Repairs: Cracks

Cracks happen. Sometimes they are the result of careless handling, sometimes of climatic conditions, and sometimes simply the result of stresses within the wood equalizing.

There are often several ways to repair a crack. Cracked heads are usually repaired by installing a sleeve over the head. Body and socket cracks can be repaired by gluing, gluing and binding with thread or wire, gluing and stitching across the crack with threaded rod, or by rebuilding a socket with an inlay or mending plate of wood or brass.

I usually attempt to determine the most cost-effective means of repair, basing my decisions upon the value of the instrument, the way it will be used, and the stresses the crack must endure. I then consult with you to come to an agreeable solution before commencing the repair.

Specialized cracks, like those through the edge, fall into the realm of Specialized Repairs.

I can also often repair broken plastic recorders, provided they are not in too many pieces.

Cracked Recorder Heads…

Cracked heads usually occur from neglect of one sort or another. The most common causes are overplaying an instrument, particularly at a workshop, or failing to voice the instrument frequently enough so that the plug expands and acts as a wedge causing the head to split open. Sometimes this stress is not evident until an attempt is made to remove the plug for voicing or inspection. At this time, the stress of driving the plug out is transferred into the head itself, and it fails, cracking to release the pressure. Another cause is excessively drying the wood by leaving the instrument in the sun or on a radiator or exposed to a similar source of heat. All of these are preventable.

Prevention of cracked heads is best done by periodically having the plug removed to inspect the voicing and relieve any stress which may be building up. Otherwise, you should not play any wooden instrument more than about an hour a day TOTAL. If the instrument gets soggy or begins to run water, it is probably done for the day. And pay attention to where you leave your instrument.

Cracked heads require the installation of a sleeve over the damaged portion. This is a difficult and risky job. My price for this service includes the sleeve, installation, and facing and buffing the head. The charge for the cracked head repair does not include a voicing charge, which should be done at the same time. If the crack goes into the windway, it must be done at this time.