4/13/2018

Workshop: 1930s Dobro Ukulele Overhaul


I bought this off of eBay recently and I know at least a few of you (per your phone calls) were bidding against me. We all knew it was trashed, but how trashed is it really? Here's how it came to me.




The original nut is nice but the tuners are depressing.


At a glance we can see that the original tailpiece and cone are still intact. The coverplate has been indented downward to match the string path a little better due to the neck angle, but the tailpiece angle on the saddle is terrible even with the action high.


Let's also not forget the giant screw-fix for the heel split (the heel split right in the middle of where the dowel for the doweled neck joint goes into it). Note that some of the ply on the body is loose on layer one, too.


While brute-ish and a bit ugly, the ancient heel repair and neck "reset" is solid.


But, frankly, what the fribbida is all that?! The non-original "saddle" is pretty funny, too.


Ick... also note the many small punctures in the paper-thin mini-Dobro-cone, too.


Well, it's out and mostly clean, but oh my! Much love will be necessary...


Meanwhile, the plywood soundwell has suffered some varying amounts of death and a healthy dose of goop at its lip for the cone.



Step one is to remove all the gunk and level the lip off as much as possible.


Step two is to fill in all of the mucked-up areas on the soundwell lip and shore its gaps up with a lot of super glue and wood dust (basically -- like instant epoxy).


After that's all tidy I use one layer of duct tape to serve as a gasket.


After using epoxy to tidy-up any damage to the cone and crimping the edges again, it's ready to serve.

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