View Full Version : Spanish Heel mistake help

05-25-2018, 10:35 AM
Need some advice on how to address this error. Somehow I glued a side down to the top, with the side in the slot but not fully pressed up against the heel back. So now there's a 1/16 inch gap between where the heel back meets the side towards the uke top plate. The gap closes up fine towards the bottom of the heel when shimmed from inside, but not at the top.

Here's a photo

I figure I have at least three choices:

insert a filler wood strip into the gap, to match neck wood (cherry), and try to blend in and hope it's not ugly.
unglue the side from the uke top plate, (just the top half of the upper bout), and re-glue with the side positioned in heel slot correctly. I'm using hide glue, so I think I could get it apart, but I'm really afraid of cracking the top or doing some other damage in the process.
Just live with the gap. (it's on the right-hand, non-"player's" side).

Any advice appreciated!

05-25-2018, 11:08 AM
Not much of advice I’m afraid, but I’d say option 2 is the only real alternative. Good thing you used hide glue. It ought to work.

05-25-2018, 11:19 AM
Not much of advice Im afraid, but Id say option 2 is the only real alternative. Good thing you used hide glue. It ought to work.

Yes, I am leaning in that direction the more I think about it.

Anyone know the best way to separate the hide glue joint? I've used a hot putty knife before, but that scorches and tears the wood. I wonder if carefully brushing some hot water on it would get it to move?

Also considering putting a little CA glue around the edges of the uke top plate to inhibit a crack, just in case it gets stressed.

05-25-2018, 11:36 AM
You could try one of those hand held steamers and palette knife. I've use one successfully on occasion to unglue binding which hasn't fixed properly.

05-25-2018, 01:55 PM
Alright! I decided to go for it and unglue the area. I wicked a bit of hot water in with a small brush, and they judiciously applied some heat with a heat gun on low. Then with some CAREFUL wiggling, it popped free. Now I can get it into it's proper place. Now to just let it dry out and re-glue.

Lesson learned. Get the sides wedged up into the heal slots BEFORE gluing.

05-25-2018, 06:25 PM
Violin and other similar stringed instruments are repaired this way all the time - remove the top (usually what gets damaged) using a thin spatula type thing often called an opening knife, along with hot water. Glad it worked for you!

05-25-2018, 09:59 PM
I love success stories.

05-27-2018, 04:21 PM
I love success stories.

Me too... Feels so good.