Ukulele Making
is a Beautiful Art

The first step in ukulele making is choosing the wood. Koa wood is the most desirable wood to use because it offers a strong, high quality sound and is a uniquely Hawaiian wood. However, koa wood is difficult to get and can be quite expensive. Certain other hardwoods are also desirable. Other commonly used woods include, mahogany, rosewood and maple.

After choosing the wood, it has to be prepared. This involves drying the wood. It should be air dried for the best quality. Following drying the wood is cut into the pieces needed to construct the ukulele.

Designing & Building

Building a Ukulele

With all the pieces cut it is time to begin building the ukulele. The pieces are put together in whatever process the manufacturer is using. There are a variety of ways to build a ukulele and most manufacturers have their own style and, many times, patented, way of doing things. Special moldings are used to form the bends and shapes. They also use wood crafting tools and machinery, such as planners and saws. The newest trend includes a laser etcher. This can carve out a design anywhere on the ukulele using a computer program and laser.

In general what happens is:

  • The side pieces are bent to the correct shape.
  • Lining is glued to the sides.
  • The back and front pieces are created by putting together to thin wood pieces for each section.
  • The back piece is glued to the side pieces.
  • Braces are added to give the ukulele strength.
  • The sound hole is cut from the front piece.
  • The front piece is glued to the ukulele.
  • The neck piece is glued in place.
  • The frets are added to the neck.

Final Steps In Ukulele Making

After the ukulele is constructed it is polished, and any stain or coating is added. Sometimes coloring or designs are added to the ukulele at this point to give it a unique look. After it is finished the strings are added. They are not added before the finishing since they would get in the way and possibly be damaged. At this point the ukulele is ready to be sold.

There are many different styles of ukuleles, but in general this is how they are all made. Sometimes ukulele making involves a solid piece that is carved to create the ukulele. However, most ukuleles are pieces simply put together to form the final product as described above.

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