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Pete Howlett
07-09-2014, 08:09 PM
As mahogany creeps towards the CITES status now afforded Brazilian rosewood you might want to consider Makore as a worthy substitute. I just bought this stuff on eBay for a fair price:

http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj589/HowlettUkulele/Makore_zpsc536646d.jpg (http://s1269.photobucket.com/user/HowlettUkulele/media/Makore_zpsc536646d.jpg.html)
I am currently making a VitaUke out of fiddleback makore I bought nearly 10 years ago when eBay was a buyers market. Unlike the UK,, the US is awash with pretty board similar to this one with good buys here (https://www.cookwoods.com/shop/category/makore/) and ukulele billets found here (https://www.gilmerwood.com/search_results.php?keywords=makore). I've searched some more and there seems to be much about in the US. Another place is here (http://www.edensaw.com/mainsite/store1/storeproducts/ProductDetail/3572) - reasonably priced at under $7 a bdft. I'm sure the other respected wood vendors have the stuff - boy I really wish I lived back in Babylon some times (Wales, as you know is God's country :) )

So my advice, invest in wood futures if you intend building in the future before it all becomes unobtainable. Keep your receipts and where possible, get a provenance certificate for everything you buy, photograph it and accurately log it's history. You are gonna need to :(

Roselynne
07-09-2014, 09:19 PM
Wow, is that ever beautiful! Some of the best beauty features of a few different woods. How does it sound?

Pete Howlett
07-09-2014, 09:36 PM
Sounds good to my ears but I am using it with spruce tops...

Roselynne
07-09-2014, 10:00 PM
Makes perfect sense.

ericchico
07-10-2014, 04:50 AM
Pete what are your thoughts on Sapele?

Pete Howlett
07-10-2014, 09:58 AM
Best used for doors and starting barbecues unless it is pomele...

Kevin Waldron
07-10-2014, 10:47 AM
Pete,

Nice material but I think you will find that 60+% of the people who work the material are allergic to it..... It is somewhat softer than mahogany. Out of 5 people who are in our shop regularly working...... with 4 of the people there is a reaction so they can't even be in a 50' area near it.........

Blessings,

Kevin

6873168732

Allen
07-10-2014, 11:03 AM
I use both Sapele and Makor. Have lot's in stock and love it.

ericchico
07-10-2014, 11:32 AM
Best used for doors and starting barbecues unless it is pomele...

Thats interesting, thanks. Funny how many different opinions people will have when sapele is brought up. Some think it makes cardboard guitars others say you cant tell the difference when the instrument is played. I am using it for backs, sides and necks because I did not want to put out alot of money for my first few Ukes.

katysax
07-10-2014, 01:22 PM
Funny this came up. I was just thinking about this yesterday. It seems that one never finds Sapele on custom ukes (although I have seen it used on some Taylor guitars). I have a Sapele Koalana that actually sounds great, but there are issues with the construction of it. I was wondering what the luthiers hereabouts think about Sapele and what other woods might be good Mahogany substitutes - and then Pete posted his post.

Chih-Wei Liu
07-10-2014, 06:00 PM
The big leaf mahogany constantly grown in Taiwan is harder/denser than all the honduran I've had. Lighter in color tho. Recently I used the local grown mahogany to build a tenor neck and it turned out fine.
687446874568746

greenscoe
07-10-2014, 11:54 PM
I'm interested to know why some have a negative attitude to Sapele since this is a wood I have used and am presently using. Is it on the grounds of (lack of) tonality, workability, long term stability or just its appearance?

Timbuck
07-11-2014, 01:06 AM
I've made loads of necks out of it..It's a bit heavier than most mahogany types.

saltytri
07-11-2014, 05:04 AM
Of course, one could slander koa with the same words that have been said here about sapele. How many times has Chuck said that a lot of koa is unsuitable for ukuleles? As always, it is up to the builder to select the right piece of wood for each part of the instrument.

BlackBearUkes
07-11-2014, 04:13 PM
Not to put down other woods, but to me there is no substitute for good Honduran mahogany. After doing so many repairs on guitar necks of various types of mahogany necks, nothing works as well or looks as good as Honduran.

