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ghardy
11-10-2011, 01:57 PM
I noticed a small crack on the back of my uke ... It's barely visible, but I want to make sure I treat the situation correctly. I know this is a humidity problem because I've had my (solid) uke for about a month without a humidifier :/

My current plan is to take it to a (folk) music store and have them look at it, but I want to check out all of my options first.

Trinimon
11-28-2011, 05:16 PM
Oh man do I feel your pain! I just jumped into the same boat as you.

Today I took out my Kala acacia concert uke and played with her a bit and as I was just giving her a wipe down before putting her away, I noticed a very fine hairline crack on the soundboard. My heart just hit the floor. I'm not 100% certain on this but when I first started playing it before I noticed the crack, I did sense that it sounded a little more "open" but my tuner said it was fine. I thought it was because I was playing the tenor just before playing it.

The RH in the room with my ukes is around 45-52%. The odd time I've seen it hit 42%. The local store has been out of stock of the Oasis ukulele humidifiers so I placed an order with Eldery for some strings and more humidifiers but they're still in transit. Needless to say, I should have just done a homemade one to buy some time but I figured since the RH is usually around the 50% mark, I should be okay for a little longer until my Elderly order arrives. EHHHHH! Boy was I wrong! Dang, I spent 13hrs buffing that baby to a glossy shine too! :(

My Kala acacia tenor has a humidifier and sits in a hard case. Avg RH in the case is around 50-51%. Now I'm scared 'cause I'd hate to see a crack in my tenor. I'm thinking of adding an additional humidifier in its case to be safe. My concert is in an extra thick padded gig bag. Does a hard case retain more humidity than a gig bag? If so, I might be out to get a hard case for my concert... a little too late.

When I get my Kamaka, I'm gonna humidify the heck outta that one!

Plainsong
11-28-2011, 05:30 PM
Don't over humidify though. If the RH in the room is accurate, that's very very odd that the uke would crack like that because of humidity. If wood was that fragile, we'd all be in trouble because we could never take our ukes out.

You might have a warranty claim. Contact Kala, or the dealer.

consitter
11-28-2011, 05:54 PM
Oh man do I feel your pain! I just jumped into the same boat as you.

Today I took out my Kala acacia concert uke and played with her a bit and as I was just giving her a wipe down before putting her away, I noticed a very fine hairline crack on the soundboard. My heart just hit the floor. I'm not 100% certain on this but when I first started playing it before I noticed the crack, I did sense that it sounded a little more "open" but my tuner said it was fine. I thought it was because I was playing the tenor just before playing it.

The RH in the room with my ukes is around 45-52%. The odd time I've seen it hit 42%. The local store has been out of stock of the Oasis ukulele humidifiers so I placed an order with Eldery for some strings and more humidifiers but they're still in transit. Needless to say, I should have just done a homemade one to buy some time but I figured since the RH is usually around the 50% mark, I should be okay for a little longer until my Elderly order arrives. EHHHHH! Boy was I wrong! Dang, I spent 13hrs buffing that baby to a glossy shine too! :(

My Kala acacia tenor has a humidifier and sits in a hard case. Avg RH in the case is around 50-51%. Now I'm scared 'cause I'd hate to see a crack in my tenor. I'm thinking of adding an additional humidifier in its case to be safe. My concert is in an extra thick padded gig bag. Does a hard case retain more humidity than a gig bag? If so, I might be out to get a hard case for my concert... a little too late.

When I get my Kamaka, I'm gonna humidify the heck outta that one!

I don't know how long you've had the cracked Kala, but it sounds like a warranty problem to me. The humidity you've been keeping it at is right on the mark. Try giving Kala a call and see what they will do. Ugh! I hate that for you though! I know how much you love that ukulele.

Paul December
11-28-2011, 06:19 PM
Isn't 40% adequate enough to avoid cracks?
How long have you owned it?

coriandre
11-28-2011, 06:30 PM
I often have around 40pct humidity and never a crack. It does sound like a warranty issue. I try to keep 45-50pct. I do beleive that regularity in humidity is the trick to avoid cracks. The less variation, the better.

