Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Classical guitar repair, Vincente Sanchis, model 29, made in Spain.





Yet another Peg head break that has been previously (and poorly) repaired.

I took a pair of tweezers and carefully removed all loose shards and splinters of mahogany
from the break. There was a deposit of hide glue on all the surfaces
that needed to be chipped off as well.

The neck was given the same treatment. Most of the Hide Glue was deposited on this side of the
previous repair.

This is the weekest point of the classical guitar neck. Sapele Mahogany is not particularly
strong in this application. The way the neck was cut from the balk of timber meant that the
grain ran across the weakest point

Though the label gives no details, some research on the net showed me that this is a
Classical Model 29 from the 1970's.

Work begins on the repair. There were several splits in the surface of the peg head that
needed to be glued before I could repair the main break.

I have a pine wedge that serves as a caul for the sash clamp which puts direct pressure on the
broken joint

Here you can see the sash clamp pulling the break closed.

another view of the sash clamp.

Close up of the peg head with cauls and clamps to prevent the peg head from splitting under the tension of the sash clamp.


A rear view of the new glue line.


Back in one piece.
Front view of the peg head and the ugly glue line.
I glued a piece of Burl Sapele Mahogany over the peg head to conceal the ugly glue line.

First coat of stain.

Rear view after first coat of stain.

The break is already hard to see.

3 coats of acrylic clear lacquer and tuning pegs fitted.

A reasonable result.

Guitar looks like new again.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fender style, Tweed "Rock Case" upgrade.

First task? Select a suitable fabric.

Lots to choose from. The client eventually sent me what he wanted. He has more chose where he lives.

Next, carefully peel out the old lining. I was not going to replace this lining Like for like but I
wanted to take note of finishing details.

I was surprised by the poor quality of the build and materials on this case.
Much is concealed by the upholstery!

Out it comes.

The empty case. Now to plan the new interior.

Here are all the old components.

A visit to our local Para Rubber store turned up this grey, medium density,
Polyurethane foam.

I cut a small amount of clearance around the guitar to allow for upholstery.

I also cut a channel for the neck and a bevel around the cutaways to soften the look once the
case was upholstered in crushed velvet. I also refitted the existing accessories box and lid.
I could not see the point in altering this component.

Because the guitar could still jump around inside the case, I chose to fit a couple of blocks.
These I glued to the lid to secure the guitar into its pocket.

I lined the accessory compartment first to get a feel for the application of the crushed velvet material.

The owner and I had done some research into the traditional way in which these cases were constructed.
Hide glue and vanilla essence! not that successful (sadly). Back to the tried and tested spray glue.
I thoroughly detest using solvent based products and avoid them when I can.
Here it was wholesale solvents, 3 cans of spray glue and half a litre of Ados contact cement!

It's been gassing off for days and days and it still stinks! I'm not putting the guitar back in there
until the solvent smell has passed. The wrinkles were unavoidable in spite of the
extreme stretchiness of the fabric.

I got the pile of the fabric out of phase in this case 90 degrees. I was not happy with it so I
ripped off the lining of the accessories compartment and relined it. While I was at it I made
a nice new red leather lift tag

The smell is subsiding. I trial fitted the guitar, perfect!

The newly lined accessories compartment. Much better now. I also hand sewed
the lining for the lid which made a far tidier job of the finish.

Out in the sun to let it air some more.

I fitted a black webbing strap to support the lid hinges. This will give the case greater longevity.

Detail of my red leather lift tag.

One happy Strat and hopefully, a happy customer.

Cole Clark "Jack Tenor" Ukulele Modification.


This little Jack Tenor Ukulele came in to me for modification.
This is quite a masculine instrument with a clumsy neck. The owner, a young woman, was used to a tenor with a much more slender neck profile. She asked me to make a modification to the neck of her new Jack Tenor to bring it closer to what she was used to.



First step? Take to it with a wood rasp!

Roughed into shape. I took measurements up and down the neck of her older Tenor Uke to get
an idea of how much timber to remove.

Sanded and prepped, ready for finishing. The timber is an Australian plantation wood, probably
Paulonia. It is very stiff and rigid but also very opened grained. I used Titebond glue as a
grain filler which worked very well.

Titebond grain fill fine sanded and ready for clear coat.

Clearcoat applied. I used Dulux Acrylic lacquer from a spray can for this tiny application.
3 coats of semi gloss to match the original finish.

A great result when it's impossible to see that anything has been done at all.

Another happy customer!


Monday, August 26, 2019

Fender F 48, Steel Resonator Guitar Repair

"A dog knocked the guitar over and this happened"

A short grain break, previously repaired with hide glue by a well known Luthier,
the problem here is that the hide glue had filled the grain making reassembly a nightmare.
The repair failed due to the guitar being hung by its peg head in a hot tin shed over summer.
The glue became soft and the heavy guitar was found hanging by its strings!

I was forced to pick out as much of the hide glue as I could from the fractured grain and then
refit the the broken components. I used my fret caul clamp and two wood screws to hold the
repair whilst it was curing. I use marine epoxy for this kind of repair.
Who wants it to fall apart again?

Another view of the fret caul clamp in action.

Once cured I removed the clamp and wood screws and sanded the repaired area smooth.

Here you can see that the screw holes have been counter bored with 5 mm holes. I have inserted
two 5 mm carbon fibre rods glued into place. These rods splint the short grain break to ensure
that it is adequately reinforced.

I had already planned to conceal the reinforcing rods with a mahogany veneer patch.
There is a line on this guitar where the neck stock is scarf jointed to the peg head just visible
below the lowest tuning machine holes on the margin of the sanding line.
My plan was to use this line as the margin of my additional veneer patch.

I fitted a 320 grit sand paper sheet around the outside of this stainless steel container
which was the ideal radius of the curved neck/peg-head junction.
It also served as the clamping caul for the glueing of the mahogany veneer patch.

This is the veneer patch trimmed and sanded ready for stain.


Stained and one coat of gloss lacquer.

After multiple coats of gloss lacquer the hardware is ready to fit.

Some minor cosmetics to address on the front face of the peg head around the nut slot.

I removed the resonator which looked like the inside of a poorly maintained vacuum cleaner!

I put some time and energy into cleaning and polishing the metal body which was covered in DNA
and corrosion spots.

It cleaned up pretty well!

The string spacing is way too close for my taste. The confinement is created by the
narrow wooden saddle on the resonator cone. It plays really loudly. I'm so accustomed to
The beautiful tone of wooden instruments that this was a bit of a shock!

I levelled, crowned and polished the frets as well as setting action and intonation.
The customer was amazed at the result, it looks as good as new and the repair cannot be seen.