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Rebuilding My Badly Damaged 000
Author
Post
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3594
Some of you know this story. In December '07, I tripped on something and fell onto a big easychair -- with my very first guitar (Stewmac 000, rosewood & cedar) clutched in my clumsy hands. I cushioned the fall with my hands so I wouldn't fall on top of the guitar, but the guitar was in free-fall. The neck hit one arm of the chair, the body the other. With the string tension, that was all it took: The neck broke at the heel and fretboard snapped at the 12th fret ... the neck whipped around and damaged the top in five or six places. The sides and back weren't even marred, luckily.

You can imagine, I was heartsick, but had nobody but myself to blame. My wife cried when she saw it. I packaged it up, thinking might start fixing it someday. I was so angry at myself and depressed when I thought about it, that I didn't know if the day would come. Well, that someday did come yesterday, as I finally got a grip and decided to face it. (You guys know how you feel about that first guitar. I was very attached to mine, especially since it was the first thing I had ever built out of wood that was halfway presentable.) So, Sunday afternoon, almost two years after the accident, I pulled it out and examined it. I was going to rout the top off, then decided to try to remove it without routing. It worked out pretty well. Here are some pix:

First, here's my favorite shot of the guitar before it was damaged. I was happy with it for a first build. The finish was TruOil everywhere.



It looked like this when I unpacked it to start working on it. top broken, scarred, etc,; sides not damaged. (I've used the neck for a couple of experiments, so the frets are out, etc.) I was happy to discover that I had not glued the neck heel; the sides will therefore require no refinishing at all.



And, then I started working on it.

I realized with all the moving around, I'd better tape the back and sides.

Eventually, the top was loose; the inside looked as good as the day it was glued together. It was interesting to me that the binding and purfling came away easily with just a little heat. (They were completely removed before I started working on the top.)



The glue residue can easily be sanded away.


The neck block was clearly not adequately clamped or glued; the glue wasn't uniformly spread in the joint.

The inside is in good shape.


The bridge came away okay. It was the first bridge I ever glued, and I used big C clamps; I'll reglue it using Ken Cierp's bridge clamp, which I've used on every guitar since this one. It's much easier.


I guess from this point, it's just a matter of proceeding with a new neck, fretboard and top (a top which I got last week from LMI with a flawed rosette, but acceptable and somehow appropriate for this purpose. Don't have the neck or fretboard yet.) I'll need to brace it like the original and work "backwards" on some steps to match the braces to the notches in the rim. Since I was happy with the tonality of the original, I won't change anything on the braces. I'll probably finish the top with TruOil again, and I hope I can get a smoother finish this time. I'm looking forward to this!

Thanks for looking. ... Bill

Nov 09, 09 | 9:53 am
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
Holy smokes, Bill, I didn't know this story. I'll bet when you get this project finished it'll be better than it was before! I bet there's even a bible verse about how good things are delivered to you in ways that at first seem like problems. Great work so far!

Nov 09, 09 | 11:10 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Wow Bill,
That is a couragous task. It looks like you have a great handle on repairing your first. It was probably a very good idea to put it off until you had confidence and lots of experience on how the guitar goes together.
I've seen those tops at LMI and wondered just how bad the rosette might be. Is it repairable, or just not bad enough to worry about?
Your Tru-Oil finish looked so good on this guitar. It is the one that inspired me to use it on my first build, however, I was not able to have it look that good, one of the reasons I refinished it with lacquer.
Please do keep the pictures coming as you progress on the repair.
Fabulous!!!

Kevin

Nov 09, 09 | 12:00 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Thanks for the encouragement guys. Today I cleaned up the rim edges; they're like new. And I cut out the soundhole and cut the body shape on the top. I've figured out how to back into the brace positions so they'll be in the right places and match the notches in the rim. (I'll position them in the notches, put the top on with rubber bands, and mark their positions on the underside of the top. I figure that will work.) I'll work on that tomorrow.

Bill

Nov 09, 09 | 12:09 pm
Terry

Total Topics: 41
Total Posts: 220
Wow, Billl... I admire your courage, and... how timely a post! My #2, my first scratch build, needs its top replaced ( I guess I over sanded the top and quite a bulge, with accompanying cracks is forming below the bridge apparentlydue to string tension.) I thank you for this post and will follow it closely!

