Selecting Wood for Building a Ukulele by Master Luthier Joe Sousa – Island Bazaar Ukes Skip to content

Have questions? Want to hear a ‘ukulele? Call or Facetime (714) 843-9350. We’re available Mon-Thur 11am – 6pm (PT), Fri, Sat, Sun 11am – 5pm (PT)

Selecting Wood for Building a Ukulele by Master Luthier Joe Sousa - Island Bazaar Ukes

Selecting Wood for Building a Ukulele by Master Luthier Joe Sousa

Here's a great article about Selecting Wood for Building a Ukulele by Master Luthier Joe Sousa

So how does a flat piece of wood become an ʻukulele?

Join Master Luthier Joe Souza as he shares what he's looking for when identifying the pieces that will become your playable masterpiece. And what about all the extra pieces of wood? Find out about that in today's video about our layout process.


hello mai kako joe souza here actually standing in our milling department look at some of the most coolest things ever you know when i first started woodworking back in intermediate school in fact mr maera kailu intermediate you know he planted a seed he planted a love for woodworking which ultimately developed into a love for luthery or the art of building string instruments so today we're going to take a closer look at how we get these rough cut gnarly pieces and find these gems that ultimately are going to become an ukulele and how we edge glue and create that book match beautiful symmetrical grain all of that in this process of the breakdown [Music] so let's go ahead and take a closer look at layout and why do we lay out well when we cut these raw rough gnarly pieces from nature we have to see and identify what could become an ukulele so when we look at this piece here beautiful 5a master grade core but what does it really look like when it's raw well it's really gnarly it's got some bark inclusions and different elements in the grain that presented themselves and we want to capture all the beauty in those elements you know and taking all of that raw rough piece to ultimately become a polished gem so from a luthier's eye i look at this piece as not a gnarly piece but a piece of beauty and we've cut stickered dried and got this wood ready to now what we call layout so when i look at this piece one of the first things that i always you know attracts my eye is the curl the beauty and the curl the color and really that wow factor so when i'm going and laying out i'm getting these templates and really finding those gems right here oh my goodness that's a beautiful core front or back of an ukulele in fact this is book matched oh right here i see a set of sides even look at that perfect set of sides to become an ukulele we'll go ahead and get these raw gnarly pieces lay out using our templates find those gems and we'll go ahead and break those pieces down to ultimately create what we call a set and here's a good example of a set it's four pieces this is going to become either the front or the back and then these of course are going to become the sides of the ukulele now you're probably thinking are you only going to get that much and that's all that's usable no this whole piece is usable we'll go ahead and keep all those remnants pieces for either an armrest or a cutaway bevel or even coal binding or the head plate on our koala ukuleles things that could adorn the instrument and really bring out the beauty of the koa and then beautify the ukulele now even those smaller remnants pieces that can't become a part of the ukulele we'll go ahead and find a home for them whether it's through box makers or jewelry makers and really see all of the value that comes with these beautiful pieces once we've laid out and we have what we call our set the front the back and the sides of the ukulele we're going to go ahead and straighten out that edge or what we call join it we're going to straighten it to then allow us to edge glue it and when we edge glue we really bring out that symmetrical grain so here's that same work piece that could be the front the back of an ukulele when we open it up and we see all that beautiful curl and all of that beautiful color and the symmetry in the grain we can see already on how that's going to create a beautiful ukulele so i hope you enjoyed seeing how we process and find these raw gems or these beautiful nuggets of master grade core from these raw pieces and create our set if you have any questions go ahead and leave it in the comments if you liked our video you know what to do smash that like button and if you really love what you see please subscribe to our channel so we can go ahead and keep you updated on how we do what we do as kanileo ukulele okay everybody stay safe mahalo again for joining me and aloha

Selecting Wood for Building a Ukulele by Master Luthier Joe Sousa 

Reprinted with Permission

Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)

Can we send you our next sale?

Sign up to hear about sales, reviews and news.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart