View Full Version : Side Crack on Vita Uke

12-07-2010, 07:22 PM
Well, I finally acquired one of my dream ukes - a Vita. It's in pretty good shape except for a 3" side crack, on what would be the top of the lower bout of a standard figure eight. The crack isn't a surprise; I new it was there, but it appeared tight and easy to repair. I thought I would drop some CA glue in the crack and clamp it with spool clamps. Then I read something I believe Pete Howlett wrote somewhere about needing to reinforce side repairs. I think Pete recommended using tape. The problem is getting inside the uke. I can get a finger in through the "seal" to touch the top of the crack, but cannot reach to the bottom of it. Does anyone recommend strategies or tools to use in making this repair. I am loathe to remove the back. I also don't want to break a seal's leg and get PETA after me. Thanks so much.

12-08-2010, 01:17 AM
Some ideas: you need a pair of surgical forcepts or something similar. They are long thin pliers that have a 45 or 90 degree bend. The you can take a thin sheet of veneer patch that is very flexible, put some hide glue on it and position it roughly in place. Get a small sand bag or other similar soft weighted pouch, place the uke on its side and drop that on it to serve as a clamp.
You might be able to McGyver something as well: bend a 90 degree curve in a stick, put some double sided tape on the end and stick your patch to that, use another stick to hold it down so you can pull your placement stick off.

12-08-2010, 06:33 PM
Thanks for the advice Rick. I've tried to find a local source for forceps, but have been unsuccessful thus far. I may have to order some online. I like the McGyver idea; I think I could use a couple of bent coat hangers for this. I've also been considering using magnets I have to clamp the patch. The ones I have (purchased for another purpose entirely) are 1/4"x1/4"x3/4", and quite strong so that I have no doubt that they would hold through the thickness of the uke side and the veneer. In fact, they may be too strong.

As I recall, Pete was talking about using tape in lieu of veneer as a patch inside. I do have some archival quality cloth tape. It's the kind used to repair vintage books and artwork on paper. It is also very strong; I cannot tear it - it must be cut. Have you ever heard of using tape for this purpose? I read somewhere that Martin used to line the sides of their guitars with tape as a preventative measure against side cracks. I appreciate your input.

12-09-2010, 02:47 AM
I have heard of people using glue soaked medical guaze, same concept I would guess. I'm a total amateur at this so take everything I say with a grain of salt;)

12-09-2010, 02:56 AM
Rick, where do I put the salt? - I'm an amateur, too!

12-09-2010, 07:19 AM
on the margarita glass

12-09-2010, 08:05 AM
Rare earth magnets make very good clamping devices for working on the insides of instruments.


12-09-2010, 05:04 PM
Thanks, Brad!

Rick, that's right, that's where I saw the salt! I believe it was Tuesday night.