View Full Version : Iroko soprano.

08-08-2013, 12:06 AM
A friend removed an old shelf from his home, and another friend had it sawn into 1/16" slices. Some slices came my way, and this is what I've made.

At first the timber was thought to be mahogany, then walnut, then afromosia, but now it is generally accepted as Iroko. It is very hard and brittle and takes the edge off tools. It also likes to split and chip and is quite open grained. There were times during the build when I felt like stamping on the thing, but I soldiered on, and I'm glad I did. The wood is naturally dark with interesting, but subtle, markings. The fretboard and bridge are rosewood; the nut and saddle boxwood; the lining of the sound hole is bamboo (a barbeque skewer). At present it wears cheapo white tuning pegs, but I've promised it some better, black ones.56884

The overall appearance is pleasing, especially from a few feet away, but the finish could be better. The sound is most pleasant. Before the strings went on, it sounded like a drum when tapped, and I expected it to be loud and bright, like Koa. Instead, it has a rather sonorous tone, with plenty of volume and sustain. I'm very pleased with it.

Click on pic for larger image.

08-08-2013, 12:59 AM
That uke will be around for a long time after were gone John;)...Thats the way it is with good playing/sounding instruments....I just had to strum it a couple of times to know it was a good un!....Long live Iroko!:old:

08-08-2013, 01:40 AM
I read somewhere that African people have a tradition that a spirit lives in the Iroko tree and if you cut down the tree, using the timber to build your house, you must honour and respect the spirit, as you will be sharing your house with it. The spirit can be mischievous, or even quite threatening, and it certainly was when I was trying to make the uke. Anyway, I've made peace with the spirit, and it seems happy to inhabit this new uke.:D It's got to be better than living on a shelf.

Thanks for the kind comment, Ken. I can imagine someone looking at my ukes in fifty or a hundred year's time and wondering about the old twerp that made them. That's a kind of immortality (or life extension) I guess.

08-08-2013, 03:32 AM
Nice looking uke. I dunno about the spirit thing, but it better be happy to end up as a nice uke.