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Most cracks can be dealt with in some way. Pinning the crack is one option but only where sufficient depth on the instrument body is available. The process involves drilling and inserting pins at an angle across the crack. The crack is sealed using an adhesive. It should be noted the adhesive is only a sealer and not used as part of the strength of the instrument. The pin entry holes are filled to match the instrument as closely as possible. Pinning a crack can be successful but sadly cannot be guaranteed.
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Socket and beak cracks
Cracks at the ends of a head or foot joint are usually best dealt with by turning away part of the instrument body and replacing it with a sheath or ring (usually plastic). The sheath or ring is turned to represent the original form of the instrument. I use two different materials for this work. Both are ivory imitations. I make my material choices depending on whether similar ivory/ivory substitute rings are already in place elsewhere on the instrument and the strength required at a particular place.
I never repair a crack with glue alone unless it is on a centre joint tenon (the corked or threaded section). This is because all recorders have been oiled at some point and some are wax impregnated, therefore glue is unlikely to actually stick anything together. It will merely act as a sealer until the wood moves again. As mentioned, I do use ‘glue only’ on tenons simply because there is so little wood to work with. If this does happen I adjust the pressure on the joint accordingly to minimise the crack opening again. Future repairs on the tenon in question should be treated with this in mind.
I have repaired ‘repairs’ by other people in the past. These often well intended and well executed repairs usually need re doing due to a poor choice of material.
If you have an instrument in need of repair please email me details along with some photographs of the instrument and in particular the problem area. I can’t quote anything unseen!