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Early30Martin
08-23-2013, 01:49 PM
That is the question.

I recently went with a friend who was having the action adjusted on his guitar and it turns out that the guitar repair man is one of 2 licensed Martin repairmen in my state (IL). So I brought my Martin Style 0 for him to look at the cracks on the back. He said he would charge $100 a crack for the 3 back cracks and $50 to seal a small chip on the top and remove a few teeny tiny silver spray paint dots on the top. He said he would "buff" it all out. He said that Martin suggests that these small hairline cracks should be filled with very thin CA glue and then, once again, "buff" the whole back. I am unsure whether or not I want to have the repairs done as I know the potential impact on the resale value. He had a shop full of old Martin and Gibson guitars and even a Martin Style 2 in very bad shape that he was restoring. So I do trust his work. Is there anything that I am overlooking here? I want to make the most informed decision that I can. What would you do?:confused:
A link to pics of the uke: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?83031-Martin-Soprano-0&highlight=Martin

allanr
08-23-2013, 02:00 PM
How important is getting your investment back at resale?

Given that Style O ukes seldom sell for more than $600, you will have $350 plus your original purchase price into this uke. It's unlikely that you would get all of your money back on resale.

On the other side, a good restoration job should not diminish the value at all, and might bring it up to close to the top end of the resale market. AND you will have a beautiful little Martin instead of a cracked and chipped one.

At the end if the day it's gonna be a tough call. I am really curious as to what other responses you get.

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 02:10 PM
I appreciate your enthusiasm for the Martin. I share it. The only thing you may be overlooking is that the uke in your hands is worth approx $350-$400 unrepaired. To put another $350 into it would be insanity. LOL

I have no luthier skills or background. I have bought two Martin Os within the past two months on purpose to test my skills, both with many tiny cracks (one had a large crack) and I have successfully CA'ed them, sanded and steel wooled them, and lightly spray refinished them. I retouched dings with Copic alcohol markers. They looked, in a word, fabulous. I bought each—one was a 1940 and one a 1950, so a tad more recent than yours—for $350 each incl. Shppg from the Bay. I resold them for $450 and $465 and the new owners are ecstastic.

I used them as “tests” to see if I could do it. Even if you buy one already restored, it's an O and those run about five bills. The Martin market, like all ukes, is softer now than a year ago. It's a fact.

So, I would never pay $350 to repair a style 0 with a couple cracks and a fill ding. I'd either sell it as is on the Bay for $350 and get a $500-550 repaired one, or I'd try to repair it myself (those types of repairs are not rocket science).

Others will have differing opinions, but hey, that's all cool.

Cheers! IL to IL.

Tigeralum2001
08-23-2013, 02:12 PM
A good repair won't hurt resale value, in fact it might help it. Also, if you want to play it then you also want it repaired. I don't see a real downside of a repair. Will a collector buy it? It depends, but a high-end collector already won't buy it because it is not mint. Just do it!

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 02:16 PM
A good repair won't hurt resale value, in fact it might help it. Also, if you want to play it then you also want it repaired. I don't see a real downside of a repair. Will a collector buy it? It depends, but a high-end collector already won't buy it because it is not mint. Just do it!

A good repair never hurts resale, true. But a $350 repair on a $350-$400 uke? That's like living a $200k house and spending $200k to fix it up. Allanr is right...getting the money back (especially in a tepid Martin market) will never happen (well, it might in three decades).

I doubt the cracks mentioned make it unplayable. Keep it humidified and they should be fine. If they progress, CA costs $5 for the thin stuff (amazon.com)

And if you love the uke and plan never to sell, OP, then it's totally something only you can call...is it worth the money in your own eyes.

Tigeralum2001
08-23-2013, 02:24 PM
A good repair never hurts resale, true. But a $350 repair on a $350-$400 uke? That's like living a $200k house and spending $200k to fix it up. Allanr is right...getting the money back (especially in a tepid Martin market) will never happen (well, it might in three decades).

