View Full Version : Best Glue for Repairs?

Ahnko Honu
03-17-2009, 04:27 PM
I need Ex-Spurt advice on repairing an old ukulele. I have a 1915 Koa Kumalae
with a brace that needs reattaching, and it also has a crack in the back. I just bought some hide glue after watching this Youtube video:
After viewing a few more luthier videos where they use plain old Weldwood glue, and also being told "crazy glue" works just fine, I'm a tad confused as to what is the best glue to repairs to this old classic ukulele. What do you experianced luthiers recommend? Your advice is appreciated. :)

03-17-2009, 04:37 PM
Not an expurt but I've used Titebond Original wood glue to piece one of Koalohas back together again.

03-17-2009, 06:58 PM
If you want to maintain the purity of the repair, hide glue is the way to go. Personally, I've only worked with it a couple of times and I didn't like it. If you don't mind modernizing the repair, a PVA based glue is the way to go. Titebond II is easy enough to find and it works well. I heard there's a Titebond III out, but I've never tried it.

Be sure to clean off as much of the old glue as possible, before re-attaching the brace. If it's in an area where it's hard to reach, you might want to go with the krazyglue fix.

The absolute best way to do the repair is to remove or loosen the top or back, so you can get in and scrape/sand the glue off the joints of the bracing. Then, glue the brace back in. Then, scrape/sand the face or back joint, and follow up by gluing that back into place. Kind of a lot of work, if you just want to get that brace back in. (That's if the brace is in a place that isn't easily accessible.)

Ahnko Honu
03-17-2009, 10:57 PM
Thank you for the sage advice gentlemen, I think I'll try the super glue gel for the brace, and hide glue for the crack. I can reach the brace from the sound hole, and have a decent padded mini clamp.
Paul, if you don't mind me asking, and it's not a trade secret would you mind telling me what kind of wood adhesive KoAloha uses? Also how do I go about going on a factory tour with my honey? Mahalo. :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-18-2009, 06:49 AM
I would do just the opposite. For the crack I would use thin ca glue initially because it wicks so well into tiny crevices, followed with medium ca because of it's gap filling properties. Wipe quickly before it dries followed with spray accelerator. If you managed to get the back off I would use Titebond red cap to reglue the brace, otherwise medium ca is OK. The only place I would use hide glue are for parts that may need removal down the road, ei neck joints, fret boards, etc, perhaps tops and backs but never braces.
It's not that I necessarily disagree with what's been advised previously but this would be my own approach. BTW, if one brace has come loose it's likely the rest may soon follow. A better sloution, and it might be a fun project, would be to work the back off and reattach everything with Titebond and wick ca into your plate joints.

Pete Howlett
03-18-2009, 08:38 AM
I'm lazy - if I have a suspect top and I just cannot find the loose brace or whatever I flood the front with very thin cyno. It just binds everything together and has worked everytime I have done it. However, where the repair is visible, I'd use red cap as Chuck suggest.

There is a good article on hide glue in this months Acoustic Guitar I believe - Frank Ford doing his mojo thing!

03-18-2009, 07:16 PM
Well, to tell the truth, I would give the repair to Brian, who I've passed my repair repair duties onto. Easiest fix ever!

I didn't read clearly enough and completely ignored the part about the crack. Like Chuck and Pete, I would CA the crack, and "white" glue the brace. (Actually give it to Brian)

For the record, I don't like repairs as much as building. It's an art in itself and I have a ton of respect for the great repair people out there.

We use Wilson Art. It's similar to Titebond. They're both PVA based resin glues, but I prefer Wilson Art. We do workshops with a few schools yearly and sometimes it's difficult to get our glue to the site. In those instances, we just go to the local hardware store and use Titebond. The working set time is a little quicker with the Wilson Art. That's the main reason I don't like Titebond. From what I hear, Titebond III is supposed to be pretty good, but I've never tried it.

On the subject of glue. I did my own experiment to test the weatherability of CA. It's awesome. I made a trellis out of some cut offs, for the garden my son and I planted. After our beans didn't sprout, the trellis remained in the dirt for about a year. It took a beating from the rain, wind, and sun. When I finally got back into the garden to take it down, 90% of the CA joints were not only intact, I had to snap the wood to break it apart. I was really surprised at how well it stood up to the elements. I know most people won't be taking their uke into a storm, but I sure have a lot more confidence in a CA joint.