Terry

Nov 09, 09 | 1:37 pm
RayRay

Total Topics: 21
Total Posts: 190
Good for YOU Bill! It will be great I know...just a bit "More SEASONED"...! :)

Nov 09, 09 | 1:41 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Tired of building new ones, Bill?! Crazy project, but should give you a bunch of confidence for future repairs.

Ken

Nov 09, 09 | 4:27 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Bill,
I'm glad to see someone still carrying an Uncle Henry!

Kevin

Nov 09, 09 | 6:11 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
glad to see you repairing your first build.....it's worth it!

Nov 09, 09 | 7:27 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
things happen. While I am sure you wish this didn't , it will give you an excellent chance to do some true comparisons if you make any changes over the original design..
It also tests your skills and gives new challenges. Keep up updated with the progress.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
Authorized CF Martin Repaircenter

Nov 10, 09 | 3:10 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Thanks for the support guys -- I'm well on the way, now. The pain is gone and I'm looking forward to playing it on my couch again! (This time, instead of the 1 14/16" nut width I put on the original, I'm going down to 1 13/16" -- what I've found to be my favorite nut width.)

Last night I cleaned up the rim and setup the bracing pattern. Not too complicated. Tonight I'll start gluing the braces. Second thought, I need to get the new neck and fretboard from Stewmac first. I was never completely happy with the action before, so I'd better get the whole act together before I glue the braces; I might want to level of the big shoulder brace before I glue it. (Before, the end of the fretboard was sort of a ski ramp upturn; I'll be able to avoid that now, knowing what little I've learned.) ... Just sort of thinking on "paper" here ...

Kevin -- so that's what kind of knife that is? It sure is a good 'un!

Thanks-
Bill

Here's more pix:
Cleaned off the rim; quick and easy with a radiused stick and 100 grit paper. Put in the shoulder brace to mark position with. (It's sort of nice to see inside your first one and realize your technique, like on the notches, has improved with experience!)

Laid the top on it in position and marked the underside where the shoulder brace ends were.

Used the old top, with the shoulder brace marks, to mark the X-brace end positions.

Used a brace tempate from Stewmac, lined it up with the marks, and finished the brace pattern.


Next, order the fretboard and neck. It'll take awhile.


Nov 10, 09 | 5:05 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
This is so neat to see you doing this. I don't want to have to do it, but it is fun to be able to see how it goes.
I had one of those knives I carried for about 10 years, and I lost it in the insulation in the attic. Never could find it in all that cellulose!

Kevin

Nov 10, 09 | 5:45 am
Laurent

Total Topics: 9
Total Posts: 109
GREAT project! This will even make this guitar more special to you, since repairing is actually harder than building, I've always read.
I mustn't think of the feelings you had when that accident happened. It happened to me once, but that was with my mid-priced Crafter, and all it had was a crack in the top, no serious damage like this.

Nov 10, 09 | 7:04 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Yes, it hurt for quite awhile. But now, it will be new again.

Nov 10, 09 | 7:43 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Good luck Bill, can't wait to see the finished product.

Nov 10, 09 | 10:05 am
John S.

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 94
Wow, Bill, it hurts just to look at that! But it sure looks like you're well on track to re-make your first. I guess this is the ultimate test of "it ain't broke unless you can't fix it." You'll have to post a MP3 of the final product to compare with the original. Maybe you should call this the Phoenix guitar...............

John

Nov 10, 09 | 10:55 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
John -- the Phoenix -- that's a great idea. Thanks! I've been thinking of what I could try to do for a headstock inlay. I think I've seen some Phoenix'es on Andy DePaule's site.

Bill

Nov 10, 09 | 12:48 pm
Terry

Total Topics: 41
Total Posts: 220
Hey Bill... design your own Pheonix and Andy will have his team in Vietnam make it for you! Pretty reasonable price too!

Nov 10, 09 | 12:56 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Okay, I admit it, I don't know. What is the significance of the Phoenix?

