What's happening in your shed?

tonyturley

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Aug 29, 2018
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Fun with science. My latest ukulele projects have fretboards and bridges I cut from locally harvested Osage Orange. A tough, hard wood, it can take years for UV exposure and oxidation to change the wood from its bright puke yellow to a darker chocolate brown. In my hopes of finding a way to pre-age the wood, I stumbled across the work of another woodcrafter who claimed it was possible to darken Osage Orange in a manner of days using ammonia. Though unsure of the veracity of his claims, I figured it was worth a few $$$ at a nearby store to give it a try.

I put a lid from a jar in the bottom of a plastic storage container, and put a few ml of ammonia in it. Then I attached my wood pieces to the lid with carpet tape, and sealed the container with the instrument pieces suspended over the ammonia. A few pieces of scrap wood were placed around the bottom of the container to keep the pieces from falling into the ammonia in case the tape came loose.

After just a few days, I was already beginning to see a difference. Much more so than the many days I had the pieces laying in direct sunlight last Summer. The image shows the pieces after several weeks of being sealed in the fuming box. An unexposed control piece is shown for comparison. Mission accomplished. For those inclined, here's a scientific discussion of the concept: bioresources.cnr.ncsu.edu/resources/wood-color-changes-by-ammonia-fuming/

after ammonia.jpg
 

sequoia

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Interesting. I would describe the color of bois d'arc (what we call Osage orange and pronounced "bow dark") as more urine colored than puke colored, but any darkening would be a good thing in my mind. This is exactly what we are trying NOT to do with our exotics like cocobolo and other pretty colored woods that fade over time, but for this wood darkening is good. I would describe it as "dark butterscotch" colored and quite attractive. As a fretboard, there is no way you are going to wear that stuff out.
 

mikeyb2

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Just finished my 2 12 string 12 fret guitars, but wanted to show Vespa Bob that I finally got round to using the Zipflex for the rosettes. Thanks again Bob.
12stringcol.jpg
 

sequoia

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Just finished my 2 12 string 12 fret guitars, but wanted to show Vespa Bob that I finally got round to using the Zipflex for the rosettes. Thanks again Bob.

Reminds me of why I hated 12 string guitars. So many strings to restring! I love that ukuleles only have four. I can handle that. Love the way 12 strings sound though. Nice looking instruments too. Not too tarted up.
 

Titchtheclown

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This is a wee tenor sized koalalohalele made for the Ukulele Scotsman in Sydney. http://www.ukulelescotsman.com/

Meranti body, bandsawn bowl back style. fretboard from Spotted gum floorboard, map of Australia and Aussie animal fret markers burned in using a soldering iron. The logo is printed on tracing paper and superglued down with a couple of coats of superglue over the top.

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Tukanu

Handmade 2B Hand Played
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Soprano Cigar Box Ukulele. The box is a nice big 9x6x2.5 which is the same size as a pineapple soprano. Both the top and the back have been thinned to 2.3mm and braced, giving the cigar box the same resonance as a conventionally built uke.


cigarboxJE.JPG
 

Jim Hanks

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Soprano Cigar Box Ukulele. The box is a nice big 9x6x2.5 which is the same size as a pineapple soprano. Both the top and the back have been thinned to 2.3mm and braced, giving the cigar box the same resonance as a conventionally built uke.
I need that uke like I need another... oh never mind. 🙃
 

Tukanu

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I need that uke like I need another... oh never mind. 🙃
The subliminal message is working.....
................I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me having more ukuleles.
 
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