Crack in Soundboard

Mickeyj4j

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I have a Greg Bennet Samick Baritone ukulele. it has a crack in the sound board. i originally thought it was a crack in the finish but over time it has gotten longer and i noticed now the the top part the sound board is now above the bottom part so i know its not just cracking. if i had only thought to take it in sooner it may have been an easy fix.

Here are several picks of the crack.
P3020256.jpg P3020257.jpg
(Well i can only seem to upload one image here and when I go to edit i can't add more. sorry)

its the black line you can see on the sound board.

I did buy this to use as a cheep knock around guitar and it was not terribly expensive but to be able to fix this would be great. would it be possible for me to fix or should i leave it to a professional. This ukulele only cost me $150 NZD. (roughly $125 USD) so if i was to take it in would it be worth fixing.

any ideas, tips and tricks you have would be appreciated. this is a great community here and i know there is a solution out there.

Edit: I also posted this question at the Acoustic Guitar Forums, there is some more great advice there too. see here for more info.
 

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hmgberg

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Sorry your uke cracked. If you want to fix it yourself here's what I would recommend:
Use a bar clamp to close the crack from side to side. Use magnets inside and on the top to level the top around the crack. Because the crack is long, you may have to fix half of it and then repeat the process for the other half because if you use more than one magnet on either side, they may tend to pull toward each other, if you know what I mean, but you should test all the clamping dry before applying glue. Get the glue into the crack. You may have to rub it in with you finger. Wipe the excess of the top. Apply the clamps. Wait a good while for the glue to thoroughly dry, before removing the clamps. Wipe glue residue off the finish with a damp cloth. You may need a cleat inside, but you can insert that afterward.
 

FrankB

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How's the humidity in your house right now? If it's low, humidifying the instrument might go a long way to closing up the crack, and then a couple of small cleat should hold it together.

Hmgberg's solution would work as well..... ;)
 

Mickeyj4j

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good ideas so far. i think i would prefer to take it into a qualified luthier to see what they can do. I dont mind paying something to get it fixed but if its not worth it for a professional fix i will try one myself.

thanks again and keep coming up with ideas thanks.

remember Keep strumming it up.
 

Mickeyj4j

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How's the humidity in your house right now? If it's low, humidifying the instrument might go a long way to closing up the crack, and then a couple of small cleat should hold it together.

Hmgberg's solution would work as well..... ;)

how can i tell if that is the case and then how can i re-humidify the crack without the expense of buying a re-humidifier
 

FrankB

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how can i tell if that is the case and then how can i re-humidify the crack without the expense of buying a re-humidifier
If you live in a dry region, or are heating your house without a humidifier, your humidity level could easily be in the teens. Humidifying the uke can be done in a few ways. Run a hot shower, and leave it in the bathroom for a week or so. Find a Tupperware type box large enough to hold the uke, and place a wet sponge in a bowl along with the uke, and seal it all up. A sound hole type humidifier like an Oasis is nice to prevent this but would take forever to close up a crack caused by low humidity.
 

KohanMike

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I few weeks ago when it was really dry here in Los Angeles, 10%, my monkeypod tenor cracked below the bridge. That prompted me to complete the shelf I was setting up for my ukes with humidity control. I thought I would take it to a luthier to fix, but my cousin's young son wanted to learn to play and my cousin was not anxious to spend any money, so I gave it to him and bought myself a zebrawood replacement. The shelf now keeps my eight ukes at 52% humidity.

Monkeypod crack.jpg
 

OldePhart

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A couple of years ago I bought a uke off eBay that developed a crack right after I got it. It was partially my fault because it was coming from Boston (in December - in fact the reason I won the auction with such a cheap bid was because it closed on Christmas day so the watchers were all busy) and was two years old, and obviously had just sat in a closet for long time, with no humidifier. The part that was my fault was I didn't wait for it to rehydrate before I took some wax and elbow grease to it and the back popped as I was pressing and rubbing.

Anyway, once the uke rehydrated the crack mostly closed up and I got some hide glue and followed some instructions I found online to drive the glue into the crack by tapping it with my finger. The crack has been very stable for over two years now, and I did not even cleat it.

My guess is that if you find a luthier who knows what he is doing a repair will probably cost as much as the uke is worth. If it were mine I'd at least hydrate it well and see if the crack begins to close up. If it does then driving hide glue in and then keeping it humidified may be all that is necessary, though that is a fairly long crack and a cleat or two certainly wouldn't hurt.

John
 

moetrout

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Sound hole humidifiers are easy peasy to make. Get some 3/4" clear vinyl tube from the hardware store, drill it full of holes, cut a piece of sponge and stuff it in the tube, plug one end with a cork, put a string on the other end to allow you to pull it out of the sound hole. Wet the sponge really good and then shake out the excess water, dry the outside and put it in the sound hole. If the crack is really bad make up 2 or 3 of these to get more moisture inside. The key is to make sure you shake them out good so no water will drip out inside. I re-wet mine once or twice a week depending on how dry it is inside my house.

I can post a pic later if you would like to see what I made.
 

Neal

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Hi mickey, you got your solution on the AGF, and I suggested it wasn't worth it to pay a luthier, but doing it yourself, as you decided, is a good idea.

You do need to humidify your instruments, plenty of advice here.
 

Mickeyj4j

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Hi mickey, you got your solution on the AGF, and I suggested it wasn't worth it to pay a luthier, but doing it yourself, as you decided, is a good idea.

You do need to humidify your instruments, plenty of advice here.

yes thanks for the advice and AGF i posted there aw well so i would be able to get more advice. i think i will add the link to this forum so people can find it.
 

