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 Post subject: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:10 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
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I’m starting a build for a customer who wants a hardwood top ukulele, specifically ziricote. I’ve never built an instrument with a hardwood top except a uke made of Khaya.

Any guidance on the top thickness? I’m a bit worried about getting the top thin enough without it becoming overly brittle because of the ziricote.

Thoughts?

Brad


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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:36 pm
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Miller
City: Wood Dale
State: Illinois
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Ziricote is a beautiful wood for b&s but for a top? Have not seen any. Some builders stabilize with ca to prevent cracks but cant say if that would help. My own 2 cents, could be pretty hard to pull off without severe headaches.
Ed


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These users thanked the author edstrummer for the post: bcombs510 (Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:38 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:45 pm 
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I have similar concerns. Kala makes a solid top uke with ziricote so it must be possible.

I can only imagine flexing a ziricote top to check for stiffness and it turns to splinters as it flexes. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:52 pm 
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Yes someone like Kala can pull it off but how many tops did they ruin before finding out how to do it? Of course, considering what I have seen of your projects, you have the skill to do it. Kind of a judgement call. Will customer beat you up over this job or hopefully, understand the challenge?


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These users thanked the author edstrummer for the post: bcombs510 (Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:00 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:59 pm 
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Runaway, Runaway. Not really serious, but this sounds pretty risky. I hope you have an understanding customer.
As I'm sure you know Ziricote is pretty dense stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:04 am 
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Can't help you with ziricote, no experience.

But I've build a fair few ukuleles with hardwood tops. How thick depends on the stiffness of the wood, but most of my soprano hardwood tops end up at around 1.8 mm (0.07 inches). I'd go a little thicker on concert and tenor tops but rarely build them - I'm looking for a similar feel when flexed lengthwise. Under 2mm (0.079 inches) for certain.

Denser species go thinner, maybe down to 1.5 mm (0.06 inches), even, for sopranos, provided they are still stiff enough long grain.

I suspect this makes using ziricote even more alarming!



These users thanked the author profchris for the post: bcombs510 (Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:48 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:47 pm 
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Koa
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profchris wrote:
Denser species go thinner, maybe down to 1.5 mm (0.06 inches), even, for sopranos, provided they are still stiff enough long grain.

I suspect this makes using ziricote even more alarming!


Thanks, Chris. This will be a tenor. I’m thinking I might leave it a little on the thicker side while bracing it up and take some off the top after the box is closed. I could focus the effort on the lower bout around the rim to loosen it up.

For bracing perhaps cut down on the height a bit compared to what I use with spruce?

Will be an adventure no matter what! :D




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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:40 pm 
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There is no way in hell I'd use Zircote for a soundboard. It's risky enough for back and sides.

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These users thanked the author Allen McFarlen for the post: bcombs510 (Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:38 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Hardwood top
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:20 pm 
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I used rosewood around .060 iirc. I would be a little apprehensive about ziricote. Yeah, don't flex it too much!

Pat

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These users thanked the author Pmaj7 for the post: bcombs510 (Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:21 pm)
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