This is the inside of the bowl before I excavated all the old nasty glue out. Honestly this thing really smelled bad, like rancid glue mixed with some large mammal droppings. My friend Stewart Port asked me why I bothered to even fix this thing, "For the money stupid" I said . Well. I thought about saying that, but since Stewart is one of the best guitar repairer/restorers on the West Coast, I said, "for the money", shrugging my shoulders. For the money, and for the love of ouds and all old beautiful instruments.
I put on the kinky blue nitrile surgical gloves and over several sessions, which totaled twelve hours of work, I finally removed all the black glue and dirt. I had to work slowly and carefully wetting and scraping out the tarry looking mess. As a section would come clean, I worked length wise along the ribs, I would use fresh hide glue and narrow strips of shopping bag paper to reinforce the seams between the ribs. I wish I could say I felt like an archeologist removing debris and rock from valuable rare Chinese dinosaur bird fossils, but that sounds like real drudge work.
After the whole job was done the inside of the oud bowl was no longer stinky. We joked it smelled of camel piss, although I dont know what camels piss actually smells like, I imagine it to be something like what this oud smelled like. When I was in grad school I worked part time for an over educated plumber named Ted and the other part time in a boat yard, thus I understand stink and all it's nuances. The oud never phased me.