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Heel cap on my Martin HD-28

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by HotRodSteve, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think it's called a heel cap, it's the small triangular piece of plastic that is glued onto the heel of the neck where it joins the body. It popped off today after twenty years or so. Here's a stock pic of what I'm talking about:

    [​IMG]

    What should I use to glue it back on?
     
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Just popped off? Does the neck joint appear to be widening? Binding look OK?

    More important than what you glue it with, is how to prepare to re-glue it. Remove as much residual glue as possible, clean area well with naphtha, then re-glue. May want to rough-up the plastic with some sandpaper if it isn't already. Personally, I would just use medium CA (superglue), but I am used to working with it. Some people use Weld-On #16, but I have none lying around. Regardless, you need to watch carefully for squeeze-out and wipe it off immediately. I would just hold it snug with your fingers until it sets up. If you have accelerator, you can spray a little on the cap and wood before you apply the glue and it will set faster. BUT, it will also set FASTER - so do a couple dry runs before you apply any glue.
     
  3. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    White glue (Elmer's) is just fine, and won't damage anything if you leak some onto wood parts, and will clean off easily. I wouldn't let superglue or epoxy anywhere near my Martin
     
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  4. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    In 1939 Martin would have used hide glue.

    When your guitar was built they probably used the equivalent of original Titebond

    Actually, if the seam is clean and the parts fit back together well, just about any glue would work.

    Advantage of Titebond is that squeezeout can be easily cleaned up with water

    Have Fun!
     
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  5. Ron C

    Ron C Tele-Holic

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    I agree - Titebond is what I'd use, and it should be a very easy repair.

    Option #2: if you've got a good authorized Martin repair person near you, why not give them a call and have them do it? I'm biased, I have a great one very near me - Ed Clark Guitars.
     
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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Actually Martin may have used one of the acetone based glues (Ducco, Weldon, shop made stuff) for their plastic binding and pieces. I use medium viscosity CA for binding repairs, I would do the same for this. One problem with Titebond or similar glues is that you really need to clean all the old stuff off, whatever it was, however this is not a stressed joint so almost any glue will do.
     
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  7. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    When the binding on my 1989 Martin 000-28 decided to set itself loose I reglued it with Titebond III. Easy job and cleanup and no signs of letting go five years later.

    I recall that the recommendation for Titebond III came from online and a statement that Martin were using that particular glue for binding.
     
  8. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    Taking everyone's advice the patient is in the recovery room. I cleaned off both ends with sandpaper and naptha (Zippo fluid). Glued with crazy glue and taped down. I'll let the patient sit for awhile...
     
  9. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    Took the gaffer's tape off and the cap slipped right off, so did some of the herringbone trim. Time to go to a luthier and grovel.
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The tape pulled the herringbone purfling out?? Gaffer's tape is strong stuff - too strong for most guitar finishes. Yes, probably time to go to a luthier. If you are the original owner, it should be covered under warranty, despite having been buggered a bit by the tape.

    In my first response, I was suspicious something was amiss with the neck joint at the heel. I would have a luthier check that out closely to see if the neck is shifting.Do you use a strap that is attached at the headstock? Do you maintain proper humidity?

    http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Structural/HeelCap/heelcap.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  11. Dano-caster

    Dano-caster Tele-Meister

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    I would use the CA glue as it's such a small piece but I think you need to find out why it "popped off". Never seen that before.I live in the desert for years with Martin guitars and try to keep the moisture level up in all my guitars. Check to see if the frets are extended from the board.Humidify.Might be drying out.
     
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I agree. It is not a structural part and shouldn't be popping off without insult. I suspect either the heel has taken a good whack, or the neck joint is loose.
     
  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Something else to remember is that the lacquer over the heel cap and binding will have aged and starts to turn that lovely amber color of old nitro. However its tricky to match and repair. I have done some binding repairs on old guitars and have always used thin CA to wick into the seam, then repaired the finish in whatever way seemed best for the guitar.
     
  14. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    The heel hasn't taken any whacks, it's been babied. I very rarely play with a strap, there is a button on the heel. Over the years I've tried to keep it humidified, I use a Kyser, but sometimes it gets dried out. I'll do a search and find a Martin authorized repairman since I'm the original owner. Overdue for a good tune-up anyway.
     
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  15. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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  16. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    Found a Martin authorized luthier in my area and it turns out he was the guy who originally setup the guitar when I bought it back in 1998. Life is good.
     
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