1947 Gibson Mess

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Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 3267
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

1947 Gibson Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

This started as an unknown "repair" which had morphed into almost a reconstruction.

My customer brought me 4 more Gibsons, 3 only needing saddles/setups. Then, as he said, he saved the "best for last". It had open cracks on the top and especially the back. This was one of those situations where I told him that we'd have to see where it went as I got into it, because it was obvious someone had already attempted "repairs".

After rehydration for a week, I was able to fix the one top crack that was unstable. The other crack between the bridge and soundhole was "fixed" with wood putty, the type that never hardens and looks like boogers.

As I pointed out to my customer, someone had already attempted unknown repairs, as evidenced by paint on the back and sides, always an alarm bell. The paint is older, but not original. You can see the original finish where it's chipped away. So, the question was, "what's lurking under the paint?"

Never ask a silly question.

I had to fix at least loose brace and I had a feeling more was happening, so I removed the back. Good thing to do in this case.

All braces had loosened, with 2 still being partly glued (1 holding 2 pieces of the back together). I just removed them, and closed the cracks by gluing everything back together. I glued the bracing back on. But, I also found an epoxy mess.

A lot of the kerfing had broken, so I replaced the broken parts. The top was full of epoxy where someone had reglued top bracing. I cleaned it the best I could without damaging anything. Some remains around the x-brace. It takes a chisel to get epoxy off of wood.

I could see where side cracks were fixed. I glued the back into place. There was damage in several places with missing wood, so I replaced wood. The owner told me just to preserve the paint, since it was old.

But, as I took off the tape from the sides that I put on to protect them, a small amount of paint came with it. Under it was a hole. Someone had fixed a hole with a thin coat of sawdust + paint. Inside of the guitar they glued a piece of wood. I thought it was to stabilize a crack. It was under the hole, but it wasn't against the guitar wood. There was a void.

I don't know how far back that void goes. I put waxed paper inside of the entire upper right bout, then stuffed the entire area firmly with cloths, just in case there was a leak, because I decided to fill this area with West Systems epoxy. The guitar wood in this spot is terribly thin and it's a wonder that it wasn't bumped caving in this area.

I filled the hole. The epoxy kept going down, so I knew the void was pretty large. I was surprised at how much it took. I allowed it to sit for 2 days. There's still an area to be filled, but the wood is a lot more stable. Since it'll get paint, I'm just going to fill it, rather than replace wood.

I went to Sherwin Williams with the guitar in tow. It's probably the strangest thing the person behind the counter has ever color matched! Lol. Since my customer would like to preserve the paint. I had a color matched paint mixed, so I can just touch-up the areas that need it.

If you ever need a critical color match, I highly recommend Sherwin Williams. The new paint is almost indistinguishable from the old.

It's still a work in progress. I'll update as work continues.
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Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 3267
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1947 Gibson Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

I fixed the cracks, glued braces, replaced kerfing, and glued the back. You can see the damaged areas on the back.
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Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 3267
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1947 Gibson Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

This is the hole. I didn't pull put a plug or anything. Just a wafer thin area came off. This hole is a good 1/16" deep and goes under the side wood.
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Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 3267
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: 1947 Gibson Mess

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Here is the color match by Sherwin Williams. My client is very happy.
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Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
TEETERFAN
Posts: 354
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:43 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: 1947 Gibson Mess

Post by TEETERFAN »

Wow, I got to say, you are fearless! I like your methodical approach and it is great that you share all the details. Good luck completing this resurrection. Another instrument will continue to make music!
Kevin Doty
Kansas City
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