'Looking for a second opinion or two on a recent repair:
A few months ago a local customer brought a nice Duff F5 that had a bad night at the pub and took a fall, breaking the headstock almost completely off at the nut / truss rod pocket area. If it was my personal mandolin or one I had built, I would have made a new neck. We talked about a few ideas and I glued the break together with hot hide glue, everything tested solid for a week and then strung it back up for a while. No movement or issues, so I went ahead and did a nice finish touch up. Overall a very good repair, quick turnaround, and I charged him about 50% of the normal price because he is a good local musician and a friend.
Stuff breaks, we all get in a place where we need a quick fix now and then. I like the idea that he doesn't just keep the mandolin in a glass case and never take it out of the house. He plays it hard, he gigs with it, he uses it for what it was designed.
Three months pass with no issues and I get a call yesterday. The mandolin was down at a big outdoor festival in Florida this month, traveling in a gig bag. The specific details are not completely clear from my end, but... somehow the neck joint fails. In a hasty decision, it got passed to another "luthier" who heads to Wallmart, gets a bottle of Titebond and a clamp and "fixes" it overnight. Yesterday I get the phone call for help after he got back in town.
My experience with probably over a 1000 instruments in three decades of repairs and new builds is that this is the worst place you could ever choose to use Titebond; it is basically a fancy plastic that is subject to creep and will almost always fail. Hot hide glue is the only thing I'd use here, and even it has limitations if the joint is really trashed or you push it too far. I've never seen Titebond hold over the long haul in this area. Additionally, I see it as the joint has now been compromised- a big mixture of several types of glue in a weak area. If he had brought it to me after any joint failure, I would have redone any repairs needed with no charge. Someone else mucking about with the Wallmart "repair" is a a completely different story and a deal breaker. I don't want to see it or touch it, but I also know that one disgruntled local can do a lot more damage than just this repair.
'Just wanted to get a second opinion or two from the other luthiers around here, mainly on the idea of not bringing the work back to me after the failure and then wanting follow up, rather than the never ending Titebond vs hot hide glue banter. I know the owner of this mandolin pays close attention to the cafe.
Paul Duff, are you out there lurking? If not, hopefully one of his neighbors will go pound on the door.