Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ukulele repair: top separating from sides

Here is my 1950's Favilla soprano ukulele.  As you can see, the top has started to separate from the sides.  In my last post, I showed you how to make your own spool clamps for this kind of repair.  If you missed that, check it out here.

Now that our spool clamps are ready to go, we can put 'em to the test and get down to fixing this little guy up.

There's really not much to it.  Just put a little Titebond wood glue in the crack and clamp away!

Ok, so it's a little more involved than that.  First of all, it can be difficult to get the glue in the little crevice.  I filled an oral syringe with wood glue and very carefully used a putty knife to force the separation open a little bit.  It's a little bit tricky and would probably be easier with two people, but if you're patient enough, you can get the glue in there.

When putting on the clamps, be careful not to get them too tight.  You want the clamp to be strong...but you also don't want so much pressure that it damages the wood.  Err on the side of caution here.

It's also a good idea to have a few things close by to help clean up the excess glue - a damp sponge, some paper towels, and some toothpicks for the harder to reach spots.

After your clamps are set and you've cleaned up the excess glue, let the clamps do their thing for at least 4 hours.  I usually leave mine on from 6-8 hours.

All done!  Just a little bit of dry glue to clean up.  It closed up nicely, but the real test comes when you string it back up.

Thankfully, the repair held just fine under the tension of the new strings.

Hurray!  Flava Fav (of course, I have to give my ukuleles ridiculous names) is back to his old self again.

Hope that this has been of some help to you.  Good luck with fixing up your own ukuleles!


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