Cracked top Strut (Brace?)

Seakestrel

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I was playing one of my favourite "go to" Tenor ukes the other day and happened to glance down into the soundhole (why I don't know), and was horrified to see a rather worrying looking crack on the support strut (or brace). Is it repairable? Can I attempt to repair it myself or is it a Luthier's job? And if I can attempt to repair it - how do I go about it and what do I need?
Apologies for so many questions, but this is the first major damage that any of my ukulele's has had (and for the life of me I don't know how it has happened, as when my ukulele's are not being played, they are in their solid cases, and it has never been sat on, dropped, or mistreated).
If any of you could help I would be really appreciative.
 

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I was playing one of my favourite "go to" Tenor ukes the other day and happened to glance down into the soundhole (why I don't know), and was horrified to see a rather worrying looking crack on the support strut (or brace). Is it repairable? Can I attempt to repair it myself or is it a Luthier's job? And if I can attempt to repair it - how do I go about it and what do I need?
Apologies for so many questions, but this is the first major damage that any of my ukulele's has had (and for the life of me I don't know how it has happened, as when my ukulele's are not being played, they are in their solid cases, and it has never been sat on, dropped, or mistreated).
If any of you could help I would be really appreciative.
It is repairable but if, as you say, it is one of your favourites then I suggest taking it to an experienced repairer. Your questions seem to indicate you haven't tackled a project like this before. Practising repairing on favourite ukuleles could lead to disappointment.
Miguel
 
If you're comfortable attempting a repair, I would suggest using some white/yellow wood glue, carefully apply a small amount to the crack (maybe use a toothpick) and place a scrap of wood and something fairly soft like leather on the top to protect it from damage and use a G-clamp to apply light pressure to close the crack in the brace (overtightening will damage the top and starve the joint of glue)

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert so please consider getting the advice of a luthier.
 
First of all thank you for sending an excellent photograph of the problem... From what I can see, this should be duck soup (easy) for a repair person to fix and you could PROBABLY do it yourself but why take the chance. Also, how do the other braces look? Are there cracks, perhaps separation in those too? A qualified repair person could do a proper inspection... I doubt that this problem was caused by anything you did or did not do short of really drying the instrument out. See if you can get it fixed under warranty. Good luck!
 
The photo is not clear - can I see traces of old glue around the crack? Only if it is a clean, new crack should you attempt to repair it yourself, and then only if you are fully confident of a good result. Otherwise, seek help from someone with experience of such repairs.

It is a fairly straightforward job, so it should not cost the Earth, even if you have to take it to a professional repairer.
 
Thank you all for your wonderful helpful replies, and as you suggested Lauburu, as it is one of my favourite's I should take it to a professional luthier. Sequoia, thanks for pointing out that there may be other loose or damaged braces too that are not able to be seen, I'll contact the luthier I bought it from to try and get it repaired under warranty - it is still under the 12 month warranty period. The repair instructions you have given are marvellous Paul, thank you. And John - great spotting on the glue, after reading your reply, I went and had a closer look with a strong light and magnifying glass, and there is indeed old dried glue around the crack, obviously it was damaged originally, glued and possibly from being played/used expansion/contraction, the glue has dried out and sprung open.

Again, thank you all for your splendid help.
 
The photo is not clear - can I see traces of old glue around the crack?

Good spot John. One has to wonder why a cracked brace was glue repaired prior to gluing to the top. I mean really? If I saw such a crack in a brace I was going to use it would have gone straight to the kindling pile. It's just a small piece of inexpensive spruce. Or... the brace split prior to sale but after construction so was repaired and then sold. Such a mystery.

And to the OP: Please do not say who the luthier/shop/seller was please. All are innocent here...
 
As there is old glue in the crack it will need cleaning out, and a luthier will have a better idea how to do that successfully. It doesn't look like hide glue residue to me, which is a pity as that's easy.

From your picture the tension of the string is arching the top, as expected, and so pulling the crack open. I'd take the string tension off to prevent the crack growing longer.
 
As there is old glue in the crack it will need cleaning out, and a luthier will have a better idea how to do that successfully. It doesn't look like hide glue residue to me, which is a pity as that's easy.

From your picture the tension of the string is arching the top, as expected, and so pulling the crack open. I'd take the string tension off to prevent the crack growing longer.
Thanks for the suggestion ProfChris, I didn't think to do that - so have just done so. I have received a reply from the Luthier that I bought it from in the first place, and he's asked me to either take or courier it to him asap so he can repair/replace the strut and check the other bracings and struts.
So hopefully my little beauty will be back to full strength and voice again soon.
 
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