Thursday 30 April 2015

Give piece a chance

A badly damaged top requiring replacement of some of the top wood came in. A small section of the side was pushed in and would have to be put back in place and supported. The finish on the headstock veneer was damaged and needed to be refinished. There was a crack opposite the larger one on the bass side of the lower bout that would need a cleat and another smaller one on the bass side shoulder.

The top was marked and then scored using a metal ruler and a sharpened xacto knife. (I like to hone new blades so they're very sharp rather than sharpish) The knife left a very clean and straight edge to glue a patch to. The top was cleared using a small saw that usually cuts out the hole for a side mounted pre amp, it was perfect for this job. The remaining wood was cleaned out using a half inch skew chisel and a tiny micro chisel.
A matching piece of spruce was milled to thickness, a few off cuts from this were put aside to match the finish. The objective at this point was to match the finish first and then cut the patch using an already fitted template. Theory being that this would be a cleaner repair that wouldn't require refinishing the top or a section of the top. It turns out that the water borne finish I was using played well with the Taylor UV finish and spot finishing wasn't out of the question.

The side patch was done first and bent slightly under the curve while the outside caul was made slightly over the curve. This helped get the patch to fit fully and compensate for the small amount of springback. Clamping in place was made easier with the top piece removed.

The top piece was glued in place and further supported with cleats held in place with magnets. The crack on the other side was also cleated and finished. The crack on the bass side shoulder was glued and clamped and then spot finished.

Unrelated damage to the finish on the headstock was repaired by sanding back and applying finish with a brush. After several coats it was sanded flat and polished out.

Another unrelated repair was a broken index pin on one of the machine heads. A small hole was drilled where the index pin had been and a salvaged pin from a Sperzel tuner was pressed in place. The tuner was working like new.

An involved repair with a happy ending.

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