Mickeyj4j

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Sound hole humidifiers are easy peasy to make. Get some 3/4" clear vinyl tube from the hardware store, drill it full of holes, cut a piece of sponge and stuff it in the tube, plug one end with a cork, put a string on the other end to allow you to pull it out of the sound hole. Wet the sponge really good and then shake out the excess water, dry the outside and put it in the sound hole. If the crack is really bad make up 2 or 3 of these to get more moisture inside. The key is to make sure you shake them out good so no water will drip out inside. I re-wet mine once or twice a week depending on how dry it is inside my house.

I can post a pic later if you would like to see what I made.

yea can you post a pic for me and others who want to know. thanks.
 

coolkayaker1

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A couple of years ago I bought a uke off eBay that developed a crack right after I got it. It was partially my fault because it was coming from Boston (in December - in fact the reason I won the auction with such a cheap bid was because it closed on Christmas day so the watchers were all busy) and was two years old, and obviously had just sat in a closet for long time, with no humidifier. The part that was my fault was I didn't wait for it to rehydrate before I took some wax and elbow grease to it and the back popped as I was pressing and rubbing.

Anyway, once the uke rehydrated the crack mostly closed up and I got some hide glue and followed some instructions I found online to drive the glue into the crack by tapping it with my finger. The crack has been very stable for over two years now, and I did not even cleat it.

My guess is that if you find a luthier who knows what he is doing a repair will probably cost as much as the uke is worth. If it were mine I'd at least hydrate it well and see if the crack begins to close up. If it does then driving hide glue in and then keeping it humidified may be all that is necessary, though that is a fairly long crack and a cleat or two certainly wouldn't hurt.

John

I agree with every sentence, every word, every nuance that this respected gentleman has written here. ;)

There is a brand of hide glue that requires no heating that is touted. Anyone recall the name? Browns or something. Link would get you brownie points. Thanks.
 

moetrout

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Pic of my homemade humidifier. The "cork" is to stop up the end, not sure it's really necessary as I wring out most of the water so it does not drip inside. The paracord was added to make it easy to pull out of the sound hole. If you really needed to humidify a lot you could add 2 or 3 of them to speed up the process. I bought a 2 dollar sponge that I cut up whenever I feel like replacing it. The cork is really a piece of 3/4" dowel that I whittled down to fit.

012.jpg
 

Mickeyj4j

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after some research i see that hide glues is also known as hot glue (not the hobby hot glue gun type). is the type of glue that needs to be kept warm. i guess that means going to the expense of getting a hide glue melting pot and such which dont come that cheep. also this type of hide glue is no longer soled locally, for years, i have rung several hardware stores over here and they dont sell it. is there an alternative glue i could use.
 
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OldePhart

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You don't need expensive equipment. You need only a little bit and for not too long. I heat a pot of water to a little above the recommended temp and then use a small jar inside that to mix the glue and keep it warm for the few minutes I need to use it.

Hide glue isn't likely to be found in a hardware store. A craft store where they sell woodworking supplies should have it, though. I got mine at a local Woodcrafter's store.

John
 

Mickeyj4j

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Pic of my homemade humidifier. The "cork" is to stop up the end, not sure it's really necessary as I wring out most of the water so it does not drip inside. The paracord was added to make it easy to pull out of the sound hole. If you really needed to humidify a lot you could add 2 or 3 of them to speed up the process. I bought a 2 dollar sponge that I cut up whenever I feel like replacing it. The cork is really a piece of 3/4" dowel that I whittled down to fit.

View attachment 64501

thanks allot that really helps. and is not that expensive to make. a cork, like that, is hard to buy these days unless you get one from a wine bottle. which will be different size and shape.
 

Mickeyj4j

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Sound hole humidifiers are easy peasy to make. Get some 3/4" clear vinyl tube from the hardware store, drill it full of holes, cut a piece of sponge and stuff it in the tube, plug one end with a cork, put a string on the other end to allow you to pull it out of the sound hole. Wet the sponge really good and then shake out the excess water, dry the outside and put it in the sound hole. If the crack is really bad make up 2 or 3 of these to get more moisture inside. The key is to make sure you shake them out good so no water will drip out inside. I re-wet mine once or twice a week depending on how dry it is inside my house.

just wanting to know, from your experience, how tightly packed the sponge needs to be. i would assume that if its backed to tight it would not allow for much water to be absorbed. after some testing with loose and tightly packed sponge, i have found that the sponge always drys out after 5 minutes (no its not super hot so the sponge to dry out that fast) so this seems to be a big fail as an option. whats your secret to keeping the sponge moist.

My version is about 14cm long and i have to cut the sponge up to fit inside.

Edit: After further research i have found that there are defiantly different type of sponges. i may abandon the foam ones i got and get a pva sponge instead. here is some info on them
The powerful PVA block soaks up moisture like a vacuum and holds it in without dripping. It can soak up more than 25 times its own weight in moisture, which makes it ideal for drying spills and cleaning other types of wet messes. Just place on top of any spilled liquid and press. Once you let go, it slurps up 330 mls/almost 1 1/2 cups of liquid like a vacuum.
as PVA sponge is more pricy, $1.50 vrs $10per sponge, i will wait for an answer from you first.

all the best and keep on jam'n
 
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Ukecaster

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My uke has a top crack too, which is located right on a dark streak in the koa top. I want to be sure that the glue does not show up as a contrasting light streak when I clamp & glue. What color is the hyde glue after drying, and is there a way to darken it? Or maybe just use CA instead, which would be clear?