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View Full Version : Dropped off my Kamaka tenor for repairs at Kamaka factory -- then I didn't.



wickedwahine11
07-05-2011, 11:23 AM
So a while back, I noticed that there had been some top seam issues on my Kamaka HF3. There wasn't a crack, but the seam where the bookmatching occurs had become raised on the face of the ukulele -as well as on the bottom near the input jack.

So I put it into a case with two humidifiers for the past two weeks. The bottom portion near the input jack completely sealed back up. The top portion improved. The seam is still tactile, but not as bad as it was.

I decided to take it into Kamaka to see about getting it repaired, but since I got into Oahu on Saturday I couldn't take it before today (the factory was closed Sunday and Monday due to 4th of July). This morning I went in to have them look at it.

They did a diagnosis and said they would have to re-sand it and then reglue it to repair it. I pointed out a bubble spot in the finish from when they refinished it for me last year and they said they could take care of it for me as well, plus they would sand the back to remove some scratches (never wearing a button down shirt while playing it again). The good news was it would only take a day to do the work and a day to dry -- so I could pick it up on Thursday.

The bad news is I leave the island to go home tomorrow. So I decided to have them do the work, then ship the uke back to me at home. I filled out the ticket, and left it (as well as my new Kamoa case to ship it in) and walked out the door.

I didn't make it ten feet before panicking about my case. I ordered that case months ago and just picked it up in Kauai after months of waiting. Plus, the last time I dropped off a uke and case at Kamaka last year, they damaged my Ameritage case -- no real issue but they did get some white paint like stuff on it that won't come off. I don't care about that on the Ameritage, but this custom color Kamoa case that I waited months for, uh uh!

So I walked back into the shop and told them I didn't want to leave the case. That I would buy one of their Kamaka cases to have them ship it in.

Got back outside five minutes later and immediately started freaking out about leaving the Kamaka. Here is the thing...my other ukes cost more, and I'll never be the level of player where this should matter, but that thing is my baby. In a burning house I grab the cat and the Kamaka. So I was stressing out about it and went back in and took the Kamaka back too.

The thing is, I'll be back in Oahu in September for a week and I figured if the repairs only take a day or two to do, and I can drop it off on a Monday then hopefully they can fix it and let me pick it up by Friday. Worst case scenario they have to ship it home to me -- the same situation I'm in right now. At least then I can have them ship it in a different case and there is also the small chance that my humidifying might fix it on its own.

The lady at Kamaka said there was also the chance that it could get worse by September so I should leave it there today. She is right, it could. But in that case, I will ship it to them immediately for the repairs. But if I just drop it off in September and pick it up the same week, I figure I'm opting for that.

Yep, I know I'm crazy. A week from now, it would have been repaired and back home with me. So in a week I may well regret my decision. But for now, as the case and uke are safely on my back, I feel good. I'm not hyperventilating anymore. And if my humidifying continues to work, it might not even need repairs. And if it doesn't, then I will give it to them in September.

After laughing at how crazy I am (she even joked she wasn't leaving from the counter until she saw me leave the sidewalk outside since I had already gone in three times), she said I could always ship it to them in early September so that it would be ready and waiting for me when I got back to Oahu, so I may choose that option. All I know, is if it gets worse, I'll kick myself. But if it doesn't, my security blanket is with me, and I am glad it isn't out of my possession for the time being. It, and the Kamoa case I waited forever for, are safely going home with me tomorrow. And in September, the Kamaka can get her repairs done with me in town to pick it up - saving shipping costs and my sanity.

olgoat52
07-05-2011, 11:30 AM
I dunno.. I would have left it. Shipping it there and back is just that much more risk. Hope it all works out for you.

mm stan
07-05-2011, 11:36 AM
Aloha WW11,
Whaaa you're in town again...wow you're a part time resident here....you must be a millionaire...ha ha but glad to have you back in town and to the islands...I thought your kamaka was your
security blanket..lol as for your scuffed case...try using some type of 409 or fantastic for easier ones and auto polish with some fine abrasive to get the hard ones out..Yeah it's perfect weather
here now...good timing girl....have fun and enjoy....what you didn't even call me up....sheeesh...MM Stan..... PS ..do you even get tempted to visit Pua Pua and buy a new Uke....come on share with us....ha ha:):)

