I posted the following over at the Mandolin Cafe a few days ago. I figured I'd try it here as well to collect as many ideas as possible before I start on a repair. My apologies to any who have already seen my dilemma.
While taking off all the strings to replace the first 7 frets- (the others must be a lot harder..) I noticed a crack in the center seam just below the tailpiece. You know that sinking feeling as your day suddenly heads south? So, I remove the tailpiece and and discove that it's showing alot more recurve than I recall carving. It's pushed in, and I can see some cross-grain cracks in the lacquer and probably the top.
I've read the threads I could find that relate to this issue, and it seems like a clear case of carving to thin in this area. So, nobody has to be shy about breaking that news to me. What's curious is that I built this mando 26 years ago, and it's been strung ever since. Hence my surprise to find an issue at this point.
I assume I'm looking making at a new top. Not really thrilled about the prospect, but it is do-able. My question is: has anybody found a way to repair this problem? It's an awful place to get at without removing the top or back. I did read about how Frank Ford patched a A-4 with the same problem. Disclosure: I ain't Frank Ford!! He removed the back to get at it. Worth it in the case of a vintage instrument, but I'm thinking that if I get that far into it, I'll take the top off and just replace it.
I may try to fix it, mainly because I don't have a lot to lose at this point.Here's a few pix, assuming all works as hoped:
Here's why its worth troubling with;
I daydream of a guitar tuner pulling on a steel string through a tiny drilled hole to locate and clamp a patch inside the top. Friendly plastic to act as an outside caul.....Does anybody have a method that has worked well?
Thanks for listening, and though I apologize for running on, this has been a painful chapter!