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Author Topic: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker  (Read 5023 times)

SeilerBird

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I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« on: August 14, 2012, 08:32:52 PM »
I bought a guitar last year and it has all gold hardware except the four knobs were black. I decided to change them to gold knobs and I got the first three on no problem but when I tried to put the fourth knob on I turned the guitar from a one piece guitar into a four piece guitar. The first photo shows the top F hole that is intact. The second photo shows the bottom F hole and the damaged area. The third photo shows the three pieces and the fourth shows the three pieces assembled. My plan was to get a professional guitar repair person to fix the damage. But after playing it for a while I realized I don't like the frets or the tuners. This is my first semi hollow guitar and I ended up not caring for the feedback. So I have decided to try and repair it myself so I can sell it dirt cheap just to get rid of it. The problem is I suck at working with wood.

It appears to be a fairly simple process to glue the pieces back into the guitar, I just don't even think I could do anywhere as good a job as a professional. But I don't care about that, I just want to return it to being one piece again even with a sloppy glue job. So do I glue the three pieces together and then glue that piece to the guitar or do I glue it one piece at a time and let it dry in between pieces? Will I need to first glue a backing piece of wood on the inside of the guitar? How would the masters do this job?
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Tom

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 10:15:57 PM »
Sorry to hear that Tom. I'm not sure how I'd proceed, but Maybe I should have named this board Breaking music on the road  ???
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SeilerBird

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 10:46:07 PM »
Too bad Karen isn't still alive, she would have the answer. :(
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Luca1369

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 12:39:13 AM »
Wow, that's a complicated fix, even if you're doing a quick repair just to sell it.  I'm not a luthier, but I apprenticed for two years as a young man and learned a few tricks that have been helpful in maintaining my own instruments.

Part of the problem is that the wood is not just decorative; it has to maintain a certain strength or normal knob usage will quickly destroy your repair and perhaps damage the wood to the point that another repair would be even more difficult and costly. 

I would suggest using animal hide glue, it flows well, it cleans up easily, it is very strong, and you can even color it to help hide the repair.  Some may suggest using an epoxy but that will be too stiff as the guitar’s top is under a bit of pressure when in use and it's not forgiving when any movement is involved and let's face it, vibrations are what create a guitar's music.  Hide glues are what your guitar is built with, not epoxy, and a hide glue allows you to completely redo your repair by applying heat to the mated pieces and work them apart to remove the glue and start over, you can't do that with epoxy.  I think you’ll be happier with the animal hide glue, it will create a bond stronger than the original wood yet gives you the option of reconstruction if needed.  If you can, you might want to try the kind of hide glue that you have to heat before using (but in reality you might not want to deal with using it; it's a great bonding agent but requires more prep work and something to heat it with).  The wood appears to be mahogany so oil should not be a problem but I would take some rubbing alcohol and wipe off the mating surfaces of the break before applying glue.  Make sure the mating surfaces are clean and dry before gluing.

You should utilize a backing piece (or pieces) that will be glued to the inside of the good wood and the inside of the broken wooden pieces.  You might use one small, thin layer, or several thin layers laminated together to mirror the curve of the wood, or some small strips that would resemble stitches on a scar and are sanded to also mirror the natural curve of the top of the guitar). 

Start by loosening the strings the night before your planned repair to take tension off the top of the guitar (you’ll need to be careful when you tune it up again making sure the tension doesn’t wreak havoc with your repair.  If your goal is a quickie fix, I would then glue the broken pieces together being careful to make sure the separated surfaces are clean and glue covers all the mating edges.  You should create some thin strips to use as bracing glued to the inside of the breaks. 

I would start with the two pieces that surround the pot’s hole; then let it set up as per instructions on the glue you’re using.  Then glue the third piece to the unit and let set up.  Hopefully they’ll maintain the arc they originally had.  It would be a good idea to create some bracing strips and glue them to the inside of the repaired piece along the seams when they split but don’t brace the outside edges of the piece where they meet the guitar’s top, you’ll put another brace on the guitar top.  Glue and clamp the pieces and let set up.

Now comes the fun part.  Make sure your repair fits in the space it once occupied and all edges match, you’ll need to make any corrections and bracing at this point.  I think a thin strip of wood the length of the split (well glued) should suffice.  The bracing you use should be dependent on the weight of the knob and the pressure it exerts on the wood in normal usage.  Glue the brace to the inside of the guitar (not the repaired piece yet-in other words, if you have a 6” long split and a 1” wide strip to cover that length, glue ½” of the strip on the inside of the guitar leaving the other ½” ready to accept the repaired piece), clamp, let it set up.  Install the pot in the repaired piece to avoid any stress after you’ve glued it to the guitar (if you’re going to change the knob do it before installing the pot into the repaired piece).  Then take your repaired piece and glue it to the guitar and the bracing you constructed, clamp, let set up. 