GX9901
07-05-2011, 11:49 AM
I know it's not cool to second guess, but I would have left it for repairs at Kamaka, especially since it would be back to you next week. I've had humidity related issues with my Glyph earlier this year and my Koa Works three years ago. In each case, it took close to 2 months for the ukes to get back to me. But I would just take the opportunity to play my other ukes more when they are away. You've got a couple of other pretty nice ukes, so the week or so without the Kamaka could have been a chance to get those ukes some playing time. But anyway, it doesn't seem like the issue with the Kamaka is that bad, so perhaps it doesn't really need to be left at Kamaka. And September is pretty much just around the corner. :)

rem50
07-05-2011, 11:55 AM
now that is true love...... a bit odd, but true love. :)

mr moonlight
07-05-2011, 12:18 PM
What you need to do is just scuff up the case and get a few scratches on that uke!!!!

mds725
07-05-2011, 12:24 PM
I get it. I hate leaving things. And because you noticed the problem "a while back" and it hasn't gotten worse, it's unlikely to get worse between now and September if you continue to do with it what you've been doing.

My Kamaka just got its first scratches on the soundboard from strumming (note to self: don't play the Kamaka with freshly cut nails) and I'm already tempted to get it fixed!

wickedwahine11
07-05-2011, 12:47 PM
I dunno.. I would have left it. Shipping it there and back is just that much more risk. Hope it all works out for you.

True, shipping both ways would be bad. But I'm only doing that if the situation gets worse. My gamble is that it will keep improving or else stay the same - in which event I would not have to ship it at all. I can bring it in and pick it up later the same week while still in Oahu. At least that is what I am hoping for.

It has repaired itself in part and improved in the other part so barring a sudden worsening of the condition, September will work with me not shipping it either direction. If they need more than the week, they ship it in a cheap case and I am better off than leaving it today - still paying for one way shipping but not risking my Kamoa case. Granted if the situation worsens, I will ship it to them immediately and then would have had to pay both ways. But fingers crossed my gamble will pay off.

NatalieS
07-05-2011, 01:05 PM
I don't blame you for not leaving it. I'm sure the company would have taken great care of it, but sometimes you just get that *feeling* that you can't ignore.

I'm dying to see a picture of your Kamoa case-- do you have one?

hmgberg
07-05-2011, 01:11 PM
True, shipping both ways would be bad. But I'm only doing that if the situation gets worse. My gamble is that it will keep improving or else stay the same - in which event I would not have to ship it at all. I can bring it in and pick it up later the same week while still in Oahu. At least that is what I am hoping for.

It has repaired itself in part and improved in the other part so barring a sudden worsening of the condition, September will work with me not shipping it either direction. If they need more than the week, they ship it in a cheap case and I am better off than leaving it today - still paying for one way shipping but not risking my Kamoa case. Granted if the situation worsens, I will ship it to them immediately and then would have had to pay both ways. But fingers crossed my gamble will pay off.

I understand completely and don't believe you are crazy. You're just profoundly attached to your Kamaka. I probably would have made the same judgment call. It seems like a rational choice to me. Even if it gets worse and you feel compelled to ship it to them (I suspect if it comes to this you'll be in and out of the post office a few times deciding whether or not to leave it), it is not likely to result in a much different kind of repair from what I understand you to say they will do with it when they do have it.

I hope it doesn't get worse. Keep doing what you've been doing. Semptember is soon.

molokinirum
07-05-2011, 01:13 PM
I don't know...I probably would have left it with Kamaka and picked the uke up in September. BTW...did you ask for the Hawaiian resident discount???? lol

mm stan
07-05-2011, 02:13 PM
I don't know...I probably would have left it with Kamaka and picked the uke up in September. BTW...did you ask for the Hawaiian resident discount???? lol

Hey Molokinirum,, I think she's a preffered gold customer status by now...lol

70sSanO
07-05-2011, 02:24 PM
I think you did the right thing.

You have to trust your instincts. Also, you can call ahead in September, so when you show up they will know exactly when you'll be bringing it in.

I'd take the Ameritage, just in case it has to be shipped back.

John

wickedwahine11
07-05-2011, 02:29 PM
I don't blame you for not leaving it. I'm sure the company would have taken great care of it, but sometimes you just get that *feeling* that you can't ignore. I'm dying to see a picture of your Kamoa case-- do you have one?

