A question I’ve been asked a number of times recently is whether I buy in or make the ‘rope’ binding that adorns some of the instruments that we build. Well, buying in would almost certainly violate the concept of building instruments with locally sourced timber. Therefore the answer is that we make our own. It appears, however, that the majority of Luthiers Continue reading Shop made.
It occurred to me that I’ve not posted any progress reports of late, what with all the tree felling going on but work in the shop has been progressing well. This week, no less than three instruments will get finished, the first of two Venezuelan Cuatro’s, a Cool Hand Tenor and a Cutaway Tenor, all featuring rope binding.
The Cutaway Tenor is an all Walnut body with a Continue reading In the works…
From time to time we get asked about exotic timbers. The most popular timber for making Ukuleles is a wood called Koa. It is one of the Acacia family and is native to the Hawaiian Islands (among other places) where the Uke was invented. The reason it was used was quite simple. It was local and available.
Of course, today, Hawaiian Koa is still available in small quantities, but at a high price. Think in terms of a set of boards for a soprano starting around the £60 mark and going up from there!
However, ‘local and available’ were the criteria for using this timber in the first place, and here in the Garden of England, Continue reading Exotic woods
As mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I’m giving in to the number of requests to build some guitars! As usual, not everybody wants the same thing, so to get the ball rolling I’m starting with an OM sized electro-acoustic steel strung model. As you can see from the picture, the mould has Continue reading It’s started…
It’s Halloween and tradition has it that carved pumpkins are the order of the day. I have no idea why, I’m sure you could Google it, but is this Concert Uke a Pumpkin or a Pineapple? Built mostly from Walnut grown on Quex Park, the instrument has actually come out of our new Pineapple Mould, but has the walnut neck attached to the ‘wrong’ end! Fingerboard and mouth (I mean bridge) are from a wild cherry cut on the Park a couple of years ago, and it sports Aquila strings strung in gCEA tuning.
With the timber already mentioned in earlier posts coming in 4″ thick boards, the 3″ depth of cut on the tabletop bandsaw we were using was of little help. An upgrade was the only option but to get a decent depth of cut on one of these machines can be an expensive exercise. Searching the available options in research brought up one example that seemed almost too good to be true and, bearing in mind you normally get what you pay for, we were wary! But to get a comparable depth of cut (6″) would otherwise cost around twice to two and a half times the asking price.
So we took the plunge and ordered the Fox F28-186 bandsaw from Poolwood in Kent. (We like to keep things as local as possible). 24 hours later it was delivered and it was with a little trepidation that it was unpacked and assembled. The pleasant surprises started with the realisation that the table was a cast iron one, as in this price bracket we expected an alloy one. The supplied leg stand was of decent gauge metal rather than the flimsy efforts seen on some kit. The whole thing went together without hassle, with all holes lining up well and a complete compliment of fixings. The next nice surprise was Continue reading Bigger kit….
We’ve started to convert timber grown at Quex Park into usable lumber. To start off with, it’s ‘just’ a single board, but that board yeilds around three and a half cubic feet of fully provenanced Walnut. If you think back, Uke No1 was a walnut body, and that sounded beautiful so we are quite happy with this timber. To put it into context, the cut timber from this board will produce Continue reading Tonewood from Quex
Quex Park is an oasis of old woodland on the Isle of Thanet where a tree planting program was instigated by John Powell-Powell in the early 1780’s. The beauty of the Park that we see today is thanks to his vision. Now, some 230 years later, these woodlands and specimen trees are still managed throughout the Estate and we have managed to acquire some of the resultant timber for the production of musical instruments.
Manuel Nunes et al. invented the Ukulele with the use of local timber, and here at Ukulian we intend to continue that tradition by building all of our future instruments with timber sourced from Quex Park itself. Uke No 3 is built primarily from Cherry grown and felled on the Estate.
Although the park is not managed for timber production, the extensive woodlands have produced some Continue reading Quex Timber
Another week passes, and with it, another three or four painted Ukuleles have found their way into the public domain. Despite being stocked for the youngsters, it is becoming obvious that two thirds of the basic Ukes that we sell are, in fact, going to the adult population!
It is also noticeable that the same proportion are coloured black! Despite stocking Red, Yellow Continue reading Painted Ukes