Crack in the soundboard, by the sound hole

Dwain Wilder
Dwain Wilder
@dwain-wilder
4 weeks ago
58 posts

Ken Longfield:

I seldom go to festivals anymore for workshops but just to visit with dulcimer friends. However, Dwain, your workshop interests me. I might register for the Pocono festival just for that. I can easily drive over, take your workshop, and return home. I'll see when it is scheduled to take place. Thanks for offering this.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

Would be great to see you there, Ken.  I can't remember whether we've met before.

marg:

I talked about how we should handle our dulcimers in class (that you mention Dwain) & your workshop. We are just  north of Houston and it seems one of our players was planning on going to the Pocono Festival and will look for when your workshop is posted to registrar. 

Thanks, that will be great

marg.

 

And Marg, thanks so much for mentioning the workshop and letting me know a player is interested in it. I was raised in East Texas, and always glad to see a Texan.

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

I talked about how we should handle our dulcimers in class (that you mention Dwain) & your workshop. We are just  north of Houston and it seems one of our players was planning on going to the Pocono Festival and will look for when your workshop is posted to registrar. 

Thanks, that will be great

marg.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 weeks ago
1,078 posts

I seldom go to festivals anymore for workshops but just to visit with dulcimer friends. However, Dwain, your workshop interests me. I might register for the Pocono festival just for that. I can easily drive over, take your workshop, and return home. I'll see when it is scheduled to take place. Thanks for offering this.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

(a workshop for builders and repairers on how to fix )

this would be so helpful, wish I was closer. What a good idea, I have often thought of using an older (with problems) dulcimer to demonstrate a few things, to the newer players.

Dwain Wilder
Dwain Wilder
@dwain-wilder
4 weeks ago
58 posts

By the way, at the upcoming Pocono Club Dulcimer Festival in Stroudsburg, PA (April 27, 27) I will be teaching a workshop for builders and repairers on how to fix cracks anywhere inside musical instruments, including aligning the two sides of the crackand cleaning the inside surface across the crack in preparation for glueing an interior reinforcing cross cleat.

All this is done from outside the inside the instrument! I pass all interior materials though the nearest soundhole, and clamp the crack with interior/exterior matching magnets, and clamp the cleat with a system of springs and stops. The workshop title is "Laparoscopic Crack Repair."I will be repairing a crack on an old dulcimer that was such a failure that I cut it in half to use for this sort of demonstration.

Attached is a photo of the interior cleat glued and clamped across the crack inside —all arranged with a thread passed through a small hole drilled into the crack and later repaired.

This workshop isn't on the website's schedule yet, as Norm Williams and I just talked about it last week. Builders, please spread the word!

Cleat-Placed-Fxed-m.jpg


updated by @dwain-wilder: 03/19/24 01:14:07AM
marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

Good information Dwain, I think I will share this with my class tomorrow. 

 

Dwain Wilder
Dwain Wilder
@dwain-wilder
4 weeks ago
58 posts

Sometimes this sort of crack happens when the dulcimer is lifted or carried by grasping it by the top and back. The back is usually sturdier, but the top will crack at either its weakest wood grain or where the strain is greatest. The area where the top is glued to the fretboard is an area least able to respond by bending when the top is pressed by being lifted like this.

I see no reason here to suspect that was the cause, but builders regularly have to caution musicians to always lift the dulcimer by the peghead or tailblock (or strap) rather than putting the top and back into a vise-like grip between the thumb and fingers.

Similarly, trying to lift a mountain dulcimer by grasping the fretboard risks pressing fingernail dents into the top.


updated by @dwain-wilder: 03/18/24 04:48:27PM
marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

Thank you again,

  All good & I took everyones advice and supported the sound hole, not just the one with the crack but I glued some wood under the overhangs in all the sound holes music

  Yes, very glad to I was able to repair the crack and learn much, along the way. 

marg

repaired crack.jpg
repaired crack.jpg  •  370KB

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
4 weeks ago
388 posts

Marg, as a builder I am aware of such things.  If I make a dulcimer with intricate soundholes, I'll glue some tiny wood pieces under overhangs, at right angles to them, as has been discussed below.  It's just a good practice to get into and prevents breakages later.  Glad you were able to repair your own dulcimer!

