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Thread: old repair

  1. #1
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    Default old repair

    Came home to this.

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    As the fellow at the music store said, the worst that can happen is you have to repair it again.

    So looking for some advise/opinions. What kind of repair is required? Is there enough glue surface that it won't need pins?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: old repair

    I don’t think that would glue up well wth titebond, not enough long grain IMO, but if you used hide glue it would be possibly good to go.
    You may be up for a set of splines or back plate graft

    Steve

  3. #3
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: old repair

    I'm a little unclear on the nature of the break. Are you saying this is a previous repair that didn't hold, or is it fresh? The answer may not change the solution much, but it would help to know for sure. It looks like I see remnants of a dowel, so I suspect the former. If this is a previous repair that failed, then there is almost no chance gluing alone will solve the problem as the glue surfaces are already compromised by the old repair.

    My feeling is that originality and market value are no longer the top concerns. You need a strong, stable repair that doesn't alter the look or feel terribly, but you have options that you might not utilize on a 1923 F-5 for example. I think the most stable repair would be gluing the headstock back together but mostly to get it properly aligned. Then at the very least mill the back of the headstock and put on a back strap as described on frets.com. You may choose to remove all or part of the faceplate and replace that so that you have the break sandwiched between the two. The black faceplate can hide a lot of things. You'd see the work on the back, but this is about making the instrument stable and playable.
    Todd Yates

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    Default Re: old repair

    Yes Todd, a previous repair, over 30 years old which had two dowels. I asked about it holding up to proper gauge strings the the music store and got the "worst that can happen".

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: old repair

    Well there you go! As long as you're willing to accept a serviceable repair rather than a museum grade restoration (which maybe isn't even possible) I think you're looking at a few hundred dollars. Not inexpensive but I'm assuming that neck is attached something worth saving. If it's a recent purchase, then you might have some leverage with the music store that sold it to you.

    And to clarify, my comments above are not meant to imply you should accept a shoddy repair. Just that you're not trying to completely hide the fact that it's been repaired.
    Todd Yates

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    Default Re: old repair

    Yeah, I though that looked like a dowel.
    IF all of the old glue can be cleaned off of the surfaces, IF there is minimal wood loss, If the dowels can be removed cleanly, IF the parts can once again be made to fit together well, IF they can be glued with hide glue and clamped effectively, it would probably hold up to string tension but perhaps would be susceptible to impact. That's a lot of "IF"s.
    I suspect this is a case for a couple of well fit splines; not dowels, not pins, but well fit splines. Back strapping may help some, but I suspect splines would help more.

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    Default Re: old repair

    No wood loss (unless John, you mean through glue removal) and will fit together well.

    I should have mentioned that it's a K1 so a lot more material/surface than if it were a mandolin, but of course more string tension.

  10. #8
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: old repair

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    No wood loss (unless John, you mean through glue removal) and will fit together well.
    Well, there's wood loss where the holes were drilled for the dowels and there is inevitable wood loss from cleaning the old glue off, though it can be minimal. It will be a judgement call for whoever repairs it. Differential wood movement can also cause difficulty in alignment after gluing, re-breaking, cleaning off old glue and so forth.
    Fixing something the second (or more) time is never as straightforward as the first time.

  11. #9
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    Default Re: old repair

    All the opinions above are well informed. This is a repair that I would be afraid to warranty if it came to my workbench. It's difficult to get a reliable bond when a glue joint has previously failed, and this part of the instrument is subject to extremely high stress.

    It may be that an ultra-strong glue such as Resourcinal might hold here, but that is only a guess. But we generally do not use this glue in lutherie, and I cannot vouch for it. If I were to use it, I would still reinforce the joint well.

    I will also suggest the following alternatives:

    1. Regularize the broken end of the neck and graft on a new head, reinforcing it with a thick backstrap and headplate, or with splines; and cross your fingers. I wonder if there's enough wood left at the end of the neck to make a dovetail joint of some kind?

    2. Re-neck the instrument and sleep easily. And it might be easier to make a new neck than it would be to reliably repair the old one.

    I will also mention that the off-the-shelf mandocello string sets that I am familiar with [such as the D'Addario EJ-78's] are MUCH too heavy for these old instruments, and may have hastened the failure of the old repair.

    Whatever you do, I wish you luck. When the instrument is repaired and you string it up, I would recommend starting with .017 or .018 plain or .020 wound for the A, .030 or .032 for the D, and .042 or .044 for the G. I'm not sure about the low C, but I would start with .056 or .058. If something is too loose or flabby, you can try moving that string up to the next largest size, but be careful.

    There is no way would I put ever put a .048 G or .074 C on any mandocello. I don't think D'Addario's engineers were thinking clearly when they designed the EJ-78 set.

    You might consider sending this one to Frank Ford at Gryphon. Another possibility would be Folkway Music in Ontario. They have an interesting article on repairing a really bad peghead break on an old Martin.