Nov 10, 09 | 1:15 pm
Terry

Total Topics: 41
Total Posts: 220
To over simplify, it's a mythical bird that dies in flames and is reborn from it's own ashes to live anew... You can see the correlation of the "dead" guitar being reborn again at the hands of Mr. Cory.

Terry

Nov 10, 09 | 1:26 pm
Rick

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 49
How about naming it "lazarus?"

Rick

Nov 10, 09 | 1:37 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Resurrected from the dead. I like that.

Nov 10, 09 | 1:44 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hmmm.

Nov 10, 09 | 2:44 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Good luck, Bill, and be sure to share your learnings with us.

Ken

Nov 10, 09 | 6:00 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
I am not sure I would have attempted this. You are a brave man!! I wish you the best of luck!

Nov 10, 09 | 8:01 pm
moocatdog

Total Topics: 35
Total Posts: 302
That is a great project, Bill. Sorry about the damage to your guitar, but I think this will be an invaluable experience for you. As usual, you are leading the way here.

Thanks for sharing,

George :-)

Nov 10, 09 | 9:05 pm
Herman

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
Time for a new directory: (Kit-)Guitar Repairs.

I think I have some items already. And a new one is waiting. My friend dropped his maple guitar. For some reason not the neck failed, but the bridge came off. Maybe I'll make a thread of the repair.

Nov 11, 09 | 8:25 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
I love reading updates on this thread! Keep us posted on your progress.

Nov 19, 09 | 3:08 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
I got the neck and fretboard the other day. Had to get the Calendar done and now I can do some more work on this repair.

Nov 19, 09 | 3:13 pm
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
Did the neck and fingerboard come from Stew Mac? How do you like em? How do they compare to the original?

Nov 23, 09 | 5:35 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Yep - I figured I'd keep it as "original" as possible. The new ones seem to be the same as the old ones in quality and looks. I'll be pore-filling the neck this week and will probably use the same filler I did before, but this time I think I'll finish it with the bottle of "Hard Shellac" I just got from LMI. I've used just a shellac finish on two other guitars and I really like the ease of finishing and the feel of it.

Nov 24, 09 | 4:41 am
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
That's good to hear. If it had been different, if you are anything like me, you'd have been forever thinking about it.

Nov 24, 09 | 5:12 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Anything new, Bill?

Jan 07, 10 | 3:35 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I too would love to hear how this is coming. I know my post above was very brief, but I was heartbroken reading about it. I remember the first 7 times my first jumbo cracked....gut clenching (bad travelling, bad packing, 3 different floods that damaged the house....and on and on) I can't imagine seeing so much destruction in one impact. I think you did exactly the right thing waiting, and then your process was well thought out. It looked like you were well on your way to recreating an almost perfect guitar again. Do tell.....

Jan 07, 10 | 10:31 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Been extremely busy with a number of things. When it warms up next week and my daughter goes back to college, I'll probably be getting back into it. I haven't done anything at all to it -- nothing on the neck, fretboard, top, etc., since the last post.

Jan 08, 10 | 1:56 pm
ohr61

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 4
This would have made me completely sick. I'm glad you can repair this, and am very happy you're sharing the progress with us Bill...

Jan 28, 10 | 4:49 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
This is a great series to show you can fix just about anything. I am sure you gained confidence on your repair skills.
john hall

Jan 29, 10 | 5:11 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
I'll get back to work on it soon, I hope.

Bil

Jan 29, 10 | 8:18 am
DonB

Total Topics: 20
Total Posts: 240
Bill,
Very sorry to see this happen to No. 1. But what an inspirational story!
Thanks for the pictures of your progress. It really helps us tackle the larger repairs.
My nephew's wife brought me her damaged guitar with a broken headstock and cracked (in several places) cedar top. The headstock had a long break so it was easy enough to straighten out the fibers and glue back together.
The top I was going to splint but now I'm thinking I could replace the whole top as per what you have shared here.
Thanks for your invaluable photos and time in sharing them.

Don

Feb 07, 10 | 9:27 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Thanks Don -- I'm hoping to get back to work on it soon. I'll post more pictures when that happens.

Bill

Feb 07, 10 | 10:08 am



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