Timbuck
07-18-2014, 01:09 AM
As i'd never heard of Makore..I had a look on E-bay following Petes tip off..and spotted a nice looking billet of the stuff and I bought it..It arrived yesterday and today I started resawing it up into slices.....After 15 minutes of sawing I ended up in the back garden sneezing my head off:( certainly clears your head ;)

ericchico
07-18-2014, 07:12 AM
http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/makore/

Not lighter in weight but it is purdy.

Rob-C
07-18-2014, 09:44 AM
Not all sapele is ugly and if you're combining it with spruce tops I'd defy anyone to reliably identify it from any of the other substitutes in a blind tasting.

69123 69124

RPA_Ukuleles
07-18-2014, 09:54 AM
http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/makore/


Also from the wood database:

"Makore also has a pronounced blunting effect on cutters due to its high silica content."


Bummer


.

Timbuck
07-18-2014, 10:05 AM
Also from the wood database:

"Makore also has a pronounced blunting effect on cutters due to its high silica content."


Bummer


.

You're not kidding !....I managed to get 14 8" high soprano slices for backs and tops and another 14 slices for sides..and My brand new 30 Bi-metal resaw blade started struggling :mad:

ericchico
07-18-2014, 10:06 AM
Not all sapele is ugly and if you're combining it with spruce tops I'd defy anyone to reliably identify it from any of the other substitutes in a blind tasting.

69123 69124

That Pommele is just wicked!

Pete Howlett
07-18-2014, 10:29 AM
I cut a similar number of sets with a crappy .025" carbon steel blade before it strained... like all natural material, it is variable as is mahogany, sapele, koa. My exception for sapele was
unless it is pomele I'm not a complete Philistine! I was using pomele 8 years ago before it caught on as another luthier wood and got listed for mega bucks in LMII's inventory.

Timbuck
07-30-2014, 03:31 AM
I've just started putting together a Soprano made of this Makore (pronounced "Mack-Core-Ray")..Up to now it's great stuff, Bends with no problems and less spring back than mahogany, Sands and machines very well with no raggy edges..The only draw back is the dust :( it makes me sneeze and causes my nose to run like a tap (or faucet as some say) ;)...I'll see/hear what it sounds like when it's done and report back.

ukuleleCraig
08-01-2014, 03:11 PM
I've just started putting together a Soprano made of this Makore .

Hi Ken

Did you get the Makore from a UK or an overseas supplier?

itsme
08-01-2014, 03:38 PM
As mahogany creeps towards the CITES status now afforded Brazilian rosewood...
I can't see that really happening anytime soon.

There are many varieties of mahogany, just as there are many varieties of rosewood. Brazilian rosewood may be restricted, but there are plenty of other options. If any specific varieties of mahogany should become restricted, again, there will be many other options.

Is there a particular species of mahogany that you're concerned about?

Nickie
08-01-2014, 05:28 PM
I've just started putting together a Soprano made of this Makore (pronounced "Mack-Core-Ray")..Up to now it's great stuff, Bends with no problems and less spring back than mahogany, Sands and machines very well with no raggy edges..The only draw back is the dust :( it makes me sneeze and causes my nose to run like a tap (or faucet as some say) ;)...I'll see/hear what it sounds like when it's done and report back.

Do you wear a respirator and goggles? That might help....

Timbuck
08-02-2014, 08:51 AM
Hi Ken

Did you get the Makore from a UK or an overseas supplier?
Hi Craig...I got it from this Guy http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/iana1174/m.html?item=281378121302&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

Kevin Waldron
08-02-2014, 03:36 PM
Tim,

Your allergic reaction will only get worse with more exposure..... trust me.....

Blessings,

Kevin

Timbuck
08-03-2014, 02:49 AM
Tim,

Your allergic reaction will only get worse with more exposure..... trust me.....

