Several restorateurs had turned this job down, but the emotional appeal of the owner won me over to the cause. The uke had belonged to his father, and he had attempted the repair work as a young boy.
Often clients will have done their best to stabilize damage to keep the instruments functional, here he had glued in balsa wood over the damage...
Aha! Not much left under that balsa wood.
Side cracks are tricky as it is difficult to get clamps in through the sound hole to apply cleats. I often use rare earth magnets to accomplish this task.
Back to good as new!
A replaced back, with the original binding saved and tinted for the warm glow of vintage nitro cellulose.
Another Martin style "0" with some missing top wood.
This is why I never throw anything away, and old top from the right period is an exact match for the stain and patina, a nice cleat inside and its ready to go.
One of the more rare ukes to come in for restoration, a "Radio Tenor" Leonardo Nunes.
Unmistakable charm of a vintage legend.
The back of this uke was badly cracked and missing pieces, my client asked that I replace the entire back. I found a good match of Koa, and made a custom varnish to match the aged patina.
One aspect of my work I enjoy quite a bit is the attempt to make the new, look old. Here is a crackled finish with some typical wear you might find on an old timer like this.