ANNE MORRIS meets Ukulele maker Luke Futcher at his Woodfalls workshop

TRANSFORMING cigar boxes into ukuleles is just one of the quite amazing skills Luke Futcher has perfected. He has been making hand crafted ukuleles as a hobby since March of this year.

“I have always had a fascination with instrument making, wanting to know the inner workings. My day job is as an upholsterer and furniture restorer and I wanted to keep my woodworking skills going.

My craft skills are important to me,” he says.

Luke studied design at university and made a few guitars as part of a project.

As a member of the band The Frenzied and the Diligent, Luke plays the ukulele and to him it seemed natural to want to make his own.

“I have been making just one a month since March, it is early days.”

What is so special about Luke’s ukuleles is that he only uses sustainably sourced wood. “There are so many British hardwoods that can be used such as the English Cherry I used on one of my ukuleles. I also use reclaimed timber and like looking at alternative materials such as the cigar boxes. There is lots of demand for more folksy instruments such as cigar box guitars.”

One of Luke’s ukuleles has been made from a Spanish cigar box.

“I try to maintain the characteristics of the box on the instrument as much as possible, keeping any original stickers or engraving, so each one is quite different.”

Luke’s design skills come in useful when creating his ukuleles: “I always do a CAD drawing first. There is a lot of work to be done with working out the technicalities.”

I asked Luke why he thinks the ukulele has become so popular in recent times: “I think there is a trend to more folksy music and crafts in general and people are starting to appreciate really stripped down music. You can play beautiful music with simple accompaninent and this style is really popular at the moment.”

The Frenzied and the Diligent has been around for about a year now.

“We play a little bit of everything – skiffle, jazz, folk, Americana.”

You can find out all about the band from its website at