Neck, Fretboard, Bridge and Interior Bracing Woods

The necks on my soprano and concert ukuleles are made from various species of the genus Toona.  This mahogany-like wood is called  Red Cedar in Australia, but has variants growing all around the Pacific and up into East Asia. It has similar properties to Cedrella spp- Spanish or Cuban Cedar.  It is very light, quite soft and this is important for the sound.  It is easily strong enough for ukulele necks and is easy for me to carve by hand.   All my necks are hand carved.

On the larger tenor and baritone ukes where the necks are longer, the bodies heavier and there may be more string tension  I use plantation grown Brazillian mahogany from Fiji or the Solomon Islands, for strength and balance.  The two neck woods are pictured.

Fretboards are made either from ebony or an Australian eucalypt called Wandoo.   Both are very hard, strong and durable.  Wandoo ages to a rich chocolate brown colour and is available on request on any of my ukulele models.  Indian Rosewood is used by many factories for fretboards however I do not consider it of sufficient strength or hardness for my instruments.  Madagascar and Honduras rosewood also make excellent fretboards but are harder to obtain.  For very special instruments where the colour scheme suits I will use Bloodwood from South America (Brosimum Rubescens).

Ebony Fretboard

Wandoo Fretboard

Other Materials…..

Bridges – I prefer various rosewood species – Indian, Brazillian, Madagascar, Honduras, East Indian etc.
Nuts and bridge saddles – Ebony, African Blackwood, Bone and mother of pearl are all available options.
Interior braces – Select hard, fine grain spruce and for skin braces I use tight grained Californian Redwood.
Interior Blocks  and linings – Austalian Bunya, Jelutong and Brazillian mahogany.  For tail blocks with the 1/2″ strapjack output sockets I will use plywood to prevent splitting.