The Kanile'a shop tour was by far my favorite!  They have a great staff, wonderful facility and a very honest and down to earth work environment.  Joe Souza was very generous with his time and was glad to explain any detail of the manufacturing process in depth.  

Kanilea Ukulele

The Kanile'a ukulele instrument formula is also the most modern. These ukes have a great balance of tradition and technology. They used CNC (computer numeric controlled) routing machines as well as laser cutters to achieve superior results and excellent consistency from instrument to instrument.

This laser cutter is used to make bracing, rosettes, inlay materials and engraving!

Matched sets of backs and sides are organized and prepared to become an instrument!  

Kanile'a mills all their own koa!  The logs must air dry for years to become stable enough to use for ukulele building.  Another very special thing about Joe and the Kanile'a team is their dedication to preservation of the environment and the tone woods that they use.  For every uke they build, they plant a koa tree in their farm on the big island!  This ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the wonderful Hawaiian Koa that we do now!

The unique Tru-Bracing system is one of the secrets to the Kanile'a sound!  The braces do not instersect, but arch over each other allow the top to vibrate freely on the x,y, and z axis.  The bracing is also strategically drilled out to lower the mass and increase resonance.

Each top is carefully book matched and paired with back and sides from the same koa log.  This keeps the grain pattern consistent.

The sides are carefully bent slowly using heat and steam.  This process is tricky and must be done carefully to prevent cracking and unwanted warping.

Kanile'a uses a modern vacuum clamping system to ensure uniform clamp pressure across the bracing.  This guarantees a perfect glue joint every time.

The UV cure finish not only provides a beautiful and protective surface, but it is also very environmentally safe.  Other finish types can release unwanted VOC's into the atmosphere.  The UV finish can also be applied much thinner, which allows the top to ring clearly.