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Down Up Dick
12-29-2014, 08:20 AM
To all of those whose Ukes have cracked because of weather.

I'd like to know what brand they were, and anything else you'd like to tell about them. What size? Solid or plywood? Etc., etc., . . .

Let's all learn a little about cracking wood. Just fer 'cause. :old:

wickedwahine11
12-29-2014, 09:08 AM
I had a Kamoa soprano that cracked -- it was a gift so I don't know for sure what wood it was, but I'm pretty sure it was laminate. My Kamaka koa tenor did not crack, but the seams did separate at the bookmatching on the top. Those two ukes were why I had my cabinet built when I lived a drier part of the county where we often had humidity below or around 20%.

hawaii 50
12-29-2014, 09:29 AM
I had a Kamoa soprano that cracked -- it was a gift so I don't know for sure what wood it was, but I'm pretty sure it was laminate. My Kamaka koa tenor did not crack, but the seams did separate at the bookmatching on the top. Those two ukes were why I had my cabinet built when I lived a drier part of the county where we often had humidity below or around 20%.


Yeah Staci..

that is why you have to move/retire in Hawaii...don't have to worry about Relative Humidity....40-70% everyday the average....:)

RichM
12-29-2014, 09:45 AM
I have owned over 250 wooden instruments and have never had one crack on my watch. I am religious about maintaining good humidity control-- it's just not that hard.

I have a 1930 Martin Style 0 with a repaired top crack. So I advise you to avoid vintage Martins, as they are clearly prone to cracking. :p

Down Up Dick
12-29-2014, 09:56 AM
RichM, when they do crack, do they hafta be repaired or are they playable as is? :old:

RichM
12-29-2014, 09:57 AM
RichM, when they do crack, do they hafta be repaired or are they playable as is? :old:

I was just being a wise guy. 1930s Martins are probably some of the best ukes out there. Virtually any wood will crack if exposed to a long period of low humidity.

pluck
12-29-2014, 10:30 AM
I just got my first solid uke but I live in New Mexico so I'm concerned about this. I checked with Mike at Mainland for his opinion on the stability of different woods in arid climates. He suggested that among his offerings, he would recommend Red Cedar the least and Mango the most for dry climates. He also agreed that although a gloss finish would not keep the wood from drying out it could provide some added stability.

My plan is that until I retire to Hawaii someday (ha, ha) I will try to stick to moderately priced ukes.

Pukulele Pete
12-29-2014, 10:32 AM
..........

Down Up Dick
12-29-2014, 10:52 AM
RichM, I'm just asking out of curiosity and not because I'm trying to figure out what to buy. I already know what my next and probably last Uke will be.

And not all wood cracks. None of my wooden flutes, fifes or piccolos have cracked, and they get very wet when i play them, and then very dry when I don't for a while. I'm supposed to oil them, but I haven't done it for a long time.

My Ka-Lai pineapple hung on the wall in different houses for 50+ years, and, though it was cracked a long time ago (I don't know how.), it has no new cracks.

All this humidiy vs. ukuleles stuff interests me. :old:

OregonJim
12-29-2014, 11:09 AM
To all of those whose Ukes have cracked because of weather.

I'd like to know what brand they were, and anything else you'd like to tell about them. What size? Solid or plywood? Etc., etc., . . .


Brand and quality of build really have nothing to do with it. It's all about the properties of wood. Wood shrinks and expands with changes of humidity or temperature - if the change is rapid enough, a crack forms. Could happen just as easily to a $20 or $2,000 instrument. That said, laminates are better at resisting cracks than solid wood because the grain in each layer runs perpendicular to the adjacent layer, adding strength and stability (but subtracting "tone").

OregonJim
12-29-2014, 11:22 AM
And not all wood cracks. None of my wooden flutes, fifes or piccolos have cracked, and they get very wet when i play them, and then very dry when I don't for a while.

That is because none of them have a large, thin, flat surface area.