I can’t guarantee that this repair will be strong enough to last long, it’s certainly not intended to be a true permanent fix, but it should endure long enough to sell it and then some depending on how the guitar is handled.  For a longer term fix you'll need to fabricate a brace that is A) not easily seen when looking at the guitar normally, B) strong enough to support the pot (my guess is that it’s the volume pot for the bridge pickup), and C) not too big so as to create unnatural pressure on the top and bottom of the inside of the guitar, in other words it must be fitted correctly.

You're probably familiar with the Steward-MacDonald web site, they offer articles about a lot of different repairs that they have done to guitars (good instructions as well as supplies - and yes, they try to sell you their products but everything you need should be found at a Home Depot).

Here's a link to Stew Mac http://www.stewmac.com/?gclid=CKzMzrjj6LECFQ-R7QodTE4AXA

Or if you want to avoid all this, sell it so some handy guitarist and let him/her fix it for themselves.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 10:43:04 AM by Luca1369 »
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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 06:18:04 AM »
The best thing you have going here is that the pieces did not break off cleanly but sheared off at an angle.  That gives you more wood surface to glue and that is good.  I would use two-part epoxy which I have found would be the strongest.  Glue two pieces together and try to get a clamp on them.  Even if it is a little spring clamp.  Then add the third, etc.  If you line them up perfectly, they will drop into the larger hole and can be glued there.  This doesn't help hit the structural strength but it may not be required.  Does the area have stress put on it when you play?  The best way to support the patch would be with a leg down to the back of the guitar on the other side but that may change some of the sound characteristics.

Never worked on a guitar but Ive listened to them several times.  This seems the best way to get the patch back in and ready for sale.  I would use the two-part CLEAR epoxy.  Don't settle for one you don't mix.  Wal*Mart carries or any hardware store.
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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2012, 07:45:36 AM »
Thought about something else.  If you decide to glue it (epoxy or wood glue) you really should clamp it.  And to keep the glue from oozing out and sticking the clamps to the surface, cover the glue seam with wax paper.
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PancakeBill

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 08:30:14 AM »
Stick with Luca's advice.  Hide glue is the way to go and he gave good reasons to avoid epoxy.
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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 11:01:05 AM »
Not trying to start another discussion that will rival the TP one.  I suspect that most any glue Tom uses would be fine.  Especially since he is doing it to sell.  The reason that woodworkers often don't use hide glue is detailed in Wikipedia:


"Animal glues will also darken with age and shrink as they dry, giving them the potential to harm wood, paper, or works of art. Too much handling and too many changes in temperature or humidity could cause further harm"
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Luca1369

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 11:12:45 AM »
Not trying to start another discussion that will rival the TP one.

Never worked on a guitar but Ive listened to them several times.

Ask ANY luthier, hide glues are the standard in the industry, with perhaps one or two rogues who will use something else.  Besides, just how much trust can one put in an article from Wikipedia?

Yes, let's not snowball this rather simple discussion, Tom could use superglue and be done in a matter of minutes, if that's what he's aiming for he should do it.  You know, at the end of the day, the best thing might just be to find someone who wants to buy the guitar and fix it themselves (IMHO).  Hell, I'll give him $20 bucks for it myself.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 11:16:24 AM by Luca1369 »
Steve
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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 12:54:57 PM »
How about hanging one of his spectacular pictures over the hole?
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SeilerBird

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 12:57:20 PM »
How about hanging one of his spectacular pictures over the hole?
Now there is a spectacular idea. I could put the photo of the good F hole over it. ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 09:23:23 PM »
Steve  - Thanks a million for your very well thought out and lengthy response. I will be following your advice to the letter. Back in my teens I worked with epoxy and there is no way I would use it on my guitar. I have never even heard of animal hide glue, but I will be picking it up when I head for Home Depot. The only thing I can't figure out is what type of clamps I am going to need and how to use the clamps without gluing the clamp to the guitar.
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skyking1

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2012, 10:47:25 PM »
You definitely need to have a dry fit and clamping plan. You may need to cut some custom pieces to use to hold it all together. This is also a good time to enlist in a spare pair of hands.
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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2012, 11:24:26 PM »
You should utilize a backing piece (or pieces) that will be glued to the inside of the good wood and the inside of the broken wooden pieces.  You might use one small, thin layer, or several thin layers laminated together to mirror the curve of the wood, or some small strips that would resemble stitches on a scar and are sanded to also mirror the natural curve of the top of the guitar). 

Would the inside bracing impact the sound at all?
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Water Dog

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 12:06:23 AM »
You definitely need to have a dry fit and clamping plan. You may need to cut some custom pieces to use to hold it all together. This is also a good time to enlist in a spare pair of hands.

I agree, dry fitting is going to be key, and you can use that process to shape whatever it is you're going to use to back up the original pieces. You could probably find a piece of door skin material at Home Depot (maybe athey have a broken piece you could rob a chunk off of) to use for backing. If it were me, I would just use some painters or masking tape to hold the pieces in place temporarily so you can work on a backer piece, then glue in the backer first and let it dry, and that will make it easier to establish the proper alignment for the top pieces. I also agree that hide glue is probably going to be best for the application although I'm not sure about finding it at the "Depot"

Stop by Roseville and I'll help you with it.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 12:10:05 AM by Water Dog »
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Luca1369

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2012, 02:57:21 AM »
Tom,

Elmers makes an animal hide glue in a small bottle that looks like any other Elmer's Glue bottle and you should be able to find it at Home Depot.  You said you hadn't heard of hide glues...didn't you ever hear someone talking about sending an old horse to the glue factory? 

