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View Full Version : Bought a Fluke Tiki Flea with a cracked back ...



J_Tay81
11-27-2010, 07:20 PM
...Do you all think it will affect the sound or projection? I've included a pic of it below. I'm buying it from a guy on Craig's List who says that that is the only problem with it (but, of course, this is sight-unseen so who knows?) It's only costing me $70 plus shipping and it comes with the Flea gig bag too.

I guess I want to know if I'm getting a smoking deal or just getting smoked?
Anybody have a Fluke or Flea ukulele with a damaged back? How has that affected the sound?

18042

Thanks for your feedback!

Uncle Leroy
11-27-2010, 07:27 PM
I think Ukester Brown bought one with a cracked back and he used super glue to fix it. Maybe he will chime in and tell you exactly what he did.

bazmaz
11-27-2010, 11:06 PM
I doubt it will make a huge difference - I read a thread somewhere a while back about someone who cracked a hole in the back of a Flea and swore it sounded fuller!

All I would worry about is whether the crack could spread and lose the structural strength of the body

mm stan
11-27-2010, 11:56 PM
Sounds like a good deal, $60.00 would even be better, then you could buy the super glue...to fix it...
Too bad you have to take the guy's word on it...is the uke close to where you live??? Good Luck! MM Stan..

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 04:58 AM
The uke is about 3 hours from my home town, so I can't run down easily and check it out. I figured, for the price, I'll take a shot and see what happens. I too, also worry about the crack spreading and losing some structural integrity. But for such a low price, again, I'll take the chance. As long as that's the ONLY issue with the uke, I'll be a happy camper!

Gmoney
11-28-2010, 05:05 AM
From the looks of the crack, it appears pretty close to centered behind the soundhole, so you should be able to glue it from the inside while reinforcing the seam w/some gauze or similar material. I'd guess super-glue or something similar but it might be a good question for Flea themselves to ask. Looks like it took a whack while brandished to swat a slightly bigger flea!

I'd probably buy for that price myself.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 05:40 AM
Ha! Yeah I know, it might have been used as an impromptu fly/flea swatter! Would I just use regular, cotton gauze to help reinforce that crack? Just glue it down?

Gmoney
11-28-2010, 05:52 AM
Ha! Yeah I know, it might have been used as an impromptu fly/flea swatter! Would I just use regular, cotton gauze to help reinforce that crack? Just glue it down?

So... IANAL (I am not a Luthier!)... but, since this is a plastic back instrument to begin with, I think I'd take the strings off or just loosen them & tie them back out of the way. Then I'd probably get a length of fiberglass gauze like you see in auto repair stores or home repair stores - they make them in rolls. As to the glue - super-glue or CA Titebond maybe, except that there is the fact that superglue sets so fast & tends to stick to your fingers.

Might want to ask in the luthier forum as they may can recomend a slower set glue that will still do the job. I've seen photos of crack repair on the sides of wooden ukes where the luthier used just common cotton gauze saturated in Titebond as a reinforcement like this - thats what gave me the idea.

Hope it works!

Gmoney
11-28-2010, 06:03 AM
Here's a thread on another forum that mentions gauze & thin & thick superglue...

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2098445

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 06:15 AM
Thanks a ton - I'll lurk around and see if I can get some ideas.

soupking
11-28-2010, 06:31 AM
That's not a bad price, but I'd be more concerned with how it got all cracked up like that. What'd the guy do? Drop it from atop the Empire State Building? Seriously. I own a Flea and a Fluke and I can't even imagine a scenario where a crack that big could occur. He literally must have been playing baseball with it or something.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 06:38 AM
That's not a bad price, but I'd be more concerned with how it got all cracked up like that. What'd the guy do? Drop it from atop the Empire State Building? Seriously. I own a Flea and a Fluke and I can't even imagine a scenario where a crack that big could occur. He literally must have been playing baseball with it or something.

I know, right? These puppies are supposed to be pretty durable. I'm willing to take a chance that that is the only damage the Flea has because of the price, but I've kind of lowered my expectations just in case something else is wrong with it (bad intonation from using it to hammer nails, or whatnot :) )

shrink9
11-28-2010, 06:45 AM
I detect UKE ABUSE!! Someone call protective services!!

I would encourage you to contact the manufacturers and see what they would recommend for the repair.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 06:58 AM
I would encourage you to contact the manufacturers and see what they would recommend for the repair.

I took your advice and emailed the Magic Flea Co. Hopefully they have some advice for me on 'MacGuyvering' something to make her ship-shape again.

cletus
11-28-2010, 07:24 AM
Cracked or not, it's a zombie killer.
Good luck and happy tunes.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 07:53 AM
Cracked or not, it's a zombie killer.
Good luck and happy tunes.

Haha - I'll keep it with me when I'm watching "The Walking Dead" tonight!

bazmaz
11-28-2010, 07:56 AM
soupking raises an excellent point - whilst I had originally said it may be ok - what did the seller do to it?