Blessings,

Kevin

I will take your advice Kevin and i'll keep away from it...
I now have six Makore soprano sets for sale..... ready sanded to thickness and BWBWB rosettes ready fitted if anybody wants them ;)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/IMG_1743_zpsed37ea52.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/IMG_1743_zpsed37ea52.jpg.html)

Pete Howlett
08-03-2014, 11:45 PM
Pity Ken - It's great to finish and work.

Timbuck
08-04-2014, 01:29 AM
Pity Ken - It's great to finish and work.

I've got one built up Pete..It looks great lets see what it sounds like at the end ? :) I can't see the point in suffering while enjoying a hobby.

resoman
08-04-2014, 04:37 AM
Ken, I started having some issues with Spanish cedar. Itching arms, itching eyes and stuff. I really like using the SC so I've been taping the sleeves (mostly I wear long sleeve shirts anyways) down and wearing my respirator I use for lacquer. The respirator I'm using has an nice large clear lens so it's not too bad. It's mostly my eyes and when the dust gets between my sleeves and my skin I get a light, itching rash. I haven't had anymore problems since I started doing this.

Timbuck
08-18-2014, 01:08 AM
First Makore soprano strung up today.. sounds great.. just like mahogany same volume but with a little more sustain.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/IMG_1939_zps12022cb6.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/IMG_1939_zps12022cb6.jpg.html)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/IMG_1932_zpsd3e03b9b.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/IMG_1932_zpsd3e03b9b.jpg.html)

Pete Howlett
08-18-2014, 06:11 AM
So much easier to finish I bet.....

saltytri
08-18-2014, 06:44 AM
Very, very pretty, Ken. Love the peghead!

Timbuck
08-27-2014, 11:00 PM
Well it sold on E-bay for a bit less than the Mahogany ones go for but the buyer was very pleased with it..This is the feedback comment. "Superb ukulele. They don't come any better. Superb artisan. Superb ebayer."
And there are another 5 sets to put together, when I get round to it ;)

Pete Howlett
08-28-2014, 06:49 AM
Which is halfof what its worth.

Timbuck
08-29-2014, 04:00 AM
Which is halfof what its worth.

Well! how do you determin the worth of something?...It was on E-bay for a full week with 570 page views, 43 potential buyers with it on their watch lists..6 serious bidders, and one won it...I suppose I could have put it up for sale with a Buy it now price of 500 and let it sit there for weeks on end until one day some one decides to buy it..If I was in business that would kill the cash flow dead... When I was self employed many moons ago, my bank manager always used to say "the 3 most important things in business are Cash flow, cash flow and cash flow,".

Flyfish57
08-29-2014, 09:41 AM
Well! how do you determin the worth of something?...It was on E-bay for a full week with 570 page views, 43 potential buyers with it on their watch lists..6 serious bidders, and one won it...I suppose I could have put it up for sale with a Buy it now price of 500 and let it sit there for weeks on end until one day some one decides to buy it..If I was in business that would kill the cash flow dead... When I was self employed many moons ago, my bank manager always used to say "the 3 most important things in business are Cash flow, cash flow and cash flow,".

What is this "cash flow" you speak of? Here cash flows one way...Out!

ukantor
08-29-2014, 11:21 AM
A simplistic but useful way of determining what is a fair price, would be to work out how many hours it took you to make it, and multiply that by an acceptable rate, per hour. Even without the time and cost of making the jigs, molds and special tools, or the cost of setting up and maintaining a workshop, a uke built by a single skilled artisan starts to look like a costly item.

I guess you can justify selling your product at an unrealistically low price, on the basis that you are doing something that gives you pleasure and satisfies your need to be creative, and to be appreciated. The money it brings in is a bonus.

John Colter.

Timbuck
08-29-2014, 11:33 AM
A simplistic but useful way of determining what is a fair price, would be to work out how many hours it took you to make it, and multiply that by an acceptable rate, per hour. Even without the time and cost of making the jigs, molds and special tools, or the cost of setting up and maintaining a workshop, a uke built by a single skilled artisan starts to look like a costly item.

