Newby repair blog - 1970 Epiphone FT130

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jread
Posts: 393
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:52 am

Newby repair blog - 1970 Epiphone FT130

Post by jread »

John and Diane's master repairs have inspired me to try one of my own. I decided to put myself out there and document this as I go, fail or succeed, I'll share my story. This is my 1st major repair.

This is a friend's cheapo guitar. His dog knocked it over and the head broke off. He offered me money to try and fix it so here goes.

I ordered the often mentioned West Systems epoxy products from Amazon. $82 bucks.
West System 105-A Epoxy Resin,Clear
West System 206-A Slow Hardener

While I wait on that, I see the bridge was lifting so decided to pull it off so it can be re-glued.

Surprise #1. The bridge plate was cracked in half.
Surprise #2. The bridge plate fell off when I took the nuts off the bolts coming down through the bridge.
Surprise #3. Fairly sure the plate was cracked and separated when they tightened those bolts during install.

The bridge came off pretty cleanly but surprise #4, I thought it was a solid top.

The neck break doesn't seem to worry me as much as the lengthwise crack below it. The head fits back on decently and if the epoxy holds, it holds. But the lengthwise crack has movement so am not sure yet what I'll do about that.


Surprise #5 is that the neck is set perfectly. No need to for a reset.

I'll make a new bridge plate and glue it in. I'll then route the top layer of spruce flush so that the bridge fits nicely in the pocket.

This following advice was from Diane. I already used my "phone-a-friend" card for today.
Just use the old plate as a template and make a new plate to glue in. Just use titebond and plenty of it. Make it the same thickness as your plates. Allow the Titebond to start to tack, to help you hold it in place. Use tape to hold it. You can drill 2 tiny holes, which would be hidden by the bridge, through the plate and top, and run a low E string through it, pulling it up tight, through the holes. But you'd have to be accurate on the placement.

Use your inlay tool and rout out that first layer of wood. Just inlay the bridge in the footprint.
This gives you a couple of advantages.
1. It's a natural glue dam
2. You don't have to worry about the bridge shifting while gluing
3. You'll have a pristine glue area. Just use titebond. Use plenty of glue so you get good squeeze out. You'll want to clean as much of the squeezeout as possible, with a wet paper towel. What little is left will clean easily off of the finish after curing.
I'll post again on the bridge and plate repairs and then on how the epoxy repair goes as well as any finish repairs.
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Last edited by jread on Mon May 16, 2022 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Diane Kauffmds
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Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Yup. This is known as the proverbial trainwreck. What I don't know is if the bridge plate was unglued by accident or design. But, what a mess.

You'll do fine fixing it up and it'll probably sound better than it ever sounded.
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
tippie53
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Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by tippie53 »

that is how your learn
no try do Yoda
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
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BEJ
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Location: Seattle

Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by BEJ »

Looks like something left on the stage after a "WHO" concert. Are PT's initials on it somewhere?
Diane Kauffmds
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Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

BEJ wrote: Fri May 06, 2022 9:37 pm Looks like something left on the stage after a "WHO" concert. Are PT's initials on it somewhere?
Bwahaha! You beat me to the punch!
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
jread
Posts: 393
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:52 am

Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by jread »

I wonder how many Pete Townsend guitars made it onto repair benches after the show. Funny to think about.

The repair seemed to go well. Easily copied and replaced the bridge plate with ebony. I left it a little thick like the original hoping it might stabilize what looked like a small belly bulge coming up behind the bridge. I couldn't get the pearl dots out without drilling them so did that, ditched the bolts, and replaced the inlays with 6mm mop dots from Stewmac. I cleaned up under the bridge and glued it on with Titebond original. It looks nice and neat.

The headstock was easy to hold with just spring clamps while the epoxy cured. The front overlay was a bit chewed up but I put the chips back as best I could and didn't try to paint or replace the missing pieces. It's a scar for sure, I think it's cool.

Sanded down the back of the neck with 320, 400, 1000, then 1500 and then put on 3 liberal coats of Minwax wipe-on poly, glossy. It's wet in the picture, I'll check it out tomorrow and see if it might need more. Once it's dry, I'll put the tuner grommets back in and tuners and we'll be ready for strings. If it tunes up and holds, I'll replace the plastic nut and saddle with bone, level, crown, and polish the frets and see if I can get a good setup. If that all goes well, the owner will buy new tuners for it as they are a bit loose and wobbly.

Pretty cool so far. The neck break doesn't feel funny or rough in the hand. It's mostly above where one's hand sits anyway.
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jread
Posts: 393
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Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by jread »

Back up and running. It looks, feels, and sounds good to me!
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Diane Kauffmds
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Re: Newby repair blog - 1979 Epiphone FT130

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Wow. Nice job John. The back of the headstock in particular looks great, very professional.
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
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