I doubt the cracks mentioned make it unplayable. Keep it humidified and they should be fine. If they progress, CA costs $5 for the thin stuff (amazon.com)

And if you love the uke and plan never to sell, OP, then it's totally something only you can call...is it worth the money in your own eyes.
I read that at $100 to fix all 3 cracks and $50 for the chip. $150 total. Worth the price? Well, that depends on the initial investment. Edit- Ahh- I see $100 per crack... he is on crack...

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 02:28 PM
Seriously, I read it as u did at first, brother Tiger. You have a ton of high end uke experience...isn;t that a tad rich, the guy's price??

Tigeralum2001
08-23-2013, 02:39 PM
Seriously, I read it as u did at first, brother Tiger. You have a ton of high end uke experience...isn;t that a tad rich, the guy's price??

I have only had to repair one uke. The bridge on a Kanilea 6-string I used to own started coming off, so I had it re-glued. Seeing as it was a nice instrument, I took it to my local store, which happens to be Gryphon Strings. They charged by $100 for the re-glue and a new set of strings. It was probably too much for a simple job, but I wanted it done right.

I value the work craftsmen do. However, unless the cracks are huge, $100 per crack sounds like someone who doesn't want to do the job. If it were a Style 2, 3, or 5... maybe I'd pay $350. For an 0, I would either sell it as is or try to repair it myself.

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 02:45 PM
i'm tapped out, I just bought a 3M last night. Perhaps op would like your soprano. There was a gentleman very interested in buying a Martin tenor...did you see the other thread from earlier today? He specifically wants a tenor, tigeralum.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?84859-Martin-tenor-ukulele-numbers

hmgberg
08-23-2013, 03:00 PM
$100.00 per crack for CA gluing is very high in my opinion. The reason for using CA in these instances is that it comes in a variety of thickness. For very tight cracks, one would use a thin CA, drop a very small amount, carefully, into the crack and allow the glue to wick in. Then spray it with a hardener that work almost instantly. No long clamping, no cleating. It can be done in a few minutes and doesn't require a great amount of skill to do.

Alternatively, you could use a wood glue like Titebond or the white luthier's glue that Rick Turner recommends. You may have to thin it slightly or work it into the crack by rubbing it with your finger. You would also have to clamp it. The beauty of it is that this glue doesn't stick to finish, so you can get the residue off easily with a damp cloth. I can see $100.00 per crack to have an experienced luthier do this (maybe) sooner than I can see spending that kind of money of CA repair.

@Tigeralum: $100.00 for the bridge re-glue is not outrageous. It does involve some time and effort. You have to glean the old glue off both the bottom of the bridge and the top of the uke, tape off around the bridge, make sure that you position the bridge in exactly the right spot, then clamp it into place making sure it doesn't shift when you tighten the clamp as it has a tendency to do. Gryphon has a crackerjack repair team. IMO, worth it.

Early30Martin
08-23-2013, 03:00 PM
Thanks for the feedback folks!

It is good to hear that you agree with the repair methods. I think his price is so sky high because he is an officially approved Martin Service Center. As with everything Martin the price is... well you know. That being said, I like the peace of mind that it would be in the best of hands (not mine).

Why I would want the repair, the bottom most crack/chip on the back has a piece that has snagged on my shirt a few times and each time my heart stopped completely. Also, this is my first nice uke and it rings like a bell, loud and clear. I do not plan on selling or trading it any time soon. She, Beverly, named after Beverly Sills; the best sounding soprano singer IMHO. has become my baby so to speak. As far as my mentioning resale, I guess I was thinking 25 years from now (the unpredictable future). From what It sounds like, a well repaired instrument hold its value - a cracked uke and a cracked and well repaired uke are roughly the same thing. I think I may do it, when I get the money. I am a student and I do get a nice tax return. Would it be insulting to ask if he is firm on the price; maybe suggest $300?

Thanks again for the responses. This forum is awesome. I don't think I would have gotten into ukuleles as much if there wasn't an encouraging community like this for support! Mahalo Nui Loa!

