I’d like to have called this post “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” but I think we’ll just focus on the Good– 2020 Ukuleles in Review.
Had to have purple quilt maple.
As unique wood supplies become more scarce I am finding new interest in domestic hardwoods like Maple. Curly and quilted stocks are hard to find and becoming more expensive but they are available and this wood is sustainable. To spice up the builds a bit I did some experimentation with stains to add visual interest.
Teredo Wormwood–hide the children!
Here come the worms!
Not for everyone for sure but this request was made and with some reluctance I gave it my best. I had to buy a couple of additional sets just in case I get another request or get really bored. These have fewer holes.
Really, it won’t hurt you!
I made a tenor, concert and a pineapple ukulele out of unmatched sets of wood. I used different woods and combinations and believe that the more mismatched the wood the better for these fun projects. Every part of the instrument is a different wood. Now I’m looking forward to my first FrankenKoa.
Florentine not Florence Martha.
I’ve avoided making cutaway ukes for years for a variety of reasons–hey, Jake doesn’t play one!. Last year I decided to revisit this variant with a florentine style cutaway. I made a couple and think I have the bugs worked out.
Hand cut mother of pearl is pretty nice and pretty expensive. Get it if you’ve got to have it but I experimented with laser cut inlay and back filled with a variety of media including crushed and reconstituted stone, gold foil and Glitter. They all worked pretty well. I made a couple of ukes with Glitter incorporated into the rosette and was very satisfied with the result.
Talk about curl. I just couldn’t make up my mind.
I’ve got some nice matched koa in stock. Thankfully! It is becoming increasingly hard to find nice wood and matched sets from the same billet. Last year I decided to try a few ukes utilizing these unmatched but perfectly good koa sets into one instrument. Voila! The koa mix uke.
Story wood, story wood, story wood.
This Pier Piling Douglas Fir is the story wood of the year. Harvested from a San Diego Navy fuel pier. It is 100 years old. No worms here because the wood was encased in cement. Yes, it has an unusual color and is a bit distressed but it has a great sound. Most of this salvage has been repurposed for a new marine habitat.
What’s new for 2021
I’m thinking in addition to my standard and traditional builds I may add some more color. Purfling on the backs is now a standard, custom binding upgrades will now be available and hopefully some fun new looks in wood and wood combinations.