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Thread: Crack in top - Tenor Englemann Spruce

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Abbotsford British Columbia Canada
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    Hey PetalumaResuke the sound board is flat. I also saw no signs of bridge rotation.

    The top was installed during the winter, however our winters are not cold or dry. Nine degrees (Celsius)and raining is our common forecast from December to March. Humidity (or lack of) may have played a part.

    I am an inexperienced builder so this type of problem will provide me with the good experience.

    Thanks all for your thoughts. I will see about posting pictures of the repairs as the proceed.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Wales, UK
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    Nothing to do with soundboard thickness, bridge rotation or any of the other suggestions except from Allen who diagnosed correctly. It was always there - you can tell because of the crack symmetry, either side of the centre line and the secondary crack beginning to show beside the main one. This indicates a set taken from the end of a billet...

    And that folks is the difference between those who do this for a living and have the 10,000 hours and those who aren't quite there yet.

    I don't do it but you may wish to look up 'candling'. I simple flex the boards because this is not an uncommon problem when working with thin stock, quarter sawn and figured timber and this simple check reveals cracks which can be glued ant the time the centre seam issuing done as long as they have not been 'open' for some time.... and I'd defy you to find the join .
    Last edited by Pete Howlett; 05-08-2019 at 09:40 AM.

  3. #13
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    Abbotsford British Columbia Canada
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    Thanks Pete, I found this description of candling testing.

    "There is an old method of dating wood called the Candle Test, used to date violins. Holding a light behind wood recently harvested will show a bright round spot of glowing orangeish-yellow. Older wood, of say 100 years in age, allows much less light to show through, while wood that is 200 or 300 years old will show little or no light at all.

    Why this happens remains a mystery. But it makes sense to me that the matter inside the cells or between the cell walls (cellulose and sugars, etc.) has become crystallized to the point that it refracts the light, or otherwise somehow absorbs it."

    Is this what you are referring to?

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Cairns, Australia
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    Candeling......or a more modern method would be a strong even light source (light table) will show you pitch pockets, and other flaws such as cracks, and some builders use them to help determine if their bookmatch joint is perfect.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    Here is a picture I took using a 300 watt halogen shop lamp to candle some jointed plates sanded to 125. Note that while the seam was completely invisible under normal light, the glue shows up when candeling. No weird inclusions or grain lines apparent. Actually I've never come across anything deeply flawed in my spruce plates. Probably because I'm not as experienced as some luthiers here on the forum. Or maybe I just have access to higher quality wood. These spruce plates were from Alaskawood: https://alaskawoods.com/

    candle.jpg

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Abbotsford British Columbia Canada
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    Thanks again, I found this reference;

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...Candling-a-Top

  7. #17

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    In the violin world, a bright light source can also help provide a quick visual indication of how thickness varies across the carved top. A handy way of keeping tabs on things while carving contours and testing tap tones (if that's your thing).

    John

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Abbotsford British Columbia Canada
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    Update, I used hide glue, magnets and a home made clamp to fix the cracks. I used magnets to glue the cracks shut. I placed two cleats on the inside with the aid of of a home built clamp. The home built clamp has magnets installed to aid in aligning the cleats. The final finish looks better than i thought it would.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Wales, UK
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    Next time use 'gummed tape' as a cleat. You wet it and apply it and as it shrinks, it pull the crack together. The adhesive is fish glue so it fully integrates with whatever it is sticking to and will only come off when sacked with water. It is an easier and neater solution than cleating with wood.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
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    Nice job, Pat.

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