Top popped off my kamaka!

Penguinofsorts

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So I was reclining in bed strumming my gold label soprano kamaka ( the sound is/was amazing!) when my phone unexpectedly rang, causing me to fumble in surprise and the uke to drop to the hardwood floor.... I leaned over the side of the bed to pick it up when to my horror, I noticed that the top had popped off!!!image.jpg

What?? That can happen?? What should I do?? I'm not sure that I can wait the year for kamaka to fix it, so I might try to find a good luthier nearby in St. Louis....

Sadly missing the deep golden tones....

I don't know why someone that I knew five years ago decided to call me at 9pm, but I didn't answer and then my uke was broken.... There had better be some sense following soon!
 

janeray1940

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Ooooh, ouch. Sitting here playing one of my Kamakas and I think it just may have shed a tear of sympathy!

If you have a reputable local luthier, you could go that route. The year wait would be worthwhile if you wanted to fully restore your Kamaka though... and hey, in the meantime maybe you could find a replacement :) 'Cause you know, two Kamakas are better than one...
 

Doc_J

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Looks like it separated cleanly at the glue interface. So it shouldn't be too costly to get it prepped and reglued. But did you break off your fretboard? Ugh. I guess if it were mine, I'd send it back to Kamaka for a total going over and redo. Some other glue joint could be ready to go too.
 
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stevepetergal

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If all you want is to have the top re-attached, I think having it done locally is the best route. I'll bet there are some great luthiers in St. Louis. But, if you want further restoration work done, (?) or if there are other repairs or issues you'd like addressed, I say send it home for the attention it deserves. (You've got a Boat Paddle to play in the meantime, haven't you?)
 

peewee

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That picture is like something out of a ukulele snuff movie..so hard to look at. So Sorry!
 

Roselynne

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OK ... that pic hurts! Auwe!

The rainbow in that thunder-cloud is ... it looks like a clean break. The hide glue does eventually weaken on these vintage ukulele.

I went for local (well, close to it) when I noticed a top-and-side separation on my own Gold-Label soprano. However, I felt it needed and deserved an actual luthier with experience in both vintage instruments and ukulele -- so I called around. The job was done with hide glue and clamps. It took a few days for the clamp/dry process. Cost was reasonable, but I don't remember how much ... mostly because an antique ukulele followed us home from the shop, which kinda inflated the total price a bit!

Fingers crossed for your Golden one!
 
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Penguinofsorts

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Thanks for the input and support, guys! The fretboard doesn't appear to have broken... It's almost like there's a seem and an extra piece attached to the body of the uke that's separate from the actual fretboard but appears to be part of the fretboard (I'll post a pic later).

I was seriously JUST saying this past month that I was satisfied with my uke collection. My great ukes are my mya-moe super concert, my boatpaddle prototype that has a tenor body and concert neck, and my kamaka soprano... My good ukes are 4 sizes of mainland uke, and I have a beater dolphin and a couple of other banjo ukes that don't get much play (along with my eleuke). I no longer had UAS, I felt no need to pursue another ukulele, even after last weekends UWC ukulele immersion! But now.... Now that's all up in the air! I'm going to research my options as far as kamaka goes... I think that I'll buy a makala shark in the meantime, to partially dispel the anxiety of temporarily losing my favorite soprano!


My boatpaddle is on loan to a friend... But I'm going to have to tell her that it's high time she get her own ukulele!! I need my ukes close to me during this sorrowful time ;-)

I'll keep you posted!
 

mm stan

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Aloha...Was it Michelle :)
yes with a whole lot of ukes and your mainland and mya moe....send it to kamaka, but any luthier can just glue the top back on with hyde glue
hyde glue in time usually separates....that is why kamaka is so busy repairing old ukes.... in a way it is good as it is easy to fix and take apart...
but in time it fails... I admit I love the warm tones of my white and gold labels.....good Luck.....
 

coolkayaker1

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That is an excellent suggestion and I enjoyed your webpage. I wonder if Kamaka would automatically kerf line an old instrument or if Michelle would need to ask for it? I'd guess the latter. I sort of agree with SPetergal: if you are only having the top glued, someone local or Jerry could kerf and glue. If you want to invest in re-doing the entire instrument, Kamaka. Fun! Let us know how it works out, M.
Hello Penguinofsorts,
I only use kerfed or notched linings. They provide a better gluing surface. If you are getting it fixed by a local luthier he or she will probably use this proven method.
Jim
PS: Here is a link in case you want to make your own. I just use an old hacksaw with three blades and spacers.
http://russmorin.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/making-kerfed-linings-for-the-ukulele/
 

SteveZ

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Just a thought or two - if the instrument is under warranty and a local luthier repairs what the maker would do under warranty, then the maker may consider the instrument no longer under warranty for any future claim based on what the local luthier did. A maker's quality control person normally examines the product to see if the claim is due to failure of a maker's process or part, or if by owner misuse or unauthorized repair.

So, you may want to communicate with the maker, send them photos and see if they will accept work done by a specific person as "factory authorized" so that the warranty doesn't end up as broken as the top seal.
 

coolkayaker1

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Just a thought or two - if the instrument is under warranty and a local luthier repairs what the maker would do under warranty, then the maker may consider the instrument no longer under warranty for any future claim based on what the local luthier did. A maker's quality control person normally examines the product to see if the claim is due to failure of a maker's process or part, or if by owner misuse or unauthorized repair.

So, you may want to communicate with the maker, send them photos and see if they will accept work done by a specific person as "factory authorized" so that the warranty doesn't end up as broken as the top seal.

I think it's a vintage uke, Steve.
 

SteveZ

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I think it's a vintage uke, Steve.

That's good and bad. The good is that one is not tethered to the factory for repairs. The bad news is the popped top may be the tip of the iceberg. If the top glue is kaput, then everywhere else the same glue was used should be suspect. The top popping off should be a warning sign of other potential issues. A good luthier should fully inspect the entire instrument for what's needed. Hopefully, just resealing the top may be all that's needed, but there may indeed be more "under the surface."
 

BlackBearUkes

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I don't want to get into a big pissing match about hide glues, but the factory made instruments, ukes, violins, whatever, that were put together with hides glues, have a bad rep for staying together, I know because I do this kind of work day in and day out. All hide glues are not created equal.

Since this uke's top did just pop off, it probably was inferior hide glue. Titebond or other glues don't just pop off as a rule, unless they did a poor job of repair.
 

mm stan

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I don't want to get into a big pissing match about hide glues, but the factory made instruments, ukes, violins, whatever, that were put together with hides glues, have a bad rep for staying together, I know because I do this kind of work day in and day out. All hide glues are not created equal.

Since this uke's top did just pop off, it probably was inferior hide glue. Titebond or other glues don't just pop off as a rule, unless they did a poor job of repair.

Isn't it not only the brand but how much you dilute the hyde glue too?
 

fretie

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Yikes!

For a while, recently, I was seriously thinking of getting a vintage Kamaka. But with a near-new one in the mail and headed my way right now, thanks to the UU Marketplace, I feel a sense of relief knowing that my nearly new Kamaka's glue may outlive me! Hope not be around the day the new uke's top pops off!
 

janeray1940

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Yikes!

For a while, recently, I was seriously thinking of getting a vintage Kamaka. But with a near-new one in the mail and headed my way right now, thanks to the UU Marketplace, I feel a sense of relief knowing that my nearly new Kamaka's glue may outlive me! Hope not be around the day the new uke's top pops off!

You found one - congratulations! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it after it arrives.