Inksplosive AL
12-29-2014, 11:22 AM
My Wei Wei a Vietnam tenor cracked the first winter sitting under the heat vent. It sealed up nicely after some humidification. Luck of the draw maybe?

I've recently been given 6 older ukuleles that suffered extreme drying from a member in Hawaii. Most needed the fret ends filed as the necks have shrunk a bit. A couple had a loose spot where the back might have started to split from the sides, a little ca glue to stabilize and I think were good there. Two are no name three are branded Hawaii brand and one Malhalo all with friction tuners from around 99-01. Likely all laminates no cracks.

wayfarer75
12-29-2014, 11:27 AM
RichM, I'm just asking out of curiosity and not because I'm trying to figure out what to buy. I already know what my next and probably last Uke will be.

And not all wood cracks. None of my wooden flutes, fifes or piccolos have cracked, and they get very wet when i play them, and then very dry when I don't for a while. I'm supposed to oil them, but I haven't done it for a long time.

My Ka-Lai pineapple hung on the wall in different houses for 50+ years, and, though it was cracked a long time ago (I don't know how.), it has no new cracks.

All this humidiy vs. ukuleles stuff interests me. :old:

No, not all wood cracks, and not all ukes crack in low humidity. But wooden instruments like flutes and such (I have a wooden clarinet) are quite different from stringed ones. They're not bent, the wood is much thicker and there is no string tension. That said, I have a large, heavy, thick rosewood trunk in my living room, and it has cracks in it.

DownUpDave
12-29-2014, 12:34 PM
I just got my first solid uke but I live in New Mexico so I'm concerned about this. I checked with Mike at Mainland for his opinion on the stability of different woods in arid climates. He suggested that among his offerings, he would recommend Red Cedar the least and Mango the most for dry climates. He also agreed that although a gloss finish would not keep the wood from drying out it could provide some added stability.

My plan is that until I retire to Hawaii someday (ha, ha) I will try to stick to moderately priced ukes.

It is so easy to care for an all solid wood ukulele. Keep it in It's case with a sound hole humider in place. That is all there is to it.

You now can go out and buy all the high end expensive ukes you want. Why wait till you retire, you might die before then. Life is short do it now.

OregonJim
12-29-2014, 01:06 PM
It is so easy to care for an all solid wood ukulele. Keep it in It's case with a sound hole humider in place. That is all there is to it.


It's not quite that easy. You have to remember to add water to each humidifier every few days. Don't plan on any vacations unless there is someone available to uke-sit (unless you want to take all of your instruments with you)! An easier solution is a room humidifier, especially if you have several solid wood instruments to care for.

Down Up Dick
12-29-2014, 01:33 PM
No, not all wood cracks, and not all ukes crack in low humidity. But wooden instruments like flutes and such (I have a wooden clarinet) are quite different from stringed ones. They're not bent, the wood is much thicker and there is no string tension. That said, I have a large, heavy, thick rosewood trunk in my living room, and it has cracks in it.

That's not exactly correct about the flutes. I have seen lots of cracked wooden instruments that have been repaired with glue and clamps. Especially ones which need to be joined. I guess that's why one has to use bore oil on them. I haven't oiled my wooden instruments for a log time. I guess I'd better get to it.

If we all played National Steels, we wouldn't hafta worry. :old:

good_uke_boy
12-29-2014, 02:09 PM
If we all played National Steels, we wouldn't hafta worry. :old:

Of course, there are also Blackbird's offerings. A Clara resides in easy reach on my desk, laughing while humidity in my house drops lower and lower.