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    Default Re: old repair

    With a break like that,it's not just the type / strength of glue to consider,it's the surface area to which it's applied, as AndyV seems to understand. The area looks to be pretty small,& as has been sugested,some additional reinforement is required ie. a couple of strong splines. Ultimately,it's a job for a skilled luthier,& if it were my own mandolin,i'd be prepared to pay to get it done properly - no half measures,or it'll go again. If splines had been fitted when the first repair was done,then IMHO,it would still be up & running,
    Ivan

    PS - Andy,are you doing the repair ?. I notice that you have a thread re. another broken headstock.
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
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    Default Re: old repair

    If it was mine I would have it re necked and it should still be considered "original", many banjos have different necks than the originals and they are considered original so why not a Mandolin type instrument also...It will still have the original body...SO?

    Willie

  14. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: old repair

    Hi Willie - They're NOT original,they're simply stated to be so. Neither are the banjos with ''replacement'' tone rings / wooden rims etc. Even Gibson banjos with all original Gibson parts - if the individual part serial #s don't match - they ain't ''original'' as a ''complete instrument'' either,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: old repair

    A back strap and possibly a new face plate will almost certainly make this stable forever. I much prefer that over splines for several reasons, including that I have more faith in the structural integrity of that method. That repair will be FAR cheaper than a new neck and retain a greater degree of originality. I would expect that repair to be under $500 and a new neck to be $1,500 or more. This instrument will be more valuable with a repaired original neck than a replacement neck. Plus the neck on a vintage instrument (or any instrument really) is one of the most important aspects feel and playability. There's no way I'd give up on the original neck considering the relative ease of repair - for a skilled repairman used to working with vintage instruments.
    Todd Yates

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    Default Re: old repair

    Sorry for not getting back sooner to everyone and saying Thanks!

    No Ivan, I would not attempt to do this repair.

    Splines sound like a very solid repair method, but as the neck is three piece construction, the splines would each be set into 1-1/8" widths. Is that enough surrounding material?

  17. #15
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    Default Re: old repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    A back strap and possibly a new face plate will almost certainly make this stable forever...
    I won't get into the relative merits of splines vs back straps/face plates, but regardless of the repair method, we can never assume that a glue joint will be stable forever. Forever is a long time...
    I can't remember the exact quote, and I'm not sure which violin repairmen it was who said it, but it was something about preserving things in the best shape possible when we repair because the glue joint is going to fail again at some time. Perhaps he is right, but ever since I've used that as a guiding principal.

  18. #16
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    Default Re: old repair

    If speaking in absolutes, forever is quite a long time of course. In the context I used it, I meant "the foreseeable future". Or another way to put it, I wouldn't expect a failure for many decades and then only if subjected to heat and/or moisture. A third way of stating it is that the repair would be at least as stable as any other glue joint in the instrument. I know any joint can fail, but I don't expect them to at particular intervals.

    Side note, for all this times I've seen you post here, I've been oblivious to the fact that you're in Kentucky. Where are you located...more or less? I'm in Lexington.
    Todd Yates

  19. #17
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: old repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    Side note, for all this times I've seen you post here, I've been oblivious to the fact that you're in Kentucky. Where are you located...more or less? I'm in Lexington.
    Just South of you, near Richmond.

  20. #18
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: old repair

    We're neighbors. That might not be good for you. I can be a nuisance....or so my children tell me from time to time.

    Actually, they're great kids. My daughter starts at EKU in the fall. I'll try to stop by some time, with adequate notice and permission of course.
    Todd Yates

  21. #19
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: old repair

    Just let me know, I'm usually here.

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    Default Re: old repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    I wouldn't expect a failure for many decades and then only if subjected to heat and/or moisture.
    I'll be happy to get two decades. Really I'd be happy to get five or ten years - then would be sad.

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    Default Re: old repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    I wouldn't expect a failure for many decades and then only if subjected to heat and/or moisture.
    I'll be happy to get two decades. Really I'd be happy to get five or ten years - then would be sad.

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    Default Re: old repair

    I'm ready to shop this repair around. If they suggest a strap, (and just because I'm curious) what's the rule of thumb for how far up the neck it should run? While we're at it, what woods are preferable?

    Thanks in advance.

  25. #23

    Default Re: old repair

    Gave Frank Ford at Gryphon a call about a year ago, to see if he would fix a couple of top cracks on my black F4.
    He said they do not take mail-in repairs(at that time). But Frank has always seemed very approachable
    and willing to talk repairs. FRETS website can be very helpful.

    Hope you get it fixed up and playable again!

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    Default Re: old repair

    Thanks V7.

    When I bought it I thought that, should the headstock repair break again and be unrepairable, I at least shouldn't loose out financially selling it for parts or parting it out. Having enjoyed it so much for such a short time, playing it again is the goal.

  27. #25
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    Default Re: old repair

    I'm not a luthier, but if that were mine I'd rather have a neck transplant (on the mandolin, not me). I'll bet there are similar mandolins out there that have had catastrophic body damage but no neck problems. Check eBay, Craigslist,etc. Maybe post a WANTED on the classified section of the cafe. Good luck!
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

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