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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 9:28 am 
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The sheriff of one of the counties here in WV contacted me about taking a look at an old Washburn archtop. As it turns out, his grandfather bought it back in 1940. About 20 years ago, it was dropped squarely on the tail pin, causing some pretty bad damage.

The damage was repaired by his brother-in-law. The guitar cracked up both sides from the tail pin, and also broke into pieces in the lower back bout, which were pieced back together. There were 3 cracks extending up the top from the bottom. I found 2 new cracks, which are caused from the fingerboard.

I used an endoscope and took a look at the inside, and I'm glad I did. I found the tailblock cracked clean through from the fall.

Initially, this started out as a finish clean up; his brother-in-law stripped the guitar and did a sort of "burst" with what I assume were locally found wood stains from the local big box store. The sheriff was hoping that I could finish it with the original tobacco sunburst.

I downloaded a couple of reference photos to give me an idea of how it should look. I do not have experience in bursting guitars, a fact I made clear to him. I'm a veteran, and I reach out to other vets, so my name is circulated. I'm also an ex-police officer. So, I'm very happy to help this gentleman, who is also a vet.

My first order of business was dealing with that cracked tailblock. I didn't want to dismantle the guitar. I have a limited amount of time to work, because he and his family are going to Japan for a couple of years, because he's going to be working as a civilian with the Marines.

I decided to glue a piece of 1/8" thick Honduran hog, the same size as the tailblock, with the grain going perpendicular to the tailblock, on the inside. Then I would wick CA glue into the crack from the tail pin hole and exterior crack, using a pipette. The trick was getting a piece of mahogany in just the right position, through an "f" hole.

I guess the tail pin was glued in, because it broke off, so I drilled a very small hole through it. I needed 2 holes in order to ensure that my repair piece be in the exact position that I needed. One of the holes left by the metal trapeze was in about the right position. I had to drill the hole all the way through the tailblock.

I made sure to drill 2 holes that matched up precisely with the 2 holes in the tailblock. I used 2 guitar strings, with the grommets to the inside of the guitar. My problem was finding those 2 holes in the tailblock with only an "f" hole to work with, so I used 2 more strings, which I put through the holes in the tailblock. My endoscope has a small magnetic tip, which I put through the "f" hole to pick up the end of the strings. I twisted the appropriate strings together, which when pulled in unison, pulled the repair mahogany piece into place on the tailblock.

The dry run went off without a hitch. I was able to pull the repair piece precisely into place. It fit perfectly. I did it twice. So, I buttered the face of the repair piece and pulled it into place.

Naturally, it got wedged between 2 braces. I like to have never gotten it loose. I tugged and pushed with the strings and it wouldn't budge. I finally picked up the guitar, turned it neck down, and gave it a good whack. It dislodged. I was able to pull it into place, with the glue still wet. But for some reason, it's not "perfectly" straight with the block. It's a tiny bit crooked. It doesn't affect the repair and the only way you can see it is with an endoscope, but it bugs me.

I did the tobacco burst the best I could to match the original Washburn photos. I used aniline dye. I've pore filled and I'm in the process of finishing. I'm still seeing a lot of pores, so I may need to do more pore filling.⁸

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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 9:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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Here is a reference photo that I took off of the internet for the coloring of the tobacco burst. I'm in the finishing process.

I think I've got the colors about right. The colors are substantially richer with finish on them.

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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 9:56 am 
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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 11:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 669
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Looks really good, Diane. Did you have to anchor the back's tail flap to the rest of the back? Looks like there was a fair amount of fill spanning the gap.


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 8:19 pm 
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Danl8 wrote:
Looks really good, Diane. Did you have to anchor the back's tail flap to the rest of the back? Looks like there was a fair amount of fill spanning the gap.

I'm sorry. I'm not sure what you mean by back's tail flap.

If you're referring to the crack in the tailblock, after gluing the piece of mahogany to the inside, and wicking CA glue into the crack, I clamped the tailblock, just like you clamp the guitar when closing the box, which closed the crack in the tailblock, and the cracks extending up each side. I did wait until I dyed the wood before doing these repairs, because the CA glue would have prevented the dye from penetrating the wood.

The rest of the repairs had already been done, so there wasn't much I could do to improve them. There was a tiny hole where it had been pieced back together, on the back. I used System 3 Epoxy to pore fill the back, which filled this hole. Otherwise, I just did what i could, without redoing the existing repairs.

The old repairs are not pretty, but structurally they're sound, which is the important thing.

I found an appropriate pickguard and hardware. The original tuners are in good shape, so I'll just clean them up a bit.


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
well done - looks very close

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
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Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Diane Kauffmds wrote:
Danl8 wrote:
Looks really good, Diane. Did you have to anchor the back's tail flap to the rest of the back? Looks like there was a fair amount of fill spanning the gap.

I'm sorry. I'm not sure what you mean by back's tail flap....

First photo. Looks like the piece that separated on the back included all of the back-to-tail block gluing surface.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 11:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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Danl8 wrote:
Diane Kauffmds wrote:
Danl8 wrote:
Looks really good, Diane. Did you have to anchor the back's tail flap to the rest of the back? Looks like there was a fair amount of fill spanning the gap.

I'm sorry. I'm not sure what you mean by back's tail flap....

First photo. Looks like the piece that separated on the back included all of the back-to-tail block gluing surface.

I understand now.

I'm sure it was separated at the time of the accident, but the damaged area, as well as the appropriate area of the top, are glued to the tailblock. I checked all of the glue joints on both blocks, the braces, etc., with the endoscope, and all are glued.

Before fixing the tailblock, I dyed the sides, because dye doesn't penetrate CA glue. Then I glued the mahogany piece to the tailblock and I wicked CA glue into the tailblock and side cracks. I clamped everything. Now the tailblock and sides are closed and solid.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 7:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:06 pm
Posts: 3025
Location: Visalia, CA
Oh boy Diane, a big job but it looks really nice thus far.

I have not yet started on my friends 1935 Gibson L-10, but I will not be stripping it and refinishing, so less work to do than you are doing.
I do look forward to working on it though and getting it playable.

Carry on!


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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Kevin Sjostrand wrote:
Oh boy Diane, a big job but it looks really nice thus far.

I have not yet started on my friends 1935 Gibson L-10, but I will not be stripping it and refinishing, so less work to do than you are doing.
I do look forward to working on it though and getting it playable.

Carry on!


Thanks Kevin. I'm pushing to get this one out the door so the owner can take it to Japan next month. It's coming .along


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