Nickie
12-29-2014, 02:17 PM
My solid mahogany cracked, from the tail, all the way to the bridge. The bridge lifted, so I don't think it was dry. Florida humidity rarely gets below 30%....we're ususally above 55%. It was repaired, I can still see it, but it doesn't affect the sound at all.

kohanmike
12-29-2014, 03:33 PM
The only uke of the 12 I've gone through that cracked was a Lanikai tenor cutaway solid monkey pod when it got very dry here in Los Angeles about a year ago. Later I read that monkey pod has a tendency to do so. It played fine as far as I could tell, but I gave it to my cousins young son.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Monkeypod crack.jpg
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/u5LanikaiMP.jpg

Down Up Dick
12-29-2014, 03:50 PM
The only uke of the 12 I've gone through that cracked was a Lanikai tenor cutaway solid monkey pod when it got very dry here in Los Angeles about a year ago. Later I read that monkey pod has a tendency to do so. It played fine as far as I could tell, but I gave it to my cousins young son.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Monkeypod crack.jpg
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/u5LanikaiMP.jpg

Wow! That was a pretty nice gift crack or no crack. :old:

Down Up Dick
12-30-2014, 08:24 AM
Well, apparently ukuleles don't crack as much as people think they do. It seems like maybe it's a tempest in a teapot. I dunno, but it's better to be safe than sorry I guess.

Or maybe people just didn't care to write about it. Well, so much for that! :old:

DownUpDave
12-30-2014, 08:42 AM
It's not quite that easy. You have to remember to add water to each humidifier every few days. Don't plan on any vacations unless there is someone available to uke-sit (unless you want to take all of your instruments with you)! An easier solution is a room humidifier, especially if you have several solid wood instruments to care for.

Putting water in the humidifer...........thanks for pointing out the obvious!!!! Yea your system of a room humidifer is better than my idea,unless there is a power outage.The point I was making to "pluck" was it is not that difficult to own and care for high end instruments but thanks for weighing in.

sukie
12-30-2014, 08:45 AM
Our UU friend Spots wrote up instructions for DIY humidifiers using floral crystals. Cheap, easy and very effective! And they last a long time. I have a high-end ukulele and I keep 2 in my case. I also usually have 2 hygrometers in the case also. I would cry if my ukulele got cracked.

Down Up Dick
12-30-2014, 09:00 AM
So would I, sukie. :old:

Mim
12-30-2014, 09:06 AM
I keep a baggie with 1/2 a sponge that is 2 for a $1 at the dollar store. The sponge wet (not dripping) in there. I recommend good humidifiers, like Oasis too but something is better than nothing and a sponge and a baggie kept my Taylor guitar happy all through college in a very dry area of the west. So there is a cheap way if you are in a hurry and your humidity is dropping now to keep a ukulele happy!

I have only cracked one of my ukuleles because of humidity. It was mahogany. It was my fault, for sure, not the instrument. My skin was feeling super dry for days... super dry... so I should have cased it, but I simply forgot about it because it is my "beside my bed" uke. Doh! But I am a uke dealer, so yeah... a solid mahogany can end up being my uncased beside the bed uke... haha! But at the same time, it is my beside the bed uke, so I am not too worried about it. But this time of year all my ukes in my shop go off the wall, in boxes/cases and put in a very well humidified room! Always better to be safe than sorry!

IamNoMan
12-30-2014, 09:06 AM
I live in a temperate climate. I've seen a lot of cracked wooden flutes and such-like over time. Walking sticks too. Longitudinal cracks mainly. The woods were mostly Tropical woods. The converse Temperate zone woods might be more likely to crack in tropical/subtropical environments.-IDK. Many years ago I bought a baritone uke -no name at a Folk festival. It had three cracks when I bought it. Fooled with it a while an set it down. Found it After I took up the uke in October.
1. one of the original cracks had opened up while I was playing it. - noticible decrease in sound.
2. Recently, after I rediscovered it, I put it on my shelf close to a window and above the hydronic radiator. I have noticed two cracks I never noticed before. (The instrument had suffered flood damage from a roof leak and needed repair work before it could be played. -another story). The humidity has been in 40-60% range all fall. I think it was the daily temperature change that caused the new cracks. 30D is the mean temperature swing in PA. +/- 15D for other factors. I know it is recommended not to leave a wooden instrument in the car for even a short period. - never was a problem for banjos though.
3. I have hydronic heating not forced air at home.If you have forced air heat be aware that you that flowing air and high DeltaTs (maybe 40D) could dry out your instruments quickly. I won't try to explain why. - Its engineering stuff. Just don't store your instrument near a hot or cold area that has air flowing around it.

