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Thread: Advice needed for this seam separation

  1. #1
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Advice needed for this seam separation

    Recently purchased a very nice top-tier mando. My initial thought is that the seam separation has probably been there for a while now and perhaps, it's something to just watch for now. Short of the proper professional repair, is there something to perhaps apply in the crack to strengthen, stabilize, and hopefully prevent further separation. I'm thinking maybe super glue which is very runny and would flow down in there easily. It doesn't feel as big as the photo makes it appear. Thank's for your help and suggestions.

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  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    What kind of mando is it? Under warranty?

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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    NO,NO! A thousand times NO!

    Superglue would be exactly the wrong thing to use here. And it would make things extremely difficult for any future repair person.

    If it is indeed a “top tier mando” nothing short of a professional repair would do for this problem. Someone who knows what they’re doing. They will probably use hot hide glue and clamps, assuming everything can be lined up correctly. But it looks distorted to me.
    Don

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    If it was me I'd stay away from superglue but then again I'd be having someone take a look at it that knew how to repair it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Well, I have a good reference photo to go by, so if it is a separation from a while back and has stabilized to this point, what about doing nothing for the time being and keep an eye on it? If I notice any change, it'd be time to call in the doc.

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    To me it looks like the binding has pulled away, as in shrinkage. Is that what I'm seeing? I would certainly speak to the builder for their input on the matter.
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Is it the seam or just the binding, can't tell from the pic. Can you put a thin feeler gauge into the gap? Could simply be shrunken binding that has pulled loose.
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Is the bottom statting to do the same thing? It looks suspect in the picture.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    I’d find a good luthier close that has Mandolin experience. Not just a guitar repair tech. Letting it go could lead to that “one day”, when because of heat/cold/too humid/too dry and pow!!!

  10. #10
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    I don't know how anyone can even look at that photo with the reflection.

  11. #11
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Is it the seam or just the binding, can't tell from the pic. Can you put a thin feeler gauge into the gap? Could simply be shrunken binding that has pulled loose.

    Thanks pops1, now that you bring it up, I'll bet it is only the binding shrinking / pulling loose and not a structural seam separating. I'm guessing that this is not nearly as serious. I have a dentist mirror so I'll try to get a good look inside to hopefully confirm that at least all looks good inside.

    So, if it's only the binding, what might be a good option?

    The gap is about a business card in thickness.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Are you the original owner? I would contact the builder either way, give the option for them to correct the problem.
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  13. #13
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Was able to get a good view inside and everything looks fine. I'm quite sure that it is the binding that has pulled loose. Again, my thought is just to watch it. I've been advised not to use super glue.

    However, I still think that a good thing to do would be to fill the void with something. I'm sure that would act to stabilize and help prevent more separation and also to insure that nothing accidentally catches on it. If you agree that would be a good initial step, what type of filler to use, a varnish or lacquer, etc?

  14. #14
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin breeze View Post
    Was able to get a good view inside and everything looks fine. I'm quite sure that it is the binding that has pulled loose. Again, my thought is just to watch it. I've been advised not to use super glue.

    However, I still think that a good thing to do would be to fill the void with something. I'm sure that would act to stabilize and help prevent more separation and also to insure that nothing accidentally catches on it. If you agree that would be a good initial step, what type of filler to use, a varnish or lacquer, etc?
    I wouldn't fill it with anything at this point. Anything you pack in there the luthier will have to clean out later and that will only add to the cost to repair it properly. You would be better served to get it fixed right from the start.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Super glue is actually a good glue to use for this repair.
    BUT... ONLY after the binding has been made to fit back into the groove. If you just flood it with CA (Super glue), you will make a mess and a half for someone to deal with.

    This is not a structural problem. You should do nothing until you're ready with a couple hundred bucks or more to bring it to someone who knows how to fix this. Then, ask them what they want to do, and let them do it.

    It does not need to be stabilized. It's already moved. It won't change the tone or let moisture in (it's already in, just physics).

