Splated vs. Curly Mango: Ukulele Window Shopping

Mango seems to be the wood-du-jour. Most of the big uke makers now have a range of mango ukes. Perhaps as a reaction to koa being increasingly difficult to get hold of. The curly mango ukes Kala’s curly mango) certainly offer a similarly beautiful look. For some particularly good examples of curly wood take a look here – you would swear some of those weren’t flat.

But the big eye-catchers are the spalted mango ukuleles – such as the Lanikai spalted mango and Pono’s mango ukuleles – with their dark, wavy figure. This effect is created by fungus in the wood (I had to look it up). Personally, I think I prefer the more subdued and elegant look of the curly mango.

Can anyone give me a definition of flamed wood? On the site I with the curly wood pictures they say, “Terms such as “feather” and “flame” should not be relied on if you haven’t actually seen the wood, as they are used VERY freely. I’ve seen one gun-stock maker who states on his web site that he always calls all crotches flame crotches because ‘it sounds more impressive’. ” Which is what I suspected.

Lots of good photos this week:

– Dour girl next door.
– The belter.
– Ukulele/accordion duo.
– Seaweed swimsuit.
– Teen boy and girl.

View Comments


  1. Chris Bellamy September 4th, 2009 9:16 pm

    Here’s an interesting article on Wikipedia with a picture of flamed maple:


  2. Paul Sesink Clee September 4th, 2009 9:38 pm

    I’ve got a Pono Mango Tenor and love it to death! Its not spalted looking or very curly, but the back has some quilting to it. My favorite part is the colour variation in the wood. You can get some with streaks of yellow and orange. Mine had a nice bookmatched back with a dark streak down the middle. I used it in a few of my youtube vids so far ->


  3. todd September 4th, 2009 9:41 pm

    i think i just played a soprano like your newest at the local music store today….nice and barky….tight and snappy…..

    the belter photo and the teenage boy and girl with uke are the winners for me this week :)

  4. seattlePono September 4th, 2009 11:23 pm

    I also have a Pono Mango Tenor, but mine is a bit special as it has a Spruce top. I originally purchased it because the sound is *REALLY* deep. I’m not sure if that’s because of the Mango or the Spruce (though I suspect the Spruce). Everyone who touches it falls in love immediately. It’s like the best of both worlds (guitar/Uke). And as it’s a Pono, it’s an impeccable, beautiful thing to look at on it’s own.

    Too bad they stopped making them with the Spruce tops!

  5. Woodshed September 5th, 2009 9:06 am

    Chris: Thanks for the link.

    Paul: Nice!

    todd: I agree. The boy and girl was my fave.

    seattlePono: That is too bad. I would have like to have tried one of those.

  6. Nick Bardy-Chivor September 5th, 2009 10:26 am

    The teen boy and girl photo proves what I’ve thought for a while…if you want to be popular with the opposite sex, get a uke!!! and that dour girl…I didn’t realise emo was that old a thing!!!
    As for flame wood, my mate who is a cabinet maker says, “flame, curly, same thing… but he’s a bit mad and was very drunk at the time…

  7. karl September 6th, 2009 6:57 pm

    The Dour Girl: isn’t that a taropatch headstock?

  8. Boz September 7th, 2009 5:53 am

    Flame or figuring is as follows. Think of a single grain of wood as a soda straw that goes from the base of the tree to the top in a line. A genetic disposition of a small number of trees starts a sine wave in the path from base to top. When planked out you see differing angles of the grain of wood reflecting light. Quilted figuring is more of a square shape than a wave so more end grain shows. Hope that helps.

  9. Woodshed September 13th, 2009 8:36 am

    Nick: The emo girl photo is one of those pictures that makes me wish I knew more about the person in it.

    karl: Hmm, might be. It does look a bit elongated. Hard to tell.

    Boz: Thanks very much for the info.

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