Doc_J
12-30-2014, 10:48 AM
To all of those whose Ukes have cracked because of weather.

I'd like to know what brand they were, and anything else you'd like to tell about them. What size? Solid or plywood? Etc., etc., . . .

Let's all learn a little about cracking wood. Just fer 'cause. :old:

While not a wood crack, I've had a uke get finish cracks while in shipping. A retailer once sent me a uke UPS ground cross-country in record cold weather (-17F or -9C). It arrived in 60F weather and sat warming for 12 hours in an unopened box. This is what the glossy finish looked like when all was at room temp (70F).

This was on G-String concert several years ago. It may have a lot to do with the finish and materials, and the the harsh temperatures. G-Strings with glossy nitro seemed to be fairly susceptible to those types finish cracks, at least around that time frame.

http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Misc/hP1010370_zps425b62a9.jpg
http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Misc/P1010371_zps769fc4a6.jpg

Ukejenny
12-30-2014, 11:03 AM
That's not exactly correct about the flutes. I have seen lots of cracked wooden instruments that have been repaired with glue and clamps. Especially ones which need to be joined. I guess that's why one has to use bore oil on them. I haven't oiled my wooden instruments for a log time. I guess I'd better get to it.

If we all played National Steels, we wouldn't hafta worry. :old:

Just before Christmas, one of my private clarinet students had a crack running along the top joint of her instrument and almost down into a tone hole. The band had performed in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving parade where all the instruments had sat on an unheated band truck and I guess the extreme cold did it. I hope it can be pinned. It is a Buffet E-11, which is a pretty nice, well made student instrument.

I also have an old Irish flute that is solid wood and it came to me cracked. I want to have it repaired and fixed up to play for fun.

The wood on both instruments is pretty thick, but extreme temperature and humidity changes can wreak havoc with even the best of wood.

I've also had a clarinet crack in my very hands, while i was playing it. I was at All State band festival with my new clarinet (new in December and this was in the spring) and I was warming up for the concert. I felt a pop and thought it was my ears popping. Then, my horn seemed to sound flat. Immediately looked at it and there was a through-crack in the upper joint running down and into and side holes. I played it through that concert and then had it pinned.

Ukejenny
12-30-2014, 11:11 AM
While not a wood crack, I've had a uke get finish cracks while in shipping. A retailer once sent me a uke UPS ground cross-country in record cold weather (-17F or -9C). It arrived in 60F weather and sat warming for 12 hours in an unopened box. This is what the glossy finish looked like when all was at room temp (70F).

This was on G-String concert several years ago. It may have a lot to do with the finish and materials, and the the harsh temperatures. G-Strings with glossy nitro seemed to be fairly susceptible to those types finish cracks, at least around that time frame.

http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Misc/hP1010370_zps425b62a9.jpg
http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Misc/P1010371_zps769fc4a6.jpg

Wow, those finish cracks are pretty amazing (not in a good way). How did they fix that for you?

Doc_J
12-30-2014, 01:23 PM
Wow, those finish cracks are pretty amazing (not in a good way). How did they fix that for you?
The retailer was great, they took the uke back. It was new uke and they chose the shipping.

Ukulele Eddie
12-30-2014, 01:27 PM
I have owned over 250 wooden instruments and have never had one crack on my watch.

Wow, Rich, you. That gives me a target to shoot for. It would be a lot easier if my wife would let me keep more than 2-3. ;-) Even so, I'm over 12 already in a bit over a year. So I might achieve 250 in about 25 years. ;-)