Hey, guys. Spraying and gluing and allsorts today. Please email or leave a message if you can’t get through.
Getting back to work this week. Thank you all for your patience over the past week or so. If you want to pop over, email is the best way to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I made some spool clamps the other day. I didn’t need them right then, but I will need them sooner or later. You always need more clamps.
There are few different ways to do them, but they all basically involve making some small wooden cylinders (either with a hole cutter or cut from a pole), drilling a hole through the centre and attaching them to a threaded rod. Adding a bit of cork is also a good idea. You can buy them, but for the cost of a couple, you could make yourself, I dunno, a dozen or more?
We’ll be closed for a few days due to a family bereavement. Thanks for your understanding.
The sun slowly emerges from the dark cave of winter, like a grumpy bear. Which means it’s a good time to get in the garden. And make stuff out of wood.
For a long time, I’ve been using the workbench as the platten for my neck levelling set-up. It’s a nice and easy solution, especially if you have limited space. If you’ve a bench dog system, you can use the holes to mount your hardware and strap the guitar directly to the bench. However, there are some drawbacks: 1. The bench is out of commission until you’ve finished with the guitar; 2. The guitar is stuck on its back–you can’t check it in the playing position; 3. You’ve got to assemble and reassemble everything.
Weirdly, the thing that convinced me to build a new jig wasn’t a levelling job at all; it was a steam-bending/neck reset job.
Like most repairers, I don’t really trust in the claims of some about ‘instant’, ‘free’ neck resets. Steam bending is hit and miss, and that is not generally an option in a professional scenario. However, sometimes–as in the case of this old Norlin-era Epiphone jumbo–there is no other way to attempt a cost-effective repair.
You can find links to read/watch other folks’ takes on the non-surgical neck reset by searching ‘free neck reset’. My way also combines some elements of traditional neck-resetting.
Anyway, the point of all this is that I needed somewhere to keep the guitar neck under tension for a few weeks until both wood and glue had (hopefully) set into a newer, happier position. So I made a new, beefy support jig: an all-purpose neck resetting/levelling/fretting device.
The jig itself is a steroidal take on the first version of the Erlewine neck jig. You can find plans online, but it’s a simple build, and easily tailored to the space you have available. The key, for me, was to make it as adjustable as possible as I’m going to use it for everything from Fender Strats to acoustic basses.
I managed the old way for about 10 years. Hopefully, I’ll get another 10 out of this new jig. And then, just maybe, I might finally bite the bullet and get the fancy aluminium StewMac version. Although, the price will always give me nightmares.
Hey, guys. I’m working on a new repair blog for guitar nerds about compression fretting an old Spanish guitar. In the meantime, have a look at this Martin 000-42 and get in touch if I can help you with an instrument!
We are basically open now. I’m trying to do handovers of instruments en plein air: i.e. in the garden. Please take any precautions you think necessary and let me know if there’s any procedure you’d like to follow.
As ever, the best way to get in touch is via email at email@example.com. Thank you to all for your continued support.
I’ve writ up a new repair blog called Treating Rust with Phosphoric Acid. It features dangerous chemicals and, as such, is very exciting.
One of the bigger projects we have in the workshop is a Burns Vista-Sonic from the early 60s. Alongside a number of other issues, it has badly rusted metal parts: particularly bridge saddles and bridge plate. Because these parts are very hard to find we’re forced to make do with the old ones… and they’ll do the job well once we treat the rust.
There are a number of ways to tackle rust, but because these parts are so badly oxidised I’m going to use a chemical solution. This will ensure all the rust will be eliminated because it can get in every nook and under loose plating.
As you can see, we’ve lost a bit of the zinc plating that was hanging off a saddle. C’est la vie.
3. Disassembly and Cleaning
Here you can see the very badly rusted bridge plate. The rust has been made inert by the the acid.
6. Inspection and Reassembly
It’s been a while, but I finally got around to finishing the next chapter of the Epiphone Cortez repair blog. Find it here: Epiphone Cortez Repair Blog #3: Scrapers, glues and bagging. Includes a recipe and a photo of a sponge.
|Hello, and welcome to the third blog in our series showing how we repaired this 1960s Epiphone FT-45 Cortez. In part two, we defretted the guitar and removed the bridge and pickguard. This time, we’ll remove the finish, and discuss hide glue and guitar humidity.
Preparing The Surface
We’re going to refinish the the face of the headstock and the top/soundboard. So, the first step is to remove the old finish. Both top and headstock had, at some point, been finished with shellac. Shellac is a traditional finish for string instruments, but is fairly uncommon on steel-string acoustic guitars.
The nice thing about shellac is that it can be hand-rubbed and touched up easily if needed. However, it isn’t very hard-wearing and the finish that had been applied here was thick and uneven. We’re going to refinish the guitar with authentic nitrocellulose lacquer which will give us a durable, thin coat that will, hopefully, bring out the best in the instrument.
Our prepped top:
You can see the repaired areas under the pickguard weren’t even touched by the scraper or sanding block. The wood in this area is already thin and it seemed prudent to leave well alone. I filled the largest void to the left with small slivers of spruce just to add a little strength and some finish pooling in there (I’ll try to dig out a photo for next time).
Spruce has a tight grain which doesn’t need to be filled. The same is not true of the mahogany headstock:
This is it immediately after scraping. Mahogany has an open pore which needs to be filled if you want to get a flat finish (which we do). There are a number of good fillers on the market, but my choice for smaller areas like this is medium viscosity cyanoacrylate, AKA superglue. It is quick to work with, and leaves a perfect surface. Obviously, care needs to be taken! It probably deserves a special blog, so for now, I’ll talk about another glue I used on this project: hide glue.