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Broken head

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by SacDAve, May 13, 2010.

  1. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just picked up this Paul Jr. (59) from a friends shop. As you can see from the pics the head is broken, I’ve never fixed a completely broken one before. It’s a clean break so I’m thinking epoxy and some 1/8 wood dowel pins. The finishing will be pretty straight forward. So my question anyone have advice with real experience doing this type of repair? It may get down to just making a new neck, the frets are so worn I can’t believe it even was playable.
     

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  2. Bluej58

    Bluej58 Tele-Holic

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    I'm no expert but I wouldn't use epoxy or dowels .

    I think that the epoxy will be too thick and the dowels could be trouble some to line up .

    I did a repair on one of those types of breaks only it was still hanging on a bit, using
    Tite bond III that I thinned with a very little bit of distilled water.

    I loaded it up with glue and clamped it together real tight, cleaning up what squeezed out.

    Did it about three years ago, no problems so far.
     
  3. JPanichella

    JPanichella Tele-Meister

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    Epoxy will cause a noticeable gap. Wood glue and clamps like bluej suggested.
     
  4. AJ CUSTOM

    AJ CUSTOM TDPRI Member

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    I agree with bluej58, just plain old yellow wood glue is probably your best option. the way it is broken clamping it shouldn't be a problem. just make sure to refinish it to keep moisture from breaking the glue bond.
     
  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    No dowels.

    If I had to do it I would use Titebond or Titebond II.

    But I would rather take it to someone who works with hide glue all the time and get them to let me watch them do it.
     
  6. fletch

    fletch Tele-Meister

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  7. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tightbond dose sound like a better choice, I never had a tight bond joint fail , My thoughts on the small dowels was drilling them in after the initial gluing, but I’ll give that some more thought, they might be pointless. I think it’s going to be as fun little project.
     
  8. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Glued up it should be way stronger than it was when new. No need for dowels or screws. Plain old wood glue properly clamped will make a joint where if it was ever to break again it definately won't be on the glue joint.
     
  9. NateM

    NateM TDPRI Member

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    I would send it to Greg at BCRmusic. It is a 59 Jr. and you want it fixed up right and that is quite the guitar to do your first full repair on. Here are some other examples of Greg's work (Fletch already linked you to one)

    http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/82293-hamer-sunburst-restoration.html

    http://www.bcrmusic.com/structural.htm

    Greg is absolutely top notch at what he does and a great guy too. From what I understand he is very fair in his prices as well. Regardless of what you decide, congrats on the cool guitar! I hope you get it fixed up!
     
  10. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Tele-Afflicted

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    I say take it to a real luthier. This guitar is too valuable to learn on. This belongs in the hands of someone who has done dozens of head stocks.

    Not dismissing your skills, but broken Gibson headstocks are terribly common and there are guys with too much experience to ignore.
     
  11. David Collins

    David Collins Tele-Afflicted

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    You don't try your first attempt at chiropractic back straightening on an 80 year old woman, and you don't try your first peghead repair on a '59 LP Junior. Yes, I see it's already been repaired before (unfortunately with the useless dowel treatment), but this makes it all the more important that it be repaired properly this time.

    I have lots of experience with broken headstocks, repaired hundreds of them, have several that I'm working on right now, and can tell you that each case is different, and the only way you're going to get predictably ideal results is if you have the experience to treat this one as individually appraised. Do your first headstock repair on a Takamine or Epiphone, not this guitar.

    90% of the time I use hide glue, though epoxies can certainly have their place, and this may possibly be a candidate for this approach. Even then, there are times when a West System epoxy may be better, sometimes with a 2 step bonding process, sometimes with a colloidal silica filler, or System 3 epoxy may be a better choice for this one - I can't tell from the pictures, and if you can't tell from experience, then you should leave this job to someone who can. I never use PVA glues like Titebond I, II, or III for a job like this. Sometimes it requires reinforcements ranging from tapered wedges or dovetailed splines, sometimes a backstrap reinforcement, sometimes new sections grafted in.

    Yes, I'm trying to scare you away from trying this yourself, as I feel you should be. I know this is not a '59 burst, and I know it's already been compromised by previous repairs. Still, it's not a suitable candidate for learning, and you could stand at very high risk of doing more harm than good for this instrument.

    Anything can be fixed, and that could potentially be returned to better condition than it was before the most recent break. Here's one I'm currently finishing up which was run over by a truck -

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    You'd be surprised what can be done with broken headstocks, and how much can go in to determining and executing an ideal approach. I truly feel your case is one best left in the hands of a skilled professional though.
     