My under one year old daughter pushed my fluke down a big flight of stairs - one ding in wood on headstock, nothing more.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 08:00 AM
I sent an email to the seller about an hour ago and haven't heard back. I'm curious as to what happened myself. I've heard that these things are bullet-proof by and large. I'll let you all know what I find out if you'd like.

haole
11-28-2010, 08:38 AM
It does look like a pretty good deal, as long as you can keep the crack from getting worse. Let us know what the seller did to it. D: I've knocked mine off a table and onto a hard floor with no adverse effects, so you'd almost have to TRY to break a Flea. :O

GreatGazukes
11-28-2010, 09:01 AM
There is a product called Plastruct Plastic Weld which is sold in model train shops, which does a good job of putting plastic things back together. It actually melts the plastic so when it hardens it sticks together (I used it to glue together a plastic joint thing in a flywire door)

Tap out from the inside so the cracks are flat and in postion then use the thin brush from the bottle and run it along the crack, (dont flood it, it is very watery and you will just need a trickle) the product will seep into the crack and by capillary action work it's way into the crack.....it sets in minutes and the excess evaporates off.....Important--leave for 24 hours to set hard!

The product is clear so you wont have glue discoloration, just a faint line, this is why you dont flood the crack

REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT USE IN A WELL VENTILATED SPOT...OUT SIDE WITH THE WIND BLOWING AWAY FROM YOU...THIS STUFF IS DANGEROUS...DO NOT BREATHE IN THIS STUFF

It's made by a company called Plastruct Inc in California.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 09:10 AM
GreatGazukes -

Thanks for the tip. That sounds like just the ticket. I'll poke around online and see what I can find price-wise.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 09:21 AM
Tap out from the inside so the cracks are flat and in postion then use the thin brush from the bottle and run it along the crack, (dont flood it, it is very watery and you will just need a trickle) the product will seep into the crack and by capillary action work it's way into the crack.....it sets in minutes and the excess evaporates off.....Important--leave for 24 hours to set hard!

The product is clear so you wont have glue discoloration, just a faint line, this is why you dont flood the crack

.

OK, I bought a bottle of this from an online hobby store. Do you think I should apply this stuff on the inside or the outside? If it dries clear with no residue, then I gues it doesn't really matter. Or should I apply on both inside and out for full strength? As a side note - the plastic adhesive says its's designed for ABS plastic which I BELIEVE is the material that the Fluke backs are made of (correct me if I'm wrong). Hopefully this all goes off without a hitch. I either got a great deal or got screwed.

Time will tell and I'll let you all know how it turns out!

harpdog
11-28-2010, 09:34 AM
Should be fine.
Ain't you never heard o duct tape?

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 09:36 AM
Haha - duct tape will fix anything (just ask my dad!) To hear him talk, it's a gift from the heavens.

J_Tay81
11-28-2010, 10:07 AM
Got a reply back from the seller. He bought several instruments in bulk and the Flea was in there. He says he has no idea ho it occurred. He and his wife have a cigar box uke, don't feel they need two (blasphemy!) and wanted to sell the Flea. Again, he claims it plays and sounds fine. Just has that crack in the back (But then, don't we all?) :)

J_Tay81
12-02-2010, 01:52 PM
Got my cracked Tiki Flea today! The crack really isn't that bad at all - when the Plastiweld arrives I think that'll do the trick. I'm not used to friction tuners - every little twist of the peg has a HUGE difference! Does anybody know what the stock Flea strings are? These are black and don't feel as nice as the Aquilas on my other ukes. Very happy with my purchase! I think the strings need to settle in a bit, and I had to slightly tighten the friction tuners, but other than that, I'm a happy camper.

Ukulele Jim
12-02-2010, 01:56 PM
Sounds like it's got the stock strings. Both my Flukes had those. I think they're GHS.

J_Tay81
12-02-2010, 02:02 PM
Sounds like it's got the stock strings. Both my Flukes had those. I think they're GHS.

Thanks. Any suggestions for future string changes? Aquilas or Worth Browns, etc.? What makes these Fleas sing?

SweetWaterBlue
12-02-2010, 03:05 PM
The stock Flea strings are HiLo's. I put Aquilias on mine as soon as I got it, but the Aquilas can be harsh and some prefer the more mellow tone of the HiLos.

cletus
12-02-2010, 03:09 PM
I switched the crummy stock strings on my Fluke for Aquilas and it sounds much, much better. I'll try the Worth browns at some point, just because a lot of folks here have liked them.

J_Tay81
12-02-2010, 03:26 PM
I have to admit - when compared to my Makala Dolphin that has Aquilas on it, the stock Flea sounds slightly inferior to my tin ears. Not bad, just not as loud, bright, or full. I also dislike the way they feel on my finger tips (personal nitpicking here). I'll keep 'em on for the time being, but a future switch to Browns or Aquilas may be in order. Anybody know anything about Martin uke strings? Just curious on those.

J_Tay81
12-03-2010, 02:25 PM
I played devil's advocate today and switched out the stock Hilos for Martin M600's on my Tiki Flea. They haven't quite settled in yet, but to me they already seem less 'plinky' and fuller. The volume seems to be up as well. But we'll see how they sound in the next few days of stretching and fine-tuning. They certainly feel better fretting chords. And the clear color makes them a bit easier to see on the black fretboard.