Tigeralum2001
08-23-2013, 03:08 PM
Everything is negotiable-- at least outside of big-box stores. What is the worst he will say? I think $300 is still high. I would sell and then use the $650ish to get different uke, if it were my money. But, if this is a uke you will never sell, then by all means do it!

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 03:15 PM
Howard, I sure wish you lived closer so that I could take you up on your offer to pick your brain. You're a wealth of info. I have a crack on my 3M that I want to repair, but want your advice. And the moustache has a teensy lift and i'm afraid i'm going to snag it off. Why is everyone so far from me>?

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 03:17 PM
Everything is negotiable-- at least outside of big-box stores. What is the worst he will say? I think $300 is still high. I would sell and then use the $650ish to get different uke, if it were my money. But, if this is a uke you will never sell, then by all means do it!.

I agree.

I saw Les from Hardcore Pawn on CNN telling how to negotiate. He always comes back with half of what the guys is asking. Half.

I'd at least get a second opinion and pricing from another luthier.

hmgberg
08-23-2013, 03:18 PM
I wouldn't be so impressed by the designation of authorized Martin service center. I'd shop around for a repair person. I agree with Tigeralum that it is likely the repair person you have spoken with isn't all that motivated. A crack is a crack. That is to say there is nothing special about a Martin crack, even though the Martin uke is special. Where do you live?

@Steve - Congratulations on the 3! What appointments? Pics? I just love a Style 3.

Early30Martin
08-23-2013, 03:29 PM
I would have to agree with a crack is a crack. It sounds like my focus should be on finding a better price. I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago about an hour out so I guess I could prob. finds someone in the city.

peewee
08-23-2013, 03:31 PM
I've had vintage Martins with multiple small back cracks repaired by factory authorized guys with hide glue for about $75 per instrument.

hmgberg
08-23-2013, 03:39 PM
Howard, I sure wish you lived closer so that I could take you up on your offer to pick your brain. You're a wealth of info. I have a crack on my 3M that I want to repair, but want your advice. And the moustache has a teensy lift and i'm afraid i'm going to snag it off. Why is everyone so far from me>?

Send pics and we'll talk.

hmgberg
08-23-2013, 03:40 PM
I've had vintage Martins with multiple small back cracks repaired by factory authorized guys with hide glue for about $75 per instrument.

Now, that's a good deal Peewee!

RyanMFT
08-23-2013, 03:50 PM
I wouldn't be so impressed by the designation of authorized Martin service center. I'd shop around for a repair person. I agree with Tigeralum that it is likely the repair person you have spoken with isn't all that motivated. A crack is a crack. That is to say there is nothing special about a Martin crack, even though the Martin uke is special.

Wise words, I couldn't agree more. Since all I care about in ukes is vintage, and I have no problem buying ukes with cracks, I had to find a competent luthier to work with. Gryphon is close enough, but I looked around and found an amazing luthier in my area, and his prices are reasonable. Turns out he regularly repairs violins and cellos worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, a quality luthier can do the job for you and there is no need for a Martin guy.

stevepetergal
08-23-2013, 04:19 PM
I'm looking at things very differently these days. Don't know why. If I can afford the work and I'm confident the work will be the best I can get, I don't let resale value come into the equation (all those years rebuilding, refinishing very old pianos I guess). Do you want your instrument fixed? If so, I say have it done.

Just one dumb guy's opinion.

