Repairing a holed guitar

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Stray Feathers
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Repairing a holed guitar

Post by Stray Feathers »

I do some part time work on sailboats that do cruises on the west coast of BC and Alaska. Each of the three boats has a "boat guitar" - an inexpensive instrument so crew and guests can play if inspired. One of these guitars got stepped on several years ago, and has been igominiously brought out since then with a duct tape patch on its top. I decided to try to fix it. It's a "R&B Special", a dreadnought, from Luc Guitars, "Designed in California". I could find nothing about them online except a couple of expired eBay listings. It's a plywood guitar but suffered a hole in the top, and I thought also the x-brace was broken, but it turned out that one leg had come out of the kerfing pocket. The bridge was also lifting; when I removed it I could see that the finish had been removed from only a rough ellipse under the bridge, leaving a lot of area unglued. Surprisingly, it was still playable.
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Stray Feathers
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Re: Repairing a holed guitar

Post by Stray Feathers »

My goals in this were to learn something about repairs, and to make it sound again, but not to attempt a perfect restoration. I cleaned up the hole and cut a solid spruce patch (totally different colour), roughly triangular, with an arc at the apex, and two straight sides. Then I laid that pattern and cut the same shape out of the top, a little undersize so I could finesse it to fit - which worked surprisingly well. I used a Veritas circle cutter but had to clamp a temporary "top" in place to give me a location to put the hole for the centre pin of the Veritas tool. I used the flat disc centre on the circle cutter to cut the radius on the patch, sticking it down with double-sided tape.
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Stray Feathers
Posts: 358
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Re: Repairing a holed guitar

Post by Stray Feathers »

I could not pull the side of the guitar enough to get the brace back in its rightful place, and came to think it was just too short - a manufacturing defect. So I glued a little mahogany knee in to support it. I glued cleats to the undersides of the edges of the opening in the top, to provide gluing for the patch. This much extra wood can't be good for the sound, but for this guitar I was less concerned about that.
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Stray Feathers
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Re: Repairing a holed guitar

Post by Stray Feathers »

I glued the bridge back in place, which thankfully seemed to fit well. I had to replace the chipped and grooved plastic saddle. I initially assumed the finish was lacquer, but a drop on a scrap from the top did not "burn" in so I decided to use some Brite-tone water-based finish I had on hand. It has six coats and will be rubbed out in a few days. I did not think through the overspray and am not sure how it will go trying to make the finish look respectable, blending it (maybe?) with the original. I leave in a few days for another trip so had a deadline to finish this and take it back to the boat with me. It went better than I expected - but it is a little heavy-handed, and utterly obvious. At least it is less at risk of imploding! And I gained a little experience from my first repair. Bruce W.
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koolimy
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 3:59 pm

Re: Repairing a holed guitar

Post by koolimy »

That's a pretty amazing repair, even with the color difference!
ruby@magpage.com
Posts: 1564
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Location: Chestertown Maryland

Re: Repairing a holed guitar

Post by ruby@magpage.com »

nicely done
Ed M
BEJ
Posts: 118
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:38 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Repairing a holed guitar

Post by BEJ »

Nice work, could just say it is a pick guard that suffered from "glue creep(should have used a better clamp)", and I didn't catch it in time.
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