Hmmm, this is interesting. It looks like an old violin case.
It's a Gibson TU tenor ukulele from 1927-29. Crazy!
Ironically, Gibson contacted Martin for advice on ukulele building! Martin offered to help them source small parts. It's not known if they followed through, but we know Gibson made three soprano uku models, as well as an extremely rare TU, or "tenor ukulele." The TU was in production for just about 2 years, 1927-9.
The TU features a spruce top over mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany. The bridge and fingerboard are Brazilian rosewood. You can see the lovely celluloid binding on the front and back.
There are four tiny bridge pins and a fifth decorative pin. Very unusual.
I sanded just a touch off that fifth pin - it stuck up way too high for my taste. (In the picture above, you can see how high up it was). I had visions of that little piece snapping off.
The saddle and nut are also bone.
It looks worse in the photos than it really is.
There are 2 thin braces that are similar to fan braces on a classical guitar which are alongside the bridge plate. The plate could be maple - it's hard to tell.
In addition to the top cracks, there are 2 cracks in the back that were nicely repaired. The glue used on all of the repairs appears to be hide glue - whoopee! Nicely done.
While the bracing appears to me to be lighter than a Martin, the ukulele is almost twice the weight of a Martin due to that relatively massive bridge.
Gibson sopranos use a much lighter and more conventional bridge. I can only guess that Gibson was concerned about the longer tenor scale length needing a stronger bridge.
The ukulele is in very fine shape. I'm just going to clean it up and restring it.
I like Dunlop fingerboard cleaner for boards like this. You can see some of the grime that came off. Not too bad.
This picture was taken while the oil was still soaking in a bit - I wiped the excess off.
The Virtuoso polish is fantastic, but the cleaner is even better. I can't imagine using anything else.
You can see the gloss on the old finish really coming alive. Remember, this finish was put on about 87 years ago!
Compare this picture to the picture of the back at the top of this post. The Virtuoso cleaner gives a cloudy finish terrific clarity. The polish is the the final touch.