I guess you can justify selling your product at an unrealistically low price, on the basis that you are doing something that gives you pleasure and satisfies your need to be creative, and to be appreciated. The money it brings in is a bonus.

John Colter.

True John...But i'll bet that a well known company like Lanikai and the others, sell their products at a lot less price than I get per item, to dealers suppliers and music shops around the globe.

ukantor
08-29-2014, 12:33 PM
Dead right, Ken, but they are making huge quantities of identical items, by highly mechanized means, and paying relatively low wages to their workers. My comments were intended to apply only to ukes produced by single skilled artisans - or in your case, married skilled artisans, with a skilled better half.

John C.

ukuleleCraig
09-03-2014, 11:11 AM
Which is half of what its worth.

I've got to admit Ken, I agree totally with Pete. I know for a fact that your name as a builder of excellent Soprano's is well known in the UK. I think you sell yourself short.

To quote you - ..If I was in business that would kill the cash flow dead... When I was self employed many moons ago, my bank manager always used to say "the 3 most important things in business are Cash flow, cash flow and cash flow,".

But the thing is....you aren't in business, you build for the fun in your retirement. Therefore, you don't have to sell for speed of sale. Having said this, I still would sell for speed anyway even if I was full a full time builder. Too much work goes into the process. A handmade Uke is not a mass production, so the price should follow.
My advice - stick them on eBay, but put a price tag on it that reflects the time and your now years of experience. Also your name is now established to a certain degree.

Best wishes
Craig

lauburu
09-04-2014, 10:27 AM
A handmade Uke is not a mass production, so the price should follow.

Any item is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it. At the moment your instruments seem to sell readily. My advice? Put your price up gradually over the next few instruments. When sales slow to the point where you can keep up with demand, you've reached the right price.
Miguel

ukantor
09-04-2014, 10:44 AM
"Any item is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it."

Miguel is dead right. You could have a mint condition Martin 5K, but if nobody wants to buy it, it's worth diddly-squat.

John Colter.

Timbuck
09-07-2014, 01:08 AM
:cheers:

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/IMG_0806_zpsb20a802e.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/IMG_0806_zpsb20a802e.jpg.html)

DazW
09-07-2014, 02:32 AM
:cheers:

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/IMG_0806_zpsb20a802e.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/IMG_0806_zpsb20a802e.jpg.html)

I've been checking your ebay listings and here on UU for the last week, just hoping one of your sopranos would come up for sale. Looks like I may have to wait a while longer!

Jim Hanks
09-07-2014, 04:34 AM
Every time I see something like that it's like watching the end of Old Yeller all over again. You know it has to be done, but still so sad. :(

jcalkin
09-07-2014, 09:34 AM
Since this thread seems to have run its race, I don't mind switching back to sapele. I may have been among the first to refer to it as cardboard. That was about pomele, as I've never used straight grain sapele, which I assume would be pretty much like very plain straight grain mahogany. But never mind. . .Pomele sapele is gorgeous stuff but has so much end grain in the figure that it feels floppy like cardboard and has no tap tone to speak of. However, it makes wonderful guitars. Over the years, however, the patches of end grain quilt tend to turn into low bumps in the finish, sort of like the texture of a box turtle's shell. From the stage it still looks fabulous, but held in the hands its not so pleasing. John McCutcheon has a pomele sapele Huss & Dalton MJC just like that. It may not happen with every kind of finish, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

American sycamore is another wood that feels like cardboard and has no tap tone, but it, too, makes great guitars (and ukes). It is very pretty when quarter-sawn, but still floppy. There is no such thing as tonewood, just wood. When we find a wood that doesn't make a good instrument we'll have to start a new list.

Pete Howlett
09-07-2014, 02:03 PM
Agree. Same with all that outrageous koa everyone asks for - looks like a ploughed field in no time :( Strange how the fretted instrument world obsesses over glass-like finishes when a 'tool finish' is perfectly acceptable in the (perceived) more noble stringed instrument field. The cabinet maker James Krenov argued a similar case in the furniture world by championing finish from the tool - no sanding in his workshop :)