5/24/2013

c.1915 Harmony-made? Flamed Koa Ukulele


This is the first of 8 koa ukes that I've been working on for a customer of mine. This one, while it looks very much like a Hawaiian uke (it even has a Spanish heel), was made in Chicago and was more than likely made by Harmony considering the original sculpt of the bridge and the neck style and shape. Still, it's a high quality product and actually has more accurate fretting than most truly Hawaiian ukes. I've worked on a good number of this particular model but this is the first one that I've worked on that actually uses koa wood rather than flamed mahogany in its construction.

Work included some seam repairs, bridge reglue and reshaping, a fret level/dress, replacement pegs (these are c.1910 celluloid pegs from my parts bin), and setup.


Nice figure, huh? And lovely rope binding/inlay.


The Dias-style headstock looks great!


The inlaid strip down the length of the neck is very cute.



As usual, the original bridge setup was quite off. I recut it to achieve "modern" action during setup (ie, between 1/16" and 3/32" at the 12th fret).





Nice rope binding on the back, too!


The celluloid pegs work great.


This has a Spanish heel design just like Hawaiian ukes. Later on this same exact model type would receive a more "Chicago-style" dowel construction and the Spanish heel (which is a lot stronger but also more difficult to build) would disappear.

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