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

I went ahead and reinforce all of the sound holes since each one has the grain running the same way and no support under neigh them.

  Interesting, always learning something new - this time, the shapes of sound holes and what support they have under neigh them. I went and check all my dulcimers and the students ones also. Most all others have smaller sound holes without such an unprotected curve. 

thanks again

marg

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 weeks ago
1,078 posts

Marg, it looks like it cracked along the grain of an area that has no support under it. A friend of mine has something similar happen when she had her dulcimer on her lap and when she bent over to pick something up off the floor a part of her anatomy pressed down the dulcimer's top. In many old dulcimers you damage like this. It just the nature of the beast.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

Everything coming along well, I peeked & it looks good but keeping it clamped till tomorrow. 

  It made such a loud crack noise when it happened, maybe I should be glad it wasn't a larger crack.

  Is there any reason why it would have crack or been weak to crack -  because of it's age or how it was stored for years, or, or , or? Is it just soft wood and fragile by the sound holes? What should I be careful for, just be careful?

Again, thanks for the guidance 


updated by @marg: 03/17/24 06:05:35PM
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
4 weeks ago
1,078 posts

If it were my dulcimer, I would glue a thin strip of wood along the underside of the crack. If you have any quarter sawn spruce, pine, or cedar, that's what I would use. I would glue the strip with the grain of the quarter sawn patch running perpendicular to the crack. It looks like you have enough room to get a clamp through the sound hole to do this. Of course, first start with super glue repair of the crack and re-enforce it.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

Thanks Ken will give this a try. I have tape on the inside now but was wondering if thin wood & glue would be better (hadn't thought of a business card). I will pick up some slow-set glue, I think mine is just the regular 10 second superglue. The  tape can stay on the inside till later if I decide I should have a bit more reinforcement. 

  Should I address the other sound hole to reinforce on the inside or just leave be?

  Not really sure how it cracked. I was setting up before the St Paddy Day performance and with the tight area and everyone else setting up & passing bags & things back behind us & over us - did I just lay my hand on the soundboard by the sound hole - I just don't know

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 weeks ago
2,120 posts

I suggest "superglue" -- the thin, slow-set kind, not the 10 second stuff.   Leave the painter's tape on the underside to support the crack but remove the upper tape so you can see the crack.  With the top off of the superglue (for speed), c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y  flex the crack open just a hair and wick drops of glue into the crack.  Then close the crack gently uad hold until the glue sets.

You could glue (with Titebond not superglue) a piece of business card across the inside of the crack and trim to fit..  But the simplest reinforcement is to add another couple layers of tape inside there... carefully trimming the edges of the tape so it doesn't show, of course.  

marg
@marg
4 weeks ago
616 posts

  I know this must have been asked several times but if I wanted to try and take care of a crack in (maybe spruce top)  soundboard - this is my Bob Lazenby Greenbriar Dulcimer, I just finished fixing the end pins & was going to use it today, at the St Paddy play. 

  What to use wood glue, supper glue - what about on the inside under the crack to reinforce, maybe some wood filler or a little piece of wood glued to the underside, for extra support????   

  The piece is still in tack, try and glue in the seam and tape to hold together, or take off and glue back on?

  Not sure how it crack, it did seem to follow the grain, about an inch. I was getting ready to play and maybe just laid my hand on the dulcimer - just not sure but it's at a point where the cut out section of the sound hole could come off

  Photo is still with taped, did this at the performance today. Looking for some information before I take the tape off. 

thanks in advance

marg

crack.jpg
crack.jpg  •  393KB