Dan Uke
11-28-2011, 06:34 PM
Hard to prove crack is warranty issue I would think...if it was at the seams, I can see it being a warranty issue. However, you said you didn't have a humidifier for a month and I don't don't know the RH where you live but more importantly in your house.

AC Baltimore
11-28-2011, 07:12 PM
Yikes! Hope it works out for you. I am using DIY ones right now but I ordered a few oasis ones. I figure if I can spend 300+ for a solid uke I should go 20 more to protect it properly.

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 03:20 AM
Thanks guys. I don't think it's going to be covered under warranty because I polished it from satin to gloss, installed a Misi pickup and bought it off a buddy back in August who had it for some time. Weird that it should crack now since my buddy never had a humidifier with it, then again, maybe his house was a lot more humid than mine. :(

I've had a hygrometer in the room since day 1 and never seen it dip below 42%. I've got a homemade humidifier with it now and I'll check and see if the crack closes up somewhat.

Plainsong
11-29-2011, 05:31 AM
Check that there's a uke-friendly luthier near you. Technically they don't need to know anything about ukes, but anyway, for them, repairing small cracks is just a routine thing. It shouldn't be bank-breaking either. :)

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 07:00 AM
Good call. There's a luthier that comes out to the local Wednesday jams (I haven't gone to them yet) that I ask.


Check that there's a uke-friendly luthier near you. Technically they don't need to know anything about ukes, but anyway, for them, repairing small cracks is just a routine thing. It shouldn't be bank-breaking either. :)

Dan Uke
11-29-2011, 10:38 AM
Good call. There's a luthier that comes out to the local Wednesday jams (I haven't gone to them yet) that I ask.

Is this ghardy's thread or yours? Confused. LOL

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 10:41 AM
My bad. I think I just thread jacked ghardy's thread! DOH! I didn't think it would go this far. lol

Pippin
11-29-2011, 10:44 AM
Where are you measuring the humidity? RH can be deceiving if you have a hygrometer on a wall and the uke sits in a place where heat or air-conditioning, or even sunlight hits it directly.

The RH may be right and the uke may still be in the danger zone.

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 11:14 AM
The hygrometer is no more than 5 feet from the ukes. They're in the den in my basement and the only heating registers are on the ceiling but well away from where the ukes are. Now I'm paranoid about my other solid wood uke. :(

pulelehua
11-29-2011, 12:07 PM
I have a Kala Acacia Concert and it's been in baking hot sun and outside on a snowy day. I keep it in my classroom which is a portable with papier mache walls and an almost violent heating system. Humidity and temperature are all over the place. Two years and no problems. That ukulele is about to have another English winter gig this weekend. 3 hours in the cold evening air. I'm not anticipating any problems. The wood is quite thick, which is crap for the sound, but good for armour. :)

Maybe you're just coddling yours too much........

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 12:35 PM
I noticed a small crack on the back of my uke ... It's barely visible, but I want to make sure I treat the situation correctly. I know this is a humidity problem because I've had my (solid) uke for about a month without a humidifier :/

My current plan is to take it to a (folk) music store and have them look at it, but I want to check out all of my options first.

Hey ghardy, did you eventually get yours fixed?

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 12:52 PM
I have a Kala Acacia Concert and it's been in baking hot sun and outside on a snowy day. I keep it in my classroom which is a portable with papier mache walls and an almost violent heating system. Humidity and temperature are all over the place. Two years and no problems. That ukulele is about to have another English winter gig this weekend. 3 hours in the cold evening air. I'm not anticipating any problems. The wood is quite thick, which is crap for the sound, but good for armour. :)

Maybe you're just coddling yours too much........

LOL, maybe so. I have only been playing it in the house and the odd workshop. I just had a good look at the crack it is right smack along the joint line where the left and right halves of the soundboard join. Using a mirror, I checked the underside of the soundboard and I can't see the hairline crack.

mattydee
11-29-2011, 04:59 PM
I have a Kala Acacia Concert as well, though this is a replacement sent by Kala. The first one developed a crack along the seam on the back, down near the lower bout. It started to happen after about three weeks, and at first I thought it was due to the dry Wisconsin winter, but I had it humidified in the case. When I took it to a luthier, he said it didn't look like humidity damage, but like a building flaw - and that if it was under warranty, I should inquire with Kala. Which I did, and they switched it out - free shipping both ways. The new one hasn't developed a crack and it's nearly one year later now. You can bet that I check it every day, though!

