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View Full Version : Crack in uke, any local luthiers?



bunnyflower
01-19-2011, 12:53 PM
Heya- I am heartbroken. I discovered a crack on my uke today. I am not sure how it happened; maybe it's this very weird weather for us lately.

Anyhow, anyone local to GA that would be interested in looking at it for a repair? And, do you guys think I should leave the strings on or take them off? I don't know what would be best. The crack is parallel to the neck of the uke, from the bottom of the bridge down to the end.

Allen
01-21-2011, 10:31 AM
Not local you you at all, but just from the description of the crack it sounds like it's following the grain. Probably should slacken off the strings.

Gmoney
01-21-2011, 10:36 AM
Did you find a luthier? What kind of uke is it? Where did you buy it? Might it still be warranteed? Mike a UkeRepublic might know of a luthier in ATL area.

bunnyflower
01-22-2011, 04:02 AM
It's an Ohana zebrawood. Haven't found a local luthier yet. I bought it from Mike, actually. It's been over a year, so I am sure it's not still warranted.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out why it might have happened when I realized it was probably the insane temperature at work; it was like 90 degrees in here that day (the heaters never work right), and it's been very cool at my house. I bring and use my uke at work every day for kids' programs.

I was gonna give Mike a call if I didn't hear anything here. Still sad because it's my favorite/nice one that I play all the time. Hoping someone can repair it ok though.

Gmoney
01-22-2011, 04:46 AM
It's an Ohana zebrawood. Haven't found a local luthier yet. I bought it from Mike, actually. It's been over a year, so I am sure it's not still warranted.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out why it might have happened when I realized it was probably the insane temperature at work; it was like 90 degrees in here that day (the heaters never work right), and it's been very cool at my house. I bring and use my uke at work every day for kids' programs.

I was gonna give Mike a call if I didn't hear anything here. Still sad because it's my favorite/nice one that I play all the time. Hoping someone can repair it ok though.


Have you had a humidifier in the case w/it? It sounds like a humidity issue. I have a vintage Kamaka soprano that when I bought it, I found a hairline crack just above the soundhole. I still may get it repaired professionally, but... after a couple of weeks sealed in a plastic bag w/ an Oasis humidifer (took it out once to refill the humidifier), the crack totally disappeared. There's a thread here on UU about making your own humidifier, or you can purchase an Oasis from Mike.

That zebrawood IS very beautiful, but really needs to kept in its case w/a humidifier. I'll see if I can locate an ATL area luthier... and others may have a line on one as well. It may only need the crack cleated & a little hide glue squirted into it to get it permanently fixed.

mzuch
01-22-2011, 04:59 AM
I've never done business with them, but you might try:

Maple Street Guitars
3199 Maple Drive
Atlanta, GA 30305
404.231.5214

Gmoney
01-22-2011, 05:09 AM
And/or...

W.T. Brooks
http://www.wtbrooks.com/index.htm

Also, Atlanta Guitar Works teaches repair classes - they might have a list of recommended luthiers as well as might do repair themselves.

http://www.atlantaguitarworks.com/

bunnyflower
01-22-2011, 05:14 AM
I do keep it in a case with a humidifier, though, I had it out of the case using it on and off for most of that day I discovered the crack. It's not a huge crack, so I hope it's not a hugely difficult repair...


Have you had a humidifier in the case w/it? It sounds like a humidity issue. I have a vintage Kamaka soprano that when I bought it, I found a hairline crack just above the soundhole. I still may get it repaired professionally, but... after a couple of weeks sealed in a plastic bag w/ an Oasis humidifer (took it out once to refill the humidifier), the crack totally disappeared. There's a thread here on UU about making your own humidifier, or you can purchase an Oasis from Mike.

That zebrawood IS very beautiful, but really needs to kept in its case w/a humidifier. I'll see if I can locate an ATL area luthier... and others may have a line on one as well. It may only need the crack cleated & a little hide glue squirted into it to get it permanently fixed.

Gmoney
01-22-2011, 05:24 AM
I do keep it in a case with a humidifier, though, I had it out of the case using it on and off for most of that day I discovered the crack. It's not a huge crack, so I hope it's not a hugely difficult repair...

Can you see light through it? (go in a dark room w/a flashlight & shine it inside the body while looking at the crack from the outside) - if not, it really might close completely w/some intense humification therepy. Call Mike at UkeRepublic anyway - he's been doing this long enough that he may have a line on someone willing to take on a simple crack repair. In fact, we both know one of the members of the SEUkers group who has fixed cracks on several vintage ukes of his own & might be willing to do yours as well. He repaired cracks in a VERY old Kamaka pineapple that Mike at Uke Republic now has in his own collection.

bunnyflower
01-22-2011, 05:43 AM
That would be awesome... I will check on the light thing as soon as I am off of work!!


Can you see light through it? (go in a dark room w/a flashlight & shine it inside the body while looking at the crack from the outside) - if not, it really might close completely w/some intense humification therepy. Call Mike at UkeRepublic anyway - he's been doing this long enough that he may have a line on someone willing to take on a simple crack repair. In fact, we both know one of the members of the SEUkers group who has fixed cracks on several vintage ukes of his own & might be willing to do yours as well. He repaired cracks in a VERY old Kamaka pineapple that Mike at Uke Republic now has in his own collection.

curlykoa
01-22-2011, 06:09 AM
youtube has excellent videos demonstrating crack repair using hide glue which is inexpensive and easy to use. $7 will purchase enough to last a lifetime (Stewart MacDonald or Luthier's Mercantile online) in your freezer. You mix it with water about equal water and glue and heat it gently until it is the consistency of honey. (It IS smelly!) Then you apply it with your finger over the crack and tap, tap, tap with that finger to help work the glue into the crack. Wipe excess off the surface with a barely damp cloth.

I have repaired a few cracks that way. One was an old tourist uke of koa veneer that had cracked from the neck heel back along the side for 4 or so inches. My repair has held for other a year now. Beside the bridge is a place under quite a bit of tension, but I think you could repair it yourself and learn so much in the process. Good luck. Wendy

Tarhead
01-22-2011, 10:07 AM
If you really want to fix it yourself, fresh Titebond I glue will work fine. No need for Hide Glue unless you have it or want to use it (Highland, Rockler and Woodcraft in Atlanta also have Hide glue BTW). You'll need to pry up on the top from inside to arch it a little (<1/128") to expand the crack while you apply it. If you can't get your fingers deep inside to apply upward pressure, a small round rubber balloon will work if you inflate it very slowly (I mean VERY slowly). You're just trying to arch the top a smidgen. After you open the crack up a little, rub the glue into the crack well with a fingertip and then let the top go back to the original plane. Use some blue masking tape stretched from side to side across the top to pull it together tight. Wipe all the squeezeout away with a damp paper towell. Repeat with another clean damp paper towell and let it dry overnight. Any dried glue around the crack can be cleaned with a Q-Tip dipped in white Vinegar.

bunnyflower
02-09-2011, 04:27 AM
Well, I got the flu and was down for a long time, so it's been a while!

I can't really see light coming through the crack, but, I don't have a flashlight that's small enough to actually stick in the hole and try to shine "up" either, so, that may make a difference. I dropped Mike a line and hopefully will hear from him shortly about someone local who can help. (I am afraid to attempt to repair this without some help.) Thanks for the advice and encouragement!