1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

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Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 2425
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

I have on my bench, a 1942 Gibson LG-2 Banner from California. The owner wants complete restoration, except the finish of course. You never know what you'll find.

This poor thing is a train wreck.

Besides the little mouse nest I found inside, this guitar has the worst belly bulge I've ever seen. She also has numerous cracks, and the back seam is separating. I can see that the fretboard extension has been cut through at fret 12, probably for a neck reset. The right ear of the headstock is broken. The tuners are cheap replacements. The binding around the top is broken and missing in areas.

This is just the obvious stuff.

The neck needs to be reset, so I removed the fb extension and steamed it off cleanly.

I don't like to remove tops, but after knocking off this huge, absurd, replacement bridge, I see the problem, and it's ugly. The top under the bridge pins has cracked across the grainline.

I'm determined to save this top, cracks and all. I can feel the loose braces and bridge plate that's pulled up. So, I decided to remove the top, to gain access. Boy, did I find a mess! Plus, someone glued the top with gorilla glue on one side.

Once off, I see the problem. A piece of top has already been replaced under the bridge. The bridge patch has come loose, allowing the strings to reek havoc on the top. This patch is HUGE. I doubt it's original. It's too new looking.

The x-bracing has loosened, and cracked. One lateral tone bar is missing. But. I believe that the new, absurdly large, bridge patch is the culprit. It wasn't glued down right.

I was going to use curved aluminum cauls, heated and clamped, to reduce the belly, but with everything I see, I'll be removing the x-bracing, and making new. I've decided to use flat aluminum heated cauls, to gently flatten that bulge, and bring the spruce back together where it's cracked.

I'll make a new, proper bridge plate out of hard maple, glue it in good, along with new x-bracing. That will keep the top break closed, then I can deal with it, by routing out the break, splicing in new spruce, then I'll make a proper bridge out of Brazilian rosewood.

I'm starting today, by removing the braces, and fixing the cracks.

Stay tuned.

I've already ordered some Golden Era restoration tuners, with cream buttons, the shape of the original tuners.

Oh, and I demoused the box!
20210211_085005.jpg
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phavriluk
Posts: 359
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by phavriluk »

Thank you! Time for the peanut gallery to watch and learn.
peter havriluk
Skarsaune
Posts: 127
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:12 am

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by Skarsaune »

Yikes! That’s a pile of work!
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 2425
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Boy, what a train wreck.

I got the top off. I also got the x-bracing and bridge plate off. As I suspected, the bridge plate wasn't glued properly. You can see a large area devoid of glue. The plate separated, allowing the top to take the brunt of the string pull.

One x-brace is broken. So I'll replicate the braces, using the existing as a model.

I used a heat gun to heat my spatula, to get the bridge plate and braces off. The plate looks like it was glued with ca glue. It wasn't hhg or wood glue.

When the plate came off, so did some of the replacement spruce that someone put in. That's okay, because I have to cut out and patch that entire damaged area. You can see the damage to the plate from the string pull.

The transverse crack extends over the x-bracing. I'll have to make a bridge plate that extends beyond that x-bracing. What I'll do is tuck the plate under the x-bracing, making sure all surfaces make good contact.
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Diane Kauffmds
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

I've fixed the headstock with West Systems epoxy. The tuners were cheap replacements. I'll be replacing them with restoration tuners that are correct to the Gibson Banner.

I got 2 bars of 1/4" thick aluminum. I'm no machinist, so I used my spindle sander to radius each piece, one for inside, the other for outside of the top, to get that bulge down. It's been reduced substantially since the plate is out. This should reduce it completely.

The 80g sandpaper worked quickly. I used my lmii brace radius gauge to check the radius. Once both pieces of aluminum were correctly radiused, I stamped them so I would know which was which.

I put them in simmering water to heat, then I put them over the bulge.and clamped. They'll stay that way for 2 days.
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jread
Posts: 280
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:52 am

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by jread »

I learn so much from watching you work on these old break-downs. Thanks for adding all the details of the techniques you are using and and not just the results. This one sure got left in the attic/barn/basement. Good on the owner for finding you!
AluminumTop
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Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by AluminumTop »

I can't even imagine doing this repair!
BEJ
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Location: Seattle

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by BEJ »

Love that bridge, maybe the guy thought that's what a 12 string bridge looks like.
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 2425
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

BEJ wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:02 pm Love that bridge, maybe the guy thought that's what a 12 string bridge looks like.
That bridge, and plate, weren't original to this Gibson. Unfortunately, I'll have to make an oversized plate to accommodate routing out the damage, and replacing it with new spruce. I'm also going to make a bridge, albeit a bit oversized, but to the style that was originally on the guitar, out of Brazilian rosewood.

Had that plate been properly made and glued right, this damage would have been totally avoided.
20210213_110903.jpg
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Diane Kauffmds
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1942 Gibson lg-2 Banner Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Here's the repaired headstock. I'll minimize the glue line. I'll knock out that nut and replace it with bone.
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