I'm wonder now if there may have been a batch that had a manufacturing flaw, and maybe yours was part of that run, too? It's too bad if you voided the warranty by buffing out the finish. You could at least send them an email and see, though. I had a fantastic customer service experience with them.

Paul December
11-29-2011, 05:05 PM
The wood is quite thick, which is crap for the sound
Really? ... I have the tenor Acacia and wouldn't consider the top thick.

AC Baltimore
11-29-2011, 05:51 PM
Really? ... I have the tenor Acacia and wouldn't consider the top thick.

Agreed. I find Makai and Ohana to have some of the thickest tops I have seen thus far.

Trinimon
11-29-2011, 06:05 PM
I have a Kala Acacia Concert as well, though this is a replacement sent by Kala. The first one developed a crack along the seam on the back, down near the lower bout. It started to happen after about three weeks, and at first I thought it was due to the dry Wisconsin winter, but I had it humidified in the case. When I took it to a luthier, he said it didn't look like humidity damage, but like a building flaw - and that if it was under warranty, I should inquire with Kala. Which I did, and they switched it out - free shipping both ways. The new one hasn't developed a crack and it's nearly one year later now. You can bet that I check it every day, though!

I'm wonder now if there may have been a batch that had a manufacturing flaw, and maybe yours was part of that run, too? It's too bad if you voided the warranty by buffing out the finish. You could at least send them an email and see, though. I had a fantastic customer service experience with them.

Thanks for the info. I guess I have nothing to lose if I ask. Worst they can say is "No" because I voided the warranty and I'd be no better off than where I am now.

mattydee
11-30-2011, 08:20 AM
Worst they can say is "No" because I voided the warranty and I'd be no better off than where I am now

What's more, you won't be any worse off. ;)

I should note that the crack on my uke also had a bump -- the luthier said he thought one of the braces was pushing against the seam, because he couldn't even press the two pieces of the back flush. If yours seems like that might be the issue, you just might be in business. I don't suppose they can use them again, anyway, so maybe the finish won't be an issue?

pulelehua
11-30-2011, 08:42 AM
Really? ... I have the tenor Acacia and wouldn't consider the top thick.

Have never played or even seen the tenor. A lot of people on this forum have, in the past, agreed about the top. The thing is a brick. Pick up a nice thin ukulele, then pick up my Kala, and you develop arm strain. When I met Mike DaSilva this past summer, he showed me some properly thinned ukuleles. It's amazing how light a ukulele can be.

And for mine, the top is definitely an ingredient in its brickness.

Paul December
11-30-2011, 11:19 AM
Have never played or even seen the tenor. A lot of people on this forum have, in the past, agreed about the top. The thing is a brick. Pick up a nice thin ukulele, then pick up my Kala, and you develop arm strain. When I met Mike DaSilva this past summer, he showed me some properly thinned ukuleles. It's amazing how light a ukulele can be.


This actually the 1st post describing the top as thick that I've run across ...
... OK, I wouldn't expect it to be as thin as a DaSilva costing much more, but compared to Mainlands, Ohanas, Ponos, and other ukes I've owned, it is one of the thinnest if not the thinnest.
I'm talking about the tenor, I have never held the concert version.

pulelehua
11-30-2011, 11:39 AM
This actually the 1st post describing the top as thick that I've run across ...
... OK, I wouldn't expect it to be as thin as a DaSilva costing much more, but compared to Mainlands, Ohanas, Ponos, and other ukes I've owned, it is one of the thinnest if not the thinnest.
I'm talking about the tenor, I have never held the concert version.

Just tried to Google it. The only other quote I found about it? From me... Arg. I agree I'm probably biased. My experience is pretty limited, and skips hugely from Makalas to Kalas to my MP custom. Obviously, 3 different universes.

Three days until the evening gig in the cold. I'll let you know how it goes. :)