View Full Version : Carved back and sides ?

01-04-2014, 10:50 PM
Hello, all luthiers. I think this is the right place to ask, so here are my questions.

My friend decided to make me a tenor ukulele, this will be his first time building uke, he usually build electric bass and some electric guitars.

He doesn't have the tools to bend the side, so he said to me he will carves the back and sides from one solid log either mahogany or walnut. Is that a good idea ?
How's the sound gonna be different that the usual one ?
How thick it should be ?
After trying to search i found that if the body is too thick the ukes will somewhat sound muted ?

Any answers, opinions, feedback will be much appreciated!
Thanks a lot guys, sorry if I bother you all. Good day :D

01-04-2014, 11:39 PM
Carved out is how the Tahitian ukes are made as were lots of early European instruments



There are better ways to make a uke but if you don't start you don't get where you are going


01-05-2014, 12:46 AM
Mele make and sell some single piece, carved back and side ukulele's. They are EXPENSIVE. Lots of labor involved.


01-05-2014, 01:08 AM
Titchtheclown : thanks for the references! Appreciate it a lot! Might try one out my own sometime :D

anthonyg : I'll take a look at those Mele ukes. Well he doesn't want to take my money, he's the one that said he'll carved it and give it to me as my birthday present :D great friend!

01-05-2014, 03:15 AM
I've made quite a few guitars by hollowing out electric guitar bodies, then gluing on an X braced top. Most had Fishman pickups under the saddle. I called them stage acoustics. They were plenty loud enough to make practice enjoyable, and when plugged in they sounded like a normal guitar, only more fun to hold. Sort of like the old Kramer Ferrington, though it had bent sides. I hollowed them with a large Forstner bit in the drill press, then cleaned them up with a router mounted on a base about 2 feet long. Necks were bolted on ala Fender. Making a uke by the same method should be much easier and faster, and I wouldn't be surprised if it sounded quite ukeish since the trebles on my guitars sounded very nice.

01-06-2014, 07:58 AM
Seems like a big waste of wood to me. Just think how many tops/backs you could resaw from a 3" thick billet. Plus it doesn't look right to see end grain at some points around the side.
My bending iron is a pipe mounted on a board and a heat gun. About $20 total at any home depot. And bending is really much easier than it sounds before you try...especially if you want to use walnut.
In summary...I'd recommend bending the sides

01-06-2014, 04:12 PM
jcalkin & ksquine : thanks a lot for the input. I'll let my friend know about this bending tool.