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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1946
I've completed the restoration of a 1940 Washburn Archtop. My client was the sheriff of a WV county and a fellow veteran. He's leaving for Japan next month as a Marine advisor, and wants to take the instrument with him. His grandfather bought the guitar in 1940.

A few years ago, the guitar suffered a catastrophic fall, right on the endpin. It cracked up both sides, and broke into 3 pieces at the bottom of the back. There were 3 cracks running up the top, from the bottom up as well. His brother-in-law fixed these cracks and breaks and refinished the guitar.

He wanted the guitar restored to look more like it originally did, with a tobacco sunburst and he wanted whatever else needed to be done to make it playable.

I put an endoscope on the inside and found that the tailblock was cracked all the way through, with new cracks forming up each side. There were stress cracks forming on each side of the fretboard too. One of the posts on a tuner was bent and the pickguard was missing.

I stabilized the tailblock by gluing a mahogany plate to the inside face of the tailblock. I used guitar wires to pull it into place. I also worked thin ca glue into the block and clamped it. It's now rock solid. I also fixed the new cracks.

I dyed the guitar with aniline dyes (yellow, red, dark brown, black). The dye didn't take everywhere, owing to the existing glue used for previous repairs. I polished the guitar, but decided to leave it satin so that the previous repairs would be less obvious. I had an appropriate pickguard made to match what would have been on the guitar in 1940. I straightened the tuner post, cleaned and adjusted the tuners, and reinstalled them. I cleaned up and reinstalled the original trapeze. I scraped the fretboard and polished the frets, scraped the bindings and white edging around the headplate.

She sounds great.

Her original condition:

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Now:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 1105
Location: Chestertown Maryland
Did you remove the back or top to work on the end? She looks delectable

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1946
ruby@magpage.com wrote:
Did you remove the back or top to work on the end? She looks delectable

Ed

I worked from the inside. I pulled a piece of mahogany, the size of the tailblock, into place, gluing it in place. Using an elongated transfer pipette, i worked CA glue into the cracked block, from the outside, through existing holes from the hardware and tailpin, then I clamped it. It's very solid.

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crack_in_tailblock_view_2_from_inside.jpg


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:51 am
Posts: 38
Location: Fishers, IN
Looks like a beautiful job - really admire the "minimally invasive" approach, and the finish looks great. How does it sound? I have a soft spot for these old archtops but have never played any except my Gibson L-30, and its probably not a great example for the breed (student design, shallow, flat back). Btw, love that headstock design

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1946
Morecowbell wrote:
Looks like a beautiful job - really admire the "minimally invasive" approach, and the finish looks great. How does it sound? I have a soft spot for these old archtops but have never played any except my Gibson L-30, and its probably not a great example for the breed (student design, shallow, flat back). Btw, love that headstock design

Thank you. She rings! The sustain goes on forever. I've never touched an archtop either, so it was a complete learning experience for me as well. I was surprised at the quality. I was going to replace the nut, until I found it was ivory, so I just cleaned finish off of it. There was also finish on the fretboard, so I used my small scraper and cleaned, then oiled it. The fretboard is Brazilian rosewood. The floating bridge makes intonation easy.

I've made torrified tops for guitars, and they mimic age to a certain degree. But, I'm convinced that there is no real substitution for the real deal.


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