  12. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I agree with the last 3 posts competely. Nice work Dave C...incredible work.
     
  13. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I thought about the value of the guitar but looking at it closely I’m 100% confident I can repair it. As for the guitar itself the only original parts are the body neck and pick guard. Still it has some value to it. I have decided no dowels just glue tight bond. It also needs a re fret so that will be next plus the owner has a Plek machine. Anyway I’ll put some pics up when it’s done.
    Dave Collins nice job. I would not try that repair well maybe if it was my guitar.
     
  14. szechuanking

    szechuanking Tele-Holic

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    titebond or elmers, you really only get one shot with these things so dont dry fit it and take it apart just go for it so you dont lose or shift any pieces around and it should fit back together perfectly. thats one of the downfalls of the bandsawn neck with the angled peghead.
     
  15. Staggered Mag

    Staggered Mag Tele-Meister

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    + 1
     
  16. 2ndstringroadie

    2ndstringroadie TDPRI Member

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    those aren't even the worst breaks i've seen greg repair. as previously stated a 59 lp isn't something to learn on.
     
  17. cactusrob

    cactusrob Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know much but this sounds like good wisdom to me...:neutral:
     
  18. mlp-mx6

    mlp-mx6 Tele-Holic

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    Dude, I'm glad you are confident. However, to see the extreme level of skill of David and have him tell you he would NEVER use Titebond, then you say you will use it - how can you so easily throw away what is clearly expert advice?
     
  19. David Collins

    David Collins Tele-Afflicted

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    If you decide to try this one yourself (which again, I am highly recommending against), there are a number of obstacles you will face in getting a good secure fit and repair.

    First off, that doesn't look like it came apart just yesterday. If it's been apart for a while, then the surface of the wood has a fairly low surface energy. This means it's likely oxidized, contaminated, a majority of the hydrogen bonds that the glue should prefer to bond with are already occupied. This amounts to a much lower strength of the glue joint than a fresh break, and can play a significant role in what glue is the best choice.

    Second, when you try to clamp this together, you are essentially clamping a wedge joint in the middle of parallel faces (those faces not being parallel to the joint). No matter how many dry clampings you do, and how well it seems to fit and clamp in practice runs, all that goes out the window when glue is applied. When glue is wet, it is a lubricant, and things can want to slip all over. Without direct control over positioning and good visibility and access to the joint under pressure, it can be hard to make adjustments on the fly to compensate for this and ensure accurate positioning. I see lots of fully separated headstocks end up misaligned because of this phenomenon.

    Here is a quick video showing the tools that I use for fully separated headstocks. Sound is terrible (I don't make many videos), but many of the concerns you may face are visually addressed here.



    I've even run in to cases where a headstock that has been separated for some time will have shrunk and seasoned differently from the neck portion it was once attached to. This means having to manipulate the humidity and moisture content of the headstock to match back up cleanly with the neck that it was once a part of.

    PVA glues like Titebond or Elmers I feel have no great qualities other than convenience that makes them so popular for jobs like this. They have very poor creep resistance, poor heat resistance, and offer little more than a long working time and easy clean up. Hide glue has excellent heat and creep resistant, resulting in a much more stable and secure bond, though it has a very short open time and requires a bit more experience to effectively work with.

    Or if the joint is indeed contaminated, there are professional epoxies (not your hardware store 5 minute epoxy) that can be more appropriate. A low viscosity epoxy can saturate much more deeply in to the fibers, as well as securely fill any gaps of missing wood, and still offer some mechanical adhesion when the situation for good molecular adhesion is not ideal. Even here though, the application method is very important, as the low viscosity epoxy which saturates well is best applied in two stages. First a wetting of both surfaces for good saturation, followed by an application of a thickened layer in the middle to avoid a starved glue joint, where all the epoxy in the middle could potentially be sucked out in to the wood and away from the joint.

    Plenty of things to consider, lots of things that can go wrong, all the possibilities of approaches and problems could not be summed up in a forum post, and you only get one chance to do it right the first time. Re-repairing a poorly fixed headstock is a much bigger job than doing it right the first time, so consider your options carefully.
     
  20. joe desperado

    joe desperado Tele-Meister

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    From all the posts I have seen David Collins post here and on other forums...His headstock repair skills are amoung the best in the world. He gets the tightest repair joints I have ever seen. It blows me away. I have repair probably 25-30 headstock over the last 30 years, and can only come close to his mastery.

    On a 59...I think I would send it to David to fix. If it was a 99...I'd do it myself LOL.

    Joe
     
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