My wife and I are in love with Hawaii (and each other), so a few years ago I decided to learn to play the 'ukulele prior to our next trip to Hawai'i. I imagined myself sitting on the beaches of Hawaii strumming a uke. Well on our most recent trip to Hawaii, I put aside a nice amount of money to buy myself a nice solid Koa 'ukulele.
The actual stone staircase that
started it all at Hilton Waikoloa Village
I picked my new 'ukulele out a store, loved the sound, but was sure to ask if the uke was solid wood or laminate. I was assured it was solid wood.
3 days later, I dropped my precious new 'ukulele down a stone staircase (after strumming it on the beach). My heart dropped, but what made the situation even worse was after I examined the damage, I found out that it was indeed not solid wood but a laminate soundboard. Of course I had words with the shop owner, who was also not aware it was laminate . -- We went back on another trip and took this picture of those stairs!
I decided to put my passion for building to new uses. So after weeks of research on the internet, books, videos, etc, I headed to my garage wood shop (no room for a car here) with my passion and building knowledge (and obsession for perfection). After several weeks, I finally came up for air holding the fruits of my labor, Honu Ukulele #1. It wasn't perfect, but it had a nice deep sound. That one was solid black walnut (had some lying about my shop), it was coated with polyurethane. A little more research and Honu 'Ukulele #2 was born. . this one even better, made from some pine paneling I found during demo while renovating our dining room, Black walnut sides and "Home Depot Maple" back. I avoided many mistakes made during the first build. 100% improvement.
After a few more practice runs, the build quality had exceeded even my expectations. I was able to finally replace that broken Hawai'i bought uke with a hand crafted solid Koa 'ukulele, built with Aloha.
Can you order one with beautiful bindings?? Sure but not from me. Bindings hide laminate, I won't do them.