A lot of the appeal in making an instrument comes from working with wood.
The very names of exotic species re-awaken childhood imaginings and reveries about fabulous locales: cocobolo, chakte kok, bloodwood, ebony, flaming acacia, lacewood and zebrawood, bocote, ziricote...
And what a wonder to actuallly see what domestic species look like in the intimacy of their flesh - beech and walnut, cherry and birch, butternut and Douglas fir! And to discover the extraordinary variety, if only in maple: quilted, curly, bird's eye, soft, hard, roasted(!).
Some woods smell delicious: Spanish cedar, western red cedar, yellow cypress. Some feel like silk while with others your fingertips can still feel the ridges and waves.
Every stage in the process of selecting and shaping each part of the instrument is pregnant with the anticipation (hope and anxiety mixed) of what it will eventually look like once finished.
My first tenor size uke is completed: it has a shape that resembles that of a citole, a medieval instrument whose design for some obscure reason is very appealing to me and that I have somehow been working towards. I will upload pics of it momentarily, but first, here are shots of some of the woods I've used.