A trick to clamping is not clamping to the guitar directly.  Use a piece of wood inside and outside the broken pieces and attach the clamps to them to squeeze the parts together.  Besides not marking the wood it can spread the load of the clamp along the seam.  You can use one of these pieces of wood for each clamp inside and outside the guitar but two clamps per piece would be better, it's all dependent on access to your seams and the depth of your clamps.  When you buy your clamps make sure that the foot of the clamp is small enough to be removed from the guitar's interior via the repaired F hole.

As for clamps, Home Depot will have some suitable clamps.  Three or four small "C" clamps should do you fine (usually a buck or two each), just make sure they are deep enough to reach the seams (two deep, 3"-4", and two shallow, 2" should be all you need).  By depth I don't mean the vertical adjustment of the clamp, I mean the width of the gap from the clamp body to the clamp screw.

As you clamp and the glue squeezes out of the seams on the top and inside the guitar, wipe it off (hide glue cleans easily) and when you have the clamps tensioned, release one at a time, clean up any glue underneath, and then put a small piece of waxpaper under the wood that you're using under your clamps, both inside and outside the guitar and retighten.  If you're using wood under your clamps, you'll have to remove the entire piece including the clamps to clean up the seams and apply wax paper under the wood you're using to spread the clamping load.  It takes a while for hide glue to completely set up, this entire repair may be spread over two or three days, doing a little bit at a time.

As for the question about the bracing, the impact the repair will have upon the overall sound of the guitar is negligble, you will never even notice it.  The only thing the repair could impact is the sustain of the strings and like I said, you won't notice it. 

SkyKing is right about the dry fit, it should go without saying that's how you will align the pieces before you apply the adhesive.  Doorskins are a good idea but they are very thin and you might have to laminate one atop the other to get a workable brace.  You won't need a full sheet of material, if you could just pick up a square foot or so it should suffice.  Glue as large a piece of the doorskins together as you can and then cut your braces from the finished product instead of cutiting and gluing several braces.

I think you should be able to do this entire repair for less than $20 in supplies and when you're finished you'll have clamps and glue left over in case you have any other guitar related emergencies. ;D

When I apprenticed, I did so to learn more about guitars and their workings, but for the first year I spent 80% of my time on kids band instruments, primarily violins and cellos.  You wouldn't believe the damage a kid can do to a violin (the bows are the first thing to go).  Finally, another guy began apprenticing at the shop and I got to work mostly on guitars (promotion!!!).  I felt like an indentured servant for those couple of years.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 03:27:06 AM by Luca1369 »
Steve
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For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
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A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

SeilerBird

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2012, 08:25:32 AM »
Would the inside bracing impact the sound at all?
This is really an electric guitar. The vibrations of the strings are picked up by pickups located 1/4 inch below the strings. One thing that confuses people a lot is that an electric guitar does not make a sound at all (well a very very weak one), it creates electromagnetic energy that is picked up by the pickups. The sound of an electric is really created in the amplifier. I have a whole bunch of controls on my amp besides volume, bass, and treble. I can literally make the guitar sound like anything I want it to. A lot of people wax eloquently about how this pickup sounds so much better than that pickup and no doubt they do sound different, but the amp is the great equalizer. It can make a humbucker sound exactly like a single coil pickup and vice versa. I have settings on my amp to do this.

Electric guitars are made from wood, aluminum, plastic and who knows what else. But when they are played it is almost impossible to say which is which blindfolded since you can't hear the results without running the guitar through an amp. The material may have some effect on the sound, but once again the amp is the great equalizer.

Now if this were an acoustic guitar I would just throw the guitar away since adding bracing on the inside could possibly destroy the sound of the instrument. But I would not know how bad it sounded until I got it repaired. It might not change the sound at all or it could turn into a disaster area. Here is a bit of trivia that will surprise many players. The sound hole has nothing to do with the sound of the guitar. The sound hole is there so the sound box can breathe. The sound of the guitar is determined by the sound board, the large piece of wood on the front of the guitar that the bridge is connected to. 
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skyking1

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2012, 10:52:00 PM »
Tom, If you are still heading this way I can lend a hand and a shop with saws and material for the clamping pieces.
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SeilerBird

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Re: I am looking for a master carpenter or woodworker
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2012, 11:04:45 PM »
Tom, If you are still heading this way I can lend a hand and a shop with saws and material for the clamping pieces.
Unfortunately I am no longer headed for Washington. I spent four months in fog and I got tired of it so I stopped in Crescent City to do some repairs and I will be heading back to Vegas next month. Thank you very much for the kind offer.
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