Ono Ukuleles are handmade in my workshop in Ashland, Oregon. You can view a slideshow tour of my building process and workshop here. Being retired, I have the luxury of building at my own pace. This allows me to take all the time I need to achieve the level of quality that gives me great satisfaction.
I have a "Hawaii connection" that is central to my interest in the ukulele. My great-great-great grandparents were haole seafarers who married in and settled in Honolulu in 1834. My mother was a mainland girl but she was close to her Hawaiian roots, her grandfather having been a subject of the Kingdom of Hawaii who went to Seattle in the late 1800s and served there as Consul for the Kingdom. When I was a child we visited Honolulu regularly. At home, we listened to "Hawaii Calls" and my mother occasionally got out her 78 records of Hawaiian music and practiced the hula in full regalia. I still have her ukulele, an undistinguished "Royal Hawaiian," as well as my grandmother's wonderful Manuel Nunes soprano made in 1907. I had my own Favilla as a child in California but gave up the ukulele about the time I went to high school and didn't get back to it for about forty-five years.
In 2010, I decided that I needed some music in my life. Naturally, I picked up the ukulele again. The next year I visited a luthier with the intention of buying a custom instrument. He generously spent quite a bit of time showing me his shop and methods. I was irresistibly drawn to the building process and set out to build one on my own. Before hearing the siren of ukulele lutherie, I had built sailboats and had also been a serious hobbyist machinist. This background has served me well. In fact, sailboats and ukuleles have two things in common: they both have to function well and nobody wants an ugly one.