    It will get, marginally, more difficult to repair the longer you let it sit. But probably not enough to really impact the cost of the repair, unless you do something unnecessary like fill it with polish residue or something.

    I did a similar repair recently:

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    (I used super glue. But there was more to it than that :-)

  16. #16
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    I wish all solutions involved do nothing for now. Thanks a lot for everyone's thoughts.

  17. #17
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Yes, having a problem that is not critical is a good one to have!
    Have you contacted the builder?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Just for the record, when I made my strong recommendation against superglue for this, I was taking the OP’s word that this was a seam separation, meaning wood. Not a binding repair.
    Don

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Just for the record, when I made my strong recommendation against superglue for this, I was taking the OP’s word that this was a seam separation, meaning wood. Not a binding repair.
    Fair enough, and it is absolutely true that just wicking glue in there would be a worse mess, either way.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Super glue is actually a good glue to use for this repair.
    BUT... ONLY after the binding has been made to fit back into the groove. If you just flood it with CA (Super glue), you will make a mess and a half for someone to deal with.

    This is not a structural problem. You should do nothing until you're ready with a couple hundred bucks or more to bring it to someone who knows how to fix this. Then, ask them what they want to do, and let them do it.

    It does not need to be stabilized. It's already moved. It won't change the tone or let moisture in (it's already in, just physics).

    It will get, marginally, more difficult to repair the longer you let it sit. But probably not enough to really impact the cost of the repair, unless you do something unnecessary like fill it with polish residue or something.

    I did a similar repair recently:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2019-08-19 23_15_35-Marty Jacobson (@jacobsoninstruments) • Instagram photos and videos.png 
Views:	60 
Size:	566.7 KB 
ID:	179124Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2019-08-19 23_15_51-Marty Jacobson (@jacobsoninstruments) • Instagram photos and videos.png 
Views:	60 
Size:	395.8 KB 
ID:	179125

    (I used super glue. But there was more to it than that :-)
    Hi Marty,
    How did you deal with the shrunken binding to get it back in place? Did you have to cut it and infill? I have a similar situation with a 20 year old Taylor guitar (not worth an $$$ repair) but it's still attached to the top, just pulling away from the rim.
    -Robert

  21. #21

    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    Hi Marty,
    How did you deal with the shrunken binding to get it back in place? Did you have to cut it and infill? I have a similar situation with a 20 year old Taylor guitar (not worth an $$$ repair) but it's still attached to the top, just pulling away from the rim.
    -Robert
    I used heat in some areas to stretch the binding, and some parts were close enough that once I stretched the middle a bit, I was able to clamp the rest into place. You're almost guaranteed to get some finish damage since plastic melts at 200C and finish melts below 100C. Celluloid is much more likely to give you a good result since it melts at a much lower temperature than ABS or PVC binding... but it can also catch on fire real quickly if you're not super careful.

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  23. #22
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    I used heat in some areas to stretch the binding, and some parts were close enough that once I stretched the middle a bit, I was able to clamp the rest into place. You're almost guaranteed to get some finish damage since plastic melts at 200C and finish melts below 100C. Celluloid is much more likely to give you a good result since it melts at a much lower temperature than ABS or PVC binding... but it can also catch on fire real quickly if you're not super careful.
    This leads to a couple questions. Which binding material shrinks the least and which is the easiest to fix.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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  24. #23

    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Just use wood bindings and you don't even have to think about it.

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  26. #24
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Just use wood bindings and you don't even have to think about it.
    Now thats a plan and I like it better than platics.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  27. #25
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    Default Re: Advice needed for this seam separation

    I no longer heat and/or stretch plastic bindings. I cut them in the most innocuous place I can find and add a filler piece. There is an article on installing the filler piece at frets.com.

    I am using Wilsonart Lokweld Melamine glue. It is non-invasive to finishes.

    All plastics shrink, sooner or later, some more, some less. On the average, celluloid might shrink less, unless you get a bad batch. But it still shrinks.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-24-2019 at 1:10pm.

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