Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Gretsch Soprano Ukulele Restoration

It's gotten too cold outside to try and paint the Red Pepper fuzz, so it's on hold. I may get a day above 50F when I can paint it, we shall see.

But I'm not hurting for projects.  I have a bunch of guitar and ukulele projects in the queue and it seems like a good time to start one.

First up we have this nice 50s Gretsch soprano ukulele.  It's pretty clear what the main issue is - the neck is off!  From the looks of it, the neck came off, and someone repaired it, then it came off again.

Gretsch apparently made thousands of these things.  Just check ebay and you'll find several for sale.  I played a couple of them at HMT and they sound pretty good.  Sopranos are a bit small for me, but this should make a nice instrument regardless.  It's made of all solid mahogany.

But it's more than just the neck with a problem, as it turns out.

There's this big top crack, and area where the top has separated from the side.  Fortunately, this is a clean break, and it will glue up nicely.

A pair of tight cracks in the back also.  Again, these should not present a big problem to fix.

The body end of the neck joint.  Again, we have some separation of the top - I'm holding it up here.

There also is a hunk of wood from the neck that broke off - it's under the fingerboard.  It's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like a mix of the original factory glue and glue from a previous repair here.  I'm going to try and clean all the glue off and then reattach the neck.

The dowel for the neck joint.  It doesn't look like the dowel broke.  You can see the divot where the matching piece of mahogany goes.  And more old glue to remove. 

Note also the glue in the fret slot - clearly someone repaired this before. 

The fingerboard extension.  My plan is to remove this, replace the missing fret, and then glue the extension back onto the fingerboard, then attach the neck to the body.

Thankfully I have the missing piece of the fingerboard extension.  I'll need to fill the cracks in the extension - I'm pondering what to use.  My last go-round with wood putty was not good - I may try epoxy this time.


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