanding, you could use it for back & sides, but not the top. Make 3 cross braces.

I built quite a few TumaVita Ukes in the '90's using Mahogany 1/16" veneer, and they have stood the test of time, but they weren't highly finished, and only lightly sanded.

Habanera Hal
10-08-2012, 07:24 AM
If you have not already seen this, check out this thread on laminated ukulele building. http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?39074-Building-a-Laminated-Uke&highlight=glue+laminated+sides

Thank you Gyozu! I hadn't seen that video from Bradford, looks like that's a reasonable way to use this piece. It's going to need a lot of level sanding which will thin it down even more, so the added veneer thickness will help.

thistle3585
10-08-2012, 09:33 AM
If it were me, I'd get a .125 back that matches what you have, use your material for the sides and use red spruce for the top. You don't level sand the wood. You level sand the finish. Maple wont require any pore filling. I'd also get some neck material to match the back.