Yeah the funny thing is, as we had left my mom remarked they had just tossed the case up on a desk. Now I don't fault them at all, to them it is just a case, but that fiberglass scratches as easy as your car does. They can afford to not worry about scratches. I, on the other hand, already sewed a protective bag for it for when it is in an overhead compartment. As for the photo of the Kamoa case hang in there, on Thursday I will post a comprehensive review of it with lots of photos.

wickedwahine11
07-05-2011, 02:32 PM
I get it. I hate leaving things. And because you noticed the problem "a while back" and it hasn't gotten worse, it's unlikely to get worse between now and September if you continue to do with it what you've been doing.

My Kamaka just got its first scratches on the soundboard from strumming (note to self: don't play the Kamaka with freshly cut nails) and I'm already tempted to get it fixed!

Awww, I'm sorry about the scratches. You have my sympathies. If it is any consolation, once you get some more of them (enough to make it worth it), they only charge 50 bucks to sand and refinish so then it looks brand new!

dkcrown
07-05-2011, 02:59 PM
I completely understand your Kamaka love, O wicked one. And as you know, I have it too. But I would have left it with the Komoa case for the repair. After all you bought the case for the ultimate protection for your baby. That's what cases are for. Scratches on the case will inevitably happen anyway.

And who do you think would love your Kamaka almost as much as you? Perhaps the very people that built it for you in the first place. The repair is going to have to be done eventually. I would want my sick baby to be taken care of ASAP, to make sure that it doesn't get worse before it goes back again.

Just my 2 cents

drjond56
07-05-2011, 03:12 PM
Not really trying to make a poll of this, but I would have left the uke. In years upon years of playing trumpets and various fretted instruments, I have long since gotten over worrying about small dings, abrasions, etc., resulting from normal use. Instruments are made to be taken out and used. Consider taking a great horn out with a marching band! As for worrying about a case getting scratched, I believe that is their purpose in life. I have never had a case cover--that seems OCD to me and likely could be controlled with appropriate drugs.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-05-2011, 03:17 PM
I don't know how they can have such a quick turn around time. Other repair shops would have held the uke in a controlled environment for at least a week or so before attempting a repair. I would've left it and had them take their time.

wickedwahine11
07-05-2011, 04:25 PM
Hey guys, I appreciate all the back and forth and differing opinions, I certainly see the other point of view is a very valid (and likely the correct)one. I just was not interested in leaving that case when they already damaged my Ameritage one. I waited six months to get it and have had it less than a week. Judging by how they tossed it aside I wasn't comfortable leaving it there in their supervision.

As for the uke, it already had repaired itself by at least 50 percent, and I am coming back in only two months. To me, it was worth the risk of just bringing back to save on shipping costs and damage to my new $300 case. In the event it gets worse, of course I will ship it back to get the repairs done immediately, in my Ameritage case. But if it stays the same or continues to improve, I didn't see the harm in having them fix it in September so I didn't need to pay for shipping, as they said they could fix it while I am on the island, provided the repairs are at the same level. Interesting note Chuck that you disagree - they said they would just be resanding and regluing the top. Hmm.

I fully admit to the OCD described (anyone who remembers the Pineapple Sunday saga would concur), but I'm not carrying it around in a case cover. However, you buy a case that costs almost 300 bucks and put it in an overhead compartment of a plane (the only time I use a case cover), with people shoving their wheel bags in there, wheels first, and you might contemplate doing the same thing. But by all means, if you disagree, I respect your right to do so...I'd rather you kept yourcthoughts on my needing medication to yourself though. Oh don't worry, ibknow you are not in the minority, I'm sure many agree with you, but still, no need to be nasty.

wickedwahine11
07-05-2011, 04:30 PM
Sigh, I hate typing on an iPad in this forum, please excuse my typos and errors in the last post...it won't let me edit that last paragraph, thereby making me not only crazy but apparently illiterate as well.

ItsAMeCasey
07-05-2011, 04:49 PM
When I first saw the title for this thread I thought you dropped your Kamaka off for repairs and they lost it lol o.o But i'm glad that's not the case lol! I don't blame you for not wanting to leave your Kamaka with the Kamoa case. Those are two very expensive items and i'm sure you would feel so sick if something were to have happened. I know I would.

Mandarb
07-06-2011, 04:59 AM
I have some questions....

What case did you use on the way to Hawaii? Any problems with the size of the Ameritage when flying?