BlackBearUkes
08-23-2013, 04:28 PM
I would suggest finding a luthier to fix the cracks that will not use CA gluing cracks on a vintage uke. Hot Hide glue should be used for these cracks. It is an easy job and certainly will not cost $350 for repairs. With CA you get one chance to do it right and even then, the glue lines will show up on the inside. Most cracks of this type can be done from the outside by working the HHG into the crack and clamping very lightly until the glue sets, easy clean up and practically invisible. Vintage instruments should be repaired with the glue they were made with.

prairieschooner
08-23-2013, 04:57 PM
I would consider repairing it myself (I did) using Hide Glue. You can do a search on youtube and find a very informative video!
Hopefully I can give you this link but is was very helpful!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i4wjJv5nkw

mm stan
08-23-2013, 05:03 PM
Many years ago, I had my martin style 2 40's repaired by the best Martin Authorized Luthier on the island...it was a 3 1/2" x 1/8" missing in the back...it cost me 265 and he refinished the
back to a gloss nitro.... I should have told him to do the whole uke....Let me say if you think your martin sounds amazing, I think it is worth it....but not for small cracks at that price...I fixe
them for family and friends for free back then...search around, but like I said, if you like the sound of your uke...get a refinish too...at least it might be more than the uke is worth but you
have better chances getting closer what you want if you do it...and it will look as good as it sounds...find the best refinisher you can in this case....Martins hold their value :)

coolkayaker1
08-23-2013, 05:36 PM
The video prairieschooner linked is, in all it's old school glory, the quintessential video on hot hide glue. Many knowledgeable opinions here...wow. And Duane from BB Ukes makes lovely instruments, and seconds hot hide glue.

Stevepetergal, don't you use this luthier?
http://www.chicagofretworks.com/

Question: Is old brown hide glue brand good?
http://www.oldbrownglue.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQMV9jOsanQ

Is this okay stuff, anyone? It says on his website that it's good for only one year--he ships a fresh bottle. So, I'd guess it's "reaL" hide glue.

What I sort of don't "get" is, if Old Brown Glue is a gel in the unheated bottle, and it's heated to use, how does it become hard on the wood? Wouldn't it go back to only gel when it returns to room temperature? Is it denatured and activated by the heat or the air?

I see powdered hide glue on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Ground-Hide-Glue-1-Pound/dp/B003AYTJSC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1377318550&sr=8-2&keywords=hide+glue
Could I use that, mix to my own needs in a plastic container, and heat the container and use it as such? Thanks in advance for any input.

Thanks, Howard. When I get home I'll snap some pictures.

prairieschooner
08-24-2013, 04:08 AM
I used the Hot Hide Glue from Luthier's Mercantile International. Very easy to use, just put a spoon of the granulated hide glue in a small jar, added a little water and then let it sit overnight. The next morning boiled some water until it was at 140~145 degrees and sat the bottle in the pan...it only took a few minutes and it was a liquid. I then followed the video and it worked out very well.

Here is the link to the Hide Glue that I used....I found this out all from this forum, great place to learn!!
http://www.lmii.com/products/finishing/adhesives/granular-hide-glue

coolkayaker1
08-24-2013, 05:43 AM
Thanks, Praireschooner for the advice and link. I might just order some...what's the description mean when it says, "don;t be concerned if you see cyrystals when it's dried..." or something like that.

I don;t want crystals in my cracks!

So, that is to say, even with wiping off excess, is this crystallized hide glue completely invisible when it dries? Is it clear, or slightly yellow (like the powder)? Thanks

(PS Did Tigeralum contact you...he said he's selling his Martins, including tenor, on another thread/)

prairieschooner
08-24-2013, 05:59 AM
Here is a picture showing the color of the glue. It is more of an amber color, this is taken right out of the refrigerator so there is some moisture showing on the jar.
Easy to work with and clean up and I don't see any crystals. The amber color disappears into the finish.
yes I am talking with Tigeralum, thanks for the "heads up".

Gmoney
08-24-2013, 06:12 AM
I have just had my c1925 Martin 0 repaired by Jake Wildwood of Antebellum Instruments. I sent it directly to him after an email conversation about the repairs.

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2013/08/c1925-martin-style-0-soprano-ukulele.html

If you watch Jake's site (he IS also a great musician & UU member), you will see the wide range of repairs he takes on & his love of the instruments is apparent in his work. His prices are also quite reasonable.

For me, the fact that I possess an instrument made in the '20's that is still VERY playable is priceless. I intend to pass this one on to my grandson & perhaps it will survive yet another generation.