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I was recording a percussion part the other day, and one of my maracas broke during the take.

Maracas

It wouldn't be all that much money to replace them, but I like the sound they make. I also have sentimental reasons for keeping them. (They're probably about 40 - 50 years old.)

It's pretty apparent that these were glued. I'm planning to clean the old glue off and re-glue them. What glue is best for this? My first thought was hide glue, as one would use on a guitar, but tone is less of an issue here than durability. (Whetever I end up using, I'll probably break and re-glue the other one as well at some point.)

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I'd suggest wood glue, but I haven't had to put glue on an instrument before. –  Matthew Read Sep 18 '11 at 1:06
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've done this repair several times to the pieces in my maraca collection. I collect the gourd maracas, but gig with synthetic or rawhide.

You have two dissimilar surfaces. Close, but not the same. Regular white glue has a lot of water, and the gourd surface of the maraca will want to soak up the water in the glue. I like the yellow carpenters glue. Here are the steps:

  1. Clean and smooth both surfaces to be glued.

  2. Wrap some cotton thread around the handle to ensure a tight fit.

  3. Rub a light coat of glue on the inside wall of the hole, to seal the pores a bit

  4. Thin coat of glue on the thread-wrapped handle to fix the thread to the wood.

  5. After both surfaces have gone tacky, but not dry, smear on a heavier coat of glue on the handle and insert into the gourd.

If I plan on taking the instrument out, then after drying, I build up some layers of glued thread just underneath the gourd, by wrapping. This ups the area that's being glued up and beefs up the entire repair. Once everything is dried, you can paint to your satisfaction.

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+1 Welcome to Music SE! Great answer. –  American Luke Sep 22 '12 at 18:12
    
I've got to say that, as good as the accepted answer by @M.Werner is, this is more specific and even better; am switching this to the accepted answer. (I'm also glad I never got around to fixing this, now that I can try this much more specific answer.) Thanks!. –  neilfein Sep 23 '12 at 2:15
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Here's what I would do. I think any decent wood glue would be fine. Either traditional "hide" or modern synthetic like Titebond. However, it's your gluing surface that's going to be the problem. The hole in the gourd is very rough. I would smooth that hole so you had a nice, smooth, round gluing surface. If your tapered handle will still fit, you're golden. If not, you may have to make a new handle. That should be really easy if you know someone with a woodworking lathe, or you can spend a bit more time and do it with hand tools. One more thing. You can use the existing handle to do the sanding with. Just wrap the tapered end with suitable medium-grit sandpaper and gently rotate it in the hole.

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