I thought repairs could take a year from Kamaka. Is the quick turn around due to the fact that you are dropping it off in person?

wickedwahine11
07-06-2011, 05:18 AM
I have some questions....

What case did you use on the way to Hawaii? Any problems with the size of the Ameritage when flying?

I thought repairs could take a year from Kamaka. Is the quick turn around due to the fact that you are dropping it off in person?

I took my old Kamaka case over to Hawaii. When I picked up the new Kamoa one, I left it at the store and told them to donate it to the next person who could not afford to buy a case. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake because if I had kept it I would have left the Kamaka to be repaired and had them ship it back to me in that. But I didn't want to try to take two tenor cases on my flight when I already had a carry on bag and didn't want to pay $25 bucks to check it when I had no intention of keeping it.

Nope,I've never had any problems with the Ameritage as far as getting it onto a plane past security or the gate agent. My only issue in traveling with the Ameritage is it's weight.

As for the repairs, I don't know why they were willing to do it so quickly. I know last July they refinished my uke for me in a few days and I dropped it off in person. That mightvhelp, but I think it also depends on the length of the repair too, this job only took one day of manpower and one day of drying time. If it hadn't been for the Fourth of July holiday, or I had been staying until Thursday they could have done it for me before I left. But I also think the one year window is just a guideline or to buy them time. I have a friend who sent in her Kamaka and they mailed it back within a couple of months.

webby
07-06-2011, 05:29 AM
That's a great story, I can just picture you going back into the shop 3 times lol.

Mandarb
07-06-2011, 07:57 AM
I took my old Kamaka case over to Hawaii. When I picked up the new Kamoa one, I left it at the store and told them to donate it to the next person who could not afford to buy a case. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake because if I had kept it I would have left the Kamaka to be repaired and had them ship it back to me in that. But I didn't want to try to take two tenor cases on my flight when I already had a carry on bag and didn't want to pay $25 bucks to check it when I had no intention of keeping it.

Nope,I've never had any problems with the Ameritage as far as getting it onto a plane past security or the gate agent. My only issue in traveling with the Ameritage is it's weight.

As for the repairs, I don't know why they were willing to do it so quickly. I know last July they refinished my uke for me in a few days and I dropped it off in person. That mightvhelp, but I think it also depends on the length of the repair too, this job only took one day of manpower and one day of drying time. If it hadn't been for the Fourth of July holiday, or I had been staying until Thursday they could have done it for me before I left. But I also think the one year window is just a guideline or to buy them time. I have a friend who sent in her Kamaka and they mailed it back within a couple of months.

Thanks for the detailed answers. I have the ProTec uke case for my Kamaka. It is a great case but it is a little on the larger size (probably similiar to the Ameritage) and I am not sure if I would ever have a problem flying with it. Good luck with your Kamaka - hope it gets fixed up one way or another.

deadpool
07-06-2011, 08:23 AM
Not to change the direction of the thread, but you may be able to get it fixed by humidifying. There used to be (may still be there) a video on the Taylor Guitar web site showing the humidification of a badly separated top seam on a guitar. They humidified it aggressivly for I think it was more than two weeks, checking it every day. At then end you couldn't tell there had been any issue at all. Worth a try anyway. Good Luck and BTW, tough decision on wheter to leave it or not. Shipping is always a risky proposition.

joejeweler
07-11-2011, 07:30 PM
I don't know how they can have such a quick turn around time. Other repair shops would have held the uke in a controlled environment for at least a week or so before attempting a repair. I would've left it and had them take their time.

That's kinda what i was thinking,......especially since i just parused their website and saw the "stated" repair times currently of ONE YEAR to 18 MONTHS! Wow,.....must be super busy for sure. I was a bench jewelry repairman for 35 years,.....and kinda prioritized repairs for items i made up and were sold thru the stores where i worked.

Folks get attached to their ukes almost as much as their jewelry, i guess. Well,...maybe not as much as the OP!

BTW,...sounds like the Kamaka worker was doing you a favor. She must have sensed her life might have been in danger had
she quoted you a year to a year and a half! :D

http://www.kamakahawaii.com/servicing.html

QUOTE:

Service & Repair

Please visit Kamaka Hawaii, Inc. to obtain a repair quote. Prior to repairing your ukulele, we need to personally inspect it at the factory. Estimates are free. Repair time is approximately one year to 18 months depending on the condition of the repair