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Thread: East Asian wood?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Baltimore, MD
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    Default East Asian wood?

    I've been thinking about possible uses for some East Asian woods that are becoming common here in the US such as ginkgo or paulownia and how they might work out in ukuleles. Does anyone have any experience with them? I know they use paulownia to make Asian zithers such as koto. I also understand ginkgo is soft so it might be useful for tops like cedar is. I'm open to any thoughts on the matter. I might be able to get some ginkgo but it would be a log. Might take a while to become useful. Maybe by then my skill at building will be up to par?
    Chris

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default

    Paulownia is a rather unfortunate color and grain pattern as far as I'm concerned for instruments. Sure, it might work, but if no one wants to pick it up and play it, then it fails as an instrument in my books.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    2

    Default

    Hi.

    Just registered today.

    I noticed this thread and would like to say something about Paulownia.
    Since I'm currently in UAE (Dubai) the wood selection for ukulele build is very limited. I have tried paulownia for the soundboard on several concert ukulele builds. I bought this dried pawlownia planks from a chinese variety store.
    The sound of it really depends on how the ukulele was built, specially with the soundboard bracing and bridge plate. If nicely done, it is very loud with emphasis on lows and mids. If you want it loud, the bridge plate should be made of paulownia, but if you want a bit of emphasis on highs (decrease in volume), you can change the plate to a hardwood.
    Just be sure not to thin it less than 2MM or you can drill a hole on it just by pressing your finger. You should try it.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2009
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    Stockton on Tees..North East UK.
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    Default

    It dosn't look too bad either..Paulownia.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    If I had some I would use it. Mind you, I make pine and spruce guitars.


  6. #6
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    Oct 2012
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    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    Paulownia is a rather unfortunate color and grain pattern as far as I'm concerned for instruments. Sure, it might work, but if no one wants to pick it up and play it, then it fails as an instrument in my books.
    I can see what Allen means. It looks like Radiata Pine with large and uneven growth rings. It might sound great yet people will think that you sourced your wood from a builders timber yard. If your building instruments for clients there would be a limit on what they were prepared to pay.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Default

    Just call it Tropical XXX and say that it is rare.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire UK
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    My son just finished building a bass guitar kit with a Paulownia body. It really isn't of a quality that you'd want to put into a time consuming hand-built instrument project. It's dull in colour, coarse in texture and very soft.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    319

    Default

    Time for a sunburst!

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