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1890
12-29-2017, 02:46 PM
Good day everyone,

My new solid mahogany Eastman ukulele arrived this morning. I was a shopworn sale, so I wasn't expecting perfection, and I'm not upset with any of the minor cosmetic issues.

It has a nitrocellulose gloss lacquer finish and there are cracks in the lacquer on both sides of the lower bout. The lines running from the front to the back.

105669

Does this need to get repaired or is any special care required? They're only visible from specific angles and they can't be felt at all with my fingers or nails or anything. Do you think the cracks were a result of extreme cold temps that it was delivered in? A delivery attempt was made yesterday, and I missed it, so I don't know how it was stored overnight, or whether or not the back of FedEx trucks are well heated. It was -29 C (-20 F) when the uke was delivered this morning.

Also, there are some small chips by the A string slot in the bone nut, but the string appears to be securely seated, so I don't think it should be a problem. I couldn't get a good picture, but you can see some shadows on both sides of the A string.

105670

When I first picked up the box from the courier, I heard something rattling around and I got worried the uke was damaged, but luckily it was a free humidifier that the company included for shipping. That was a nice surprise.

I don't think any of these are deal breakers for a shopworn instrument. Do you guys agree?

Thanks everyone!

Booli
12-29-2017, 05:07 PM
At least for me, the photos are too small to show any detail. This is common if you uploaded directly from your phone as most mobile browsers will resize and shrink photos much smaller than the original.

Maybe you can re-upload the pix from your desktop?

1890
12-30-2017, 08:12 AM
Thanks Booli. I've tried to improve the pictures in the post. I hope these work better.

RichM
12-30-2017, 08:25 AM
What you are describing is commonly called finish crazing. this occurs when the finish cracks from below. It is usually cosmetic, and doesn't require any special attention. The most common cause of finish crazing is a rapid change in temperature, from cold to warm. Both wood and finish will contract somewhat in very cold temperatures; if the instrument is moved from a very cold temperature to a warm temperature, the wood may expand faster than the finish can, resulting in the finish cracks. While it's best to avoid exposing your uke to very cold temperatures at all, it is best to slowly acclimate it to room temperature. When receiving a wooden instrument in the winter, it is wise to leave it in the box in your house for a few hours, to allow it to slowly acclimate to the new temperature.

If you received the uke from a cold truck this morning and immediately removed it from the box, there's a very good chance this caused the finish crazing. It should have no effect at all on the tone or durability of your uke.

BlackBearUkes
12-30-2017, 09:02 AM
If the finish is indeed nitro lacquer, the only way to repair the look is to amalgamate the finish with a thin layer of fresh lacquer or to remove the old lacquer and apply fresh finish. This is a job for a professional. I would just leave it alone and play it the way it is. If the nut works OK, just leave it.



Good day everyone,

My new solid mahogany Eastman ukulele arrived this morning. I was a shopworn sale, so I wasn't expecting perfection, and I'm not upset with any of the minor cosmetic issues.

It has a nitrocellulose gloss lacquer finish and there are cracks in the lacquer on both sides of the lower bout. The lines running from the front to the back.

105669

Does this need to get repaired or is any special care required? They're only visible from specific angles and they can't be felt at all with my fingers or nails or anything. Do you think the cracks were a result of extreme cold temps that it was delivered in? A delivery attempt was made yesterday, and I missed it, so I don't know how it was stored overnight, or whether or not the back of FedEx trucks are well heated. It was -29 C (-20 F) when the uke was delivered this morning.

Also, there are some small chips by the A string slot in the bone nut, but the string appears to be securely seated, so I don't think it should be a problem. I couldn't get a good picture, but you can see some shadows on both sides of the A string.

105670

When I first picked up the box from the courier, I heard something rattling around and I got worried the uke was damaged, but luckily it was a free humidifier that the company included for shipping. That was a nice surprise.

I don't think any of these are deal breakers for a shopworn instrument. Do you guys agree?

Thanks everyone!

Booli
12-30-2017, 09:25 AM
Thanks Booli. I've tried to improve the pictures in the post. I hope these work better.

Yes, new photos are much better, thanks :)

I dont know about the finish issues, but folks more experienced than me have given good info above. As to the nut, I would leave it alone and only worry if/when you have strings popping out of the slots, but if the nut is like that and under normal play, you may just never have a problem. The 'A' string is the thinnest and less likely to jump out of the slot unless you are doing something like 10-semitone bends at the first fret.

1890
12-30-2017, 06:56 PM
Thanks everyone!

I tried to be patient and let it acclimatize, but I only gave it about half an hour, so maybe it wasn't enough. It also could have happened during shipping at some point, or could have even left the store like that, since it was shopworn.

The cracks don't bother me at all, and I'm very happy to enjoy the uke just as it is. I just wanted to make sure that it didn't need any special or immediate attention or repair.

Happy New Year and happy playing!

jcalkin
01-01-2018, 04:59 AM
Long ago I interviewed a well-known luthier who believed that lacquer crazing improved the tone of instruments by breaking the surface tension of the finish and releasing the wood to vibrate more. He listed this as one of the reasons vintage instruments often sounded better than new instruments, and a reason to strive for the thinnest possible finish in our builds.

So I've listed this as one of the important two per cents. No one can hear a 2% change in the response of an instrument. But if you can find five things to change in a positive way that's a 10% improvement that anyone can hear. Little details matter.

jhnmdahl
01-01-2018, 03:52 PM
One of the great things about lacquer is that new coats "burn in" to old coats, essentially becoming one. Similarly, lacquer thinner will cause lacquer to essentially melt and re-flow, although this can be hard to control. For the chipping on the head in particular, a local finisher could likely wipe some thin lacquer on and fix the chipping on the edge pretty easily.

1890
01-01-2018, 07:30 PM
Long ago I interviewed a well-known luthier who believed that lacquer crazing improved the tone of instruments by breaking the surface tension of the finish and releasing the wood to vibrate more. He listed this as one of the reasons vintage instruments often sounded better than new instruments, and a reason to strive for the thinnest possible finish in our builds.

So I've listed this as one of the important two per cents. No one can hear a 2% change in the response of an instrument. But if you can find five things to change in a positive way that's a 10% improvement that anyone can hear. Little details matter.

Thanks jcalkin. That's really interesting! Now my goal is to learn to play it well and care for it properly so maybe one day this can be a nice vintage instrument. :)