View Full Version : WHOOPS! Oh, the humanity!

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-18-2014, 05:02 AM

I had just taken "Blondie" out of my work-bag, still in its case, and set it on the floor (never put an instrument on the floor, you idiot). I was about to sit down when someone came to the door. As I stood from my half-sit, I lost my balance, missed my step, and... crunch. I almost couldn't bear to open the case.

This was my personal player. Such sweet tone. For a year and a half I've carried it everywhere, to and from and in New York City almost every day without a scratch, and now I've squashed it like a grape.

Fortunately (Ha! Good one.) the damage is limited to the soundboard, but I think a new top is the only solution. That and a new name. If the patient survives the operation with that sweet sound restored, I think I'll start calling her "The Phoenix".

12-18-2014, 05:40 AM
Not your day ...

Michael N.
12-18-2014, 06:17 AM
That can be repaired. Just a matter of whether you feel that it's worth it.

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-18-2014, 06:59 AM
Yes, it can be repaired, and money is no object (because I never charge myself) so I think it's worth it. But this is not a vintage instrument; I built it in the summer of 2013, so provenance or authenticity are of no consequence, and even if they were I built it. How's that for provenance and authenticity?

My thought is that it would end up being a lot more work to repair rather than replace the top, and in the end a new uncompromised soundboard will sound better than a compromised and repaired one, all other things being equal.

I'm just bummed because I've got new builds to start, but I know myself. If I don't fix it now it will just sit on the bench gathering dust, and might never get fixed. I've got plenty of ukes but this was the one I really liked to play, so now I've got to go fix it or find a new best friend. Bummer....

12-18-2014, 07:07 AM
Been there. Done that. The crunching noise is enough to make a person want to puke. Bummer. Sorry... My uke was even worse than that and awaits getting a new top. Still waiting... I'll get around to it eventually. Meanwhile... new projects!

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-18-2014, 07:17 AM
Thanks for the commiseration. Remarkably it stayed pretty much in tune, and is still playable... sounds like doo-doo, though. Except strangely now the E string (and only the E strung) is exhibiting ridiculously long sustain. Weird, right?

12-18-2014, 07:46 AM
If you can get the back off it looks like a rather simple repair. Get the cracks together and add some small cleats on the inside. That's probably what I'd do.

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-18-2014, 08:02 AM
Yup. That would be the way to do it, if I decide to save the soundboard. But what to call it? Perimeter Kashi bracing? By the way, they ain't just cracks. The top is straight-up broke into three pieces: left, right, and center. The lining is the only thing holding them on. Still, it could be done....

Which begs the question: To refinish, or not to refinish?

"Bones heal, chicks dig scars, pain is temporary, glory is forever." Evel Knievel

Michael N.
12-18-2014, 09:12 AM
Just requires a bit of skill. . . .

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g193/mignal/24311d0c-29c1-4530-9e4f-19211bc5a400_zps8d26b583.jpg (http://s56.photobucket.com/user/mignal/media/24311d0c-29c1-4530-9e4f-19211bc5a400_zps8d26b583.jpg.html)

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g193/mignal/dad86cdb-1549-4c7b-a19e-f15f852508d3_zps3d45dc15.jpg (http://s56.photobucket.com/user/mignal/media/dad86cdb-1549-4c7b-a19e-f15f852508d3_zps3d45dc15.jpg.html)

. . . sadly I can't take any credit, however much I wished.

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-18-2014, 09:42 AM
WOW. Nice work. My hat's off to wherever the credit is due.

Thanks (he said with a wink). No pressure.... Why do I suddenly feel like I'm hosting a dinner party and Martha Stewart just walked in the door?

12-18-2014, 11:21 AM
Hey Michael - I think you put the "before" pic last, by mistake. Fnarr fnarr

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-18-2014, 01:26 PM
That was a good one. I actually laughed out loud (not very loud, but still...).

Now, much to my wife's chagrin, I'm contemplating a "best of both worlds" approach. Salvage -or should I say re-salvage (it all came out of someone's garbage in the first place)- the useable bits from "Blondie", which would be basically everything but the body, and incorporate those bits into a new uke. I've been tinkering in my head with a minimally-braced domed top design (think macaferri but looser and freer), but have hesitated to start an experimental scratch-build because of time constraints, and the high failure rate of my experiments. But if all the heavy lifting were already done.... Hmm... Do I hear a knock? Is that opportunity?