Home Mandolin Back Hospital


     Problems with the back come in a variety of forms, but stem largely from the stress put on the instrument by the strings, and/or the shrinkage of the wood used to build the instrument. This is often compounded by poor string choice, where modern strings, designed for the more powerful US archtops, are fitted to these old instruments. The other big factor is the hide glue used on these old instruments, which is very susceptible to the vagueries of temperature and humidity, and particularly, central heating.
Simple Dome Complex Dome Flatback Bowlback Rosewood Bowl
   Which ever type of back you are working on, there are a few common guidelines.
  • Decide whether the crack/split is small enough to be brought back together again.
  • If not, then an insert or replacement part will be required.
  • Whatever type of glue you use, the join will need to be kept under pressure whilst the glue dries.
  • Having given way once, it is safest to re-enforce inside as a precaution agst it failing again.
  • Repair the split BEFORE moving on to other repairs like varnish.

   Then the exact repair processes depend on what type of back we are working with......

Dome-back repair Flat-back repair Bowlback repair