At the turn of the 20th century, oak was used by some banjo, guitar and piano makers, but it is rarely used today. This was the first time I ever used oak for an instrument and I was pleasantly surprised. It may not be a sexy tropical hardwood, but it looks great and sounds great too. Plus, you will never have to worry about showing import and source documentation, unlike all those Rosewood guitars out there! I think the sound is as loud as maple, but is a lightly drier and dustier in quality. The oak came from the same estate sale in The Dalles, OR that Henry's dance floor maple came from and the pistachio is from California orchards.
This beauty is for an old friend and talented musician, Kailin Yong. We played in a band together for many years and I am happy to support him by building him a few instruments recently. The bird's eye and quilted maple came from Crosscut in Portland and the pistachio is from California orchards. Kailin has a unique ability to make a string instrument sing and I hope he finds this one up to the task. I think the tone is especially vibrant due to the hard maple and I can't wait to hear what he does with it!
Beautiful straight grain walnut from an estate sale in The Dalles, OR and pistachio from California orchards. This one has lots of depth and sustain and a nice ringing sparkle to the tone. 6 coats of oil finish on the neck and lots of time sanding make for a smooth and fast playing neck. The guy I bought the walnut from also sold me my first old wood working machine, a Craftsman 100 drill press, made by King Seeley in the 1950's.
Three mini five string banjos in a row have been a great way to dial in a few things about the design. I can't wait to keep the process going. This walnut and pistachio banjo is a little sweeter than the previous maple one and maybe a tiny bit softer in volume, in a good way. The walnut is urban salvage from Goby in Portland and the Pistachio is from California orchards. Notice how the fretboard/headplate change color from green to red over its length.
It can be challenging to nail down the right voice for a little banjo like this. It should be bright and loud, but still sweet and with good sustain. This hard maple, from Henry's dance floor stash, seems to do the trick. With Pistachio from California orchards to trim it out, this one looks great too.
Maple and pistachio tenor banjo uke. The maple is from Camp Westwind, a special place on the Oregon coast that we are happy to support with the sale of this instrument. The pistachio is from California orchards and is a sustainable alternative to ebony and rosewood.
This is a special instrument, made from wood from Camp Westwind and will be raffled off at Tunes in the Dunes this year to benefit the camp. This is a truly special place and we are happy to support the efforts to keep it wild and wonderful. The spalted alder is from Westwind's forest and the oak washed up on shore amongst the debris from the Japanese tsunami a few years ago. Notice the ocean worm holes on the headstock, sawed and book matched to create a unique look.
A beautiful tenor scale banjo ukulele with a five piece maple and pistachio neck and a curly maple block rim. The maple is salvaged from a woodworkers estate sale, pre-cut into pieces that our son Henry likes to lay out on the shop floor as his "dance floor." From here on out known as "Henry's dance floor maple." The pistachio is sustainably harvested from California orchards.