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I believe that the design process of the oud is one of the most crucial steps. Because in this step, not only the appearance but also sound properties of the oud are determined. In this reason, I design all my ouds individually. First I decide what kind of oud I will make in terms of sound, then I measure the physical properties of some soundboard and braces woods, which I have in my workshop, such as Young’s modulus and density. These data help me design the soundboard thickness and brace heights. In order to measure Young’s modulus of wood samples, I use some sound and vibration measurements such as Chladni Patterns and Spectrum Analysis. More details coming soon!
After glued all the pieces like braces and top plate together. The second step is controlling its total vibration properties of the top plate in free vibration conditions by using Chladni Patterns. If I need to change its natural frequencies and shapes, I use sand block and planer to retune woods again. This technique is very useful to weight and stiffness balance of top plate and compare with previously projects.
I produce all body parts like bowl, neck and pegbox before making soundboard. Because I want to make sure that the parts were dried enough after making and glue the soundboard to the bowl ass soon as possible after it is ready.
After drying glue, I route a channel to neck and bowl stock together to install the Carbon Fiber reinforced strips. Then I make bindings around the soundboard and prepare the sound for French Polishing.
Finite Element Analysis
I use only French Polishing (Shellac) technique for the soundboard of my ouds. I also use both French Polishing for body or very thin Lacquer. because body woods may have very deep pores and very hard to keep white colour of maple lines between ribs. And the natural vibrations of bowl already very different from the top plate because of its bowl shape, so I belive very thin lacquer film doesn’t affects sound properties dramatically
After finishing, I scratch French polishing at some region of the soundboard to prepare places where bridge, fingerboard and pickguard will be glued. Then I glued them and after Three days, I string the ouds. In a week I let it balance with string tension by plying every day. Then I check it’s sound and vibration properties. If I notice any acoustic problem, I tune the top plate inside again. And Finally, I conduct detailed vibration and sound test to archive and to guide for my future projects.