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Thread: Linden - English Lime for Ukulele Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Default Linden - English Lime for Ukulele Build

    A few months ago I managed to grab a couple of pieces of wood from newly felled Linden tree (tree was about 250 years old)

    I think it might be better known as European Lime - but we've always called them Lindens

    Anyone tried making soundboards - or back & sides with this wood.

    The wood has been drying for a while so I thought I'd plane the surface to see what was underneath.

    Picture is from a wedge that was cut from the join between the main trunk and a large branch - I had to cut it into pieces to store it - there is another which would be long enough for sides.

    I wet the surface to show the pattern better - the straight lines are where I've planed the rough away

    IMG_3427.jpg
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    Looks nicer to me than I expected - I thought that the wood be - quite frankly boring but good for linings and braces - which is why I wanted the wood in the first place.

    If I tap on the narrow edge it is does sound quite resonant and it's pretty damned hard.

    If I can muster the strength I might saw some boards off and have a go.

    Cheers
    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Wales, UK
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    Default

    Well that's just asking for trouble ain't it?

  3. #3
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    Oct 2015
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    Denmark
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    I never build an ukulele, but I believe that Flight Ukuleles make a lot of Linden top ukuleles.
    Those are with plastic sides and backs, and I dont expect the tops to be solid, so I dont know if that is the best reference, but apparently it has been used as tonewood before.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 08-22-2019 at 08:15 PM.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Cumbria, NW England
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    Limewood is a light and soft hardwood. It was used in the past to carve into church statues and puppets because of its fine grain and softness.

    It has been used for stringed instrument soundboards eg portuguese guitars and lutes. It is now used for cheaper guitar soundboxes, for solid bodied instruments and for instrument linings. In the USA its called basswood and so the words 'lime' and 'linden' arent often used to describe this wood. ( European and USA species are different)

    I made an arch top tenor uke several years ago and carved the top from European Lime. Since its the only one I made I can't say whether it would have been better made from spruce!

    The wood I bought is plain and light in colour not like the wood you show. I intend to make a conventional uke from it at some point but like tulip wood (called yellow poplar in the USA) it makes a light and soft body, easily dented and not very interesting in appearance.

    Its one thing to buy seasoned timber and another thing to try to obtain it from a tree. I suspect you need advice on how to cut and store the tree so that you don't end up with a lot of twisted and cracked boards.
    Last edited by greenscoe; 08-23-2019 at 12:06 AM.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenscoe View Post
    ..... ... .. Its one thing to buy seasoned timber and another thing to try to obtain it from a tree. I suspect you need advice on how to cut and store the tree so that you don't end up with a lot of twisted and cracked boards.
    Thanks for the responses .. all very much appreciated.

    The wood has a lot of drying to do yet - It was felled about a year ago - and has been stored dry and at a fairly constant temperature - but I think it will need another year or so before it's seasoned.

    Not sure if I should cut thickish boards to help the drying process - and then re-saw later

    As you say @GReenscoe - I need to get some advice on how to do it - lots of research needed - thank goodness for the internet - and forums

    I've been doing some reading around woods so I thought that Linden/Lime genus could be used in instrument making - but the references usually mention it being used for blocks/ bindings and internal pieces.

    But I was surprised by the figuring on this piece - it is quite striking - I was expecting plain and simple.

    IF - yes it’s a big IF - it can be used it would make a nice looking instrument.

    If it doesn’t work out - I will at least how to season/ dry and cut logs ! !
    (I never thought that I would need to know this ! !)

    And it will give me some building practice

    Cheers
    Mike


    There are some small drying cracks

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