View Full Version : Yes Virginia...

01-01-2012, 01:34 PM
...ukuleles do crack. :(

Well, I just experienced my first ukulele crack. The Mainland cutaway tenor I bought off eBay came in in perfect condition, I know because I inspected it really closely because the box was crushed some and, even though it was in a "hard foam" case, I was worried the case might have compressed onto the uke.

So I've been playing it a few days and I finally got tired of it squirming around so I decide to tack-glue some rubber shelf liner to the back as I've done on my other ukes. As I'm putting a good coat of wax on it to protect the finish from the trim adhesive the back cracked right under my fingers.

I was actually worried about cracks on it, because it came out of Mass. and is a year or two old, and from the looks of the uke and case it was one of those ukes that gets played a little and then stuck in a closet and forgotten. The strings were worn some but there were no shiny spots on the fingerboard from use and so on.

So, it must have been right on the verge of cracking from drying out - I guess I should have waited a few weeks until my humidifiers had a chance to bring it up to normal before putting pressure on the back while buffing out the wax - my own fault but I feel kinda stoopid. :)

I'll glue it up, and it doesn't affect the sound anyway. It's a keeper and player so I'm not worried about resale value - but it's still my first cracked uke and therefore annoying. LOL On the other hand, I'll probably be even more careful about checking my humidifiers so the rest of my ukes will probably benefit. Glass half full and all that.


01-01-2012, 02:23 PM
...ukuleles do crack. :(

Well, I just experienced my first ukulele crack. The Mainland cutaway tenor...

Very sorry to hear that happened, Sux. I'm anal enough that I could live with a blemish or minor whatever but a crack would gnaw at me.

I've been wondering about that potential problem with a Mainland (or any other solid tonewood) because I'm determined that the Mainland Slotted Head Concert Mahogany is my next holy grail.

I'm in NE Ohio and it will live in my bedroom with radiator heating. At least it's not forced air which really dehumidifies things. My current laminates just kind of hang out wherever I have them propped at the moment.

I DO keep 1 pan of water on a radiator at all times and replenish with distilled water as soon as needed. Probably need to do the case and humidifier thingie if i get a solid uke, right?

01-02-2012, 05:38 AM
Probably need to do the case and humidifier thingie if i get a solid uke, right?
I would recommend it unless you know you're keeping the room somewhere near 50% humidity most of the time (short dry spells aren't a problem, it takes a relatively long time for moisture to be drawn from wood.)

I use case humidifiers because my home office where I keep all my ukes sometimes gets into the low 20% range - and rarely goes above 40%. I'd use a room humidifier but I just disike feeling "clammy" when the humidity gets above about 40%.

All of my other solid ukes (Mainland mango, Mainland rosewood/red cedar, KoAloha longneck soprano) have all been fine with just my homemade case humidifiers. You do want to be careful with homemade humidifiers, though - if you're not having to refill them frequently they probably aren't doing a very good job of humidifying the case!

01-02-2012, 05:55 AM
I live in new england and even though winters get dry, I invested about 100$ I a room humidifier which keeps my bedroom at a constant 60% humidity.

Considering I have about a dozen Instruments hanging on the wall, including two classical guitars, and 4 Bonsai trees (under plant lights), the humidifier has been working great for almost two years now. I replace the filter 2 or 3 times a year, and fill the reservoir about once a week. This time of the year, it runs almost all the time, in the summer, it sits idle.

The nice thing is that I can see at a glance what the humidity is. Oh, and it helps my breathing, and skin from getting dry in the winter.

One of the best 100$ I've ever spent.

01-02-2012, 11:05 AM
I live in Toronto, so the indoor air can vary from 20% to 80%!

I keep hygrometers around the house, and have found that the central air keeps the summer humidity at a bout 70% and the furnace humidifier keeps the winter humidity between 40% and 50%. I might add a room humidifier to the living room though, if the humidity hovers at too close to 40 for too long. Most of my collection is hanging on the living room wall, and from what I've read, 40% is pretty much the rock-bottom of the safe zone.