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garyg
07-09-2011, 08:16 AM
Hi folks, several weeks ago I posted about dropping my KoAloha pikake soprano and it turns out that I was a bit overly optimistic about the lack of damage. About 10 days ago I noticed a tight crack between the bottom of the instrument and the bridge. You can barely see it, you can feel it, but I can't detect any effect on the sound. Neither portion of the wood is raised to any significant extent. So what should I do? I don't really want to spend hundreds fixing the uke and I'm wondering if I should just let it be and play it until it does require repair? Or should I consider repair by a competent luthier now? TIA, g2

olgoat52
07-09-2011, 08:29 AM
I think that's a no brainer. If you were talkinga about a makala or a dolphin, I'd probably let it go, but a KoAloha?? That's a lot of bucks for one of those. At a minimum you should have the crack stabilized with a cleat under the top. I would guess you are talking less than $100 by a competent luthier. The might be able to lay some cyno acrylic glue in the crack to further stabilize it. I would not rely on the glue alone. The cleats are small squares about 1/4 to 3/8 and maybe 1/8 to 3/16 thick. They will help stop the crack from spreading and keep both side of the crack in the same plane.

Don't screw around with this. get it done. At least get a quote.

Rick Turner
07-09-2011, 09:25 AM
DO NOT attempt to fix this yourself, particularly with CA glue. No epoxy, no polyurethane, and I'd say no carpenter's glue either. If you misalign while trying to glue, you'll never be able to fix it.

The best glue for repairing top cracks is hot hide glue for a whole list of reasons. Yes, the inside of the crack should be cleated as well.

hmgberg
07-09-2011, 05:25 PM
Yes, I agree with Rcik, you don't want to use CA glue on this repair; but I also agree with olgoat52, it's a no brainer to fix it and it shouldn't cost too much. In my experience, good repairpersons are charging about $40.00-$50.00/hr. I've seen some advertise a per inch amount for crack repairs. I'm not really sure how they can do it as some cracks are much harder to get at and fix. Anyway, I've seen, as I recall $25.00/inch. Good luck.

Coconut Willie
07-10-2011, 12:53 AM
A crack in a KoAloha....I'd get it fixed. Have you contacted KoAloha and asked them about the possible cost to fix it?

garyg
07-10-2011, 02:13 AM
Thanks everyone, someone told me that it would cost several Benjamins and that's why I hesitated because I can get another for $350. Even at $100 it's an easy decision. I love that uke.

olgoat52
07-10-2011, 11:16 AM
KoAloha might be a good bet for something more major. The shipping round trip would be close $100. For this I would find a good local luthier. I think you will be surprised at the cost to fix it. Who ever told you a could of hundred either doesn't know what they are talking about or the damage is much more extensive than you have described.

Good luck. Get it fixed as soon as possible.

Rick Turner
07-10-2011, 11:56 AM
There are really two issues: 1) fixing and reinforcing the crack...not all that difficult, and 2) touching up the finish...that can be a real issue. If you are willing to live with a decent repair that may be visible and that you'll likely feel, you can get off cheap. If you want it to go away, it could really get expensive up to the point of refinishing the top. It might also be possible to fix the crack using hot hide glue and then touch it up very carefully with CA, but it takes and expert, and there are no guarantees. Cosmetic repair work on instruments is very skilled work.

garyg
07-10-2011, 01:12 PM
Hey, I'm a guy that drives a 96 Volvo 960 wagon -- I can live with cosmetic defects. Thanks everyone, tomorrow the KoAloha goes to the local expert luthier (guy that used to own Mossman Guitars). Have a good week. g2

Rick Turner
07-10-2011, 02:15 PM
Oh, one other thing...$40.00 to $50.00 an hour for a "real luthier" shop time is way on the cheap side. Maybe that works for someone working in their garage, but not a pro store, and not in any major metropolitan area that I know of. California rates are more like $75.00 an hour for a good shop where work is done efficiently and carefully. Figure it to be about the same as a decent foreign car mechanic...not a shade tree guy with parts left over at the end of a job...

hmgberg
07-10-2011, 02:34 PM
Oh, one other thing...$40.00 to $50.00 an hour for a "real luthier" shop time is way on the cheap side. Maybe that works for someone working in their garage, but not a pro store, and not in any major metropolitan area that I know of. California rates are more like $75.00 an hour for a good shop where work is done efficiently and carefully. Figure it to be about the same as a decent foreign car mechanic...not a shade tree guy with parts left over at the end of a job...

It depends where you live. I do live in a very rural area in the very rural state of Maine. But, there are some "real" luthiers here who charge in the range I cited. While it seems that everyone here is paid about 30% less for the jobs they do than they would be paid if they lived elsewhere in the country, it doesn't necessarily follow that everyone is that much less skilled.