Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: First repair - all advice welcome

  1. #1

    Question First repair - all advice welcome

    Just bought (Ebay) what appears to be an older Japanese-made Kentucky 650 in fairly rough shape. Serial # 15357. Hasn't arrived yet.

    I'm sure I paid too much ($222.50) given what it needs but that wasn't the point. Paid for the project/education.

    Below is a list what seems to be needed. Plus, whatever surprises are in store.

    1. Remove/replace fingerboard and fingerboard binding.
    2. In stall new frets
    3. Replace bridge.
    4. Repair/replace tuners -- one of which, at least, seems loose in headstock.
    5. set nutt -- restring

    Never done any of this before. I've been studying YouTube videos, reading, and visiting luthier supply sites. Will buy appropriate tools and exercise great patience. That said, can use all the advice anyone has. I already know though, that this is probably not the smartest move. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,456

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    First tip:
    Wait until you have the mandolin in your hands to decide what needs to be done and how to go about it.
    You can get plenty of advice here so feel free to ask nearly any question, but it will help considerably if you post pictures along with your questions, and that obviously means you have to have possession of the mandolin.
    Hard to say if the price paid was too much, especially considering that it can be thought of as tuition.

  3. #3

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Your user name cracks me up -- awesome!
    None of this is rocket surgery. This sounds like an awesome adventure. Yup, the price you paid is tuition. Can't wait until you get the mandolin and we see pictures.

  4. #4
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Start reading the "Items for luthiers" pages on frets.com. Buy and read "Complete Guitar Repair" by Hideo Kamimoto. Find someone who will let you look over their shoulder.

    Pulling a fretboard is a difficult job for someone who has never done one before. Also, the glues used on some imports will not let go using the standard methods. I don't know what was used on your mandolin.

    It takes time to learn how to do a good fret job. Watching it being executed in person by somebody who knows their business is more valuable than a thousand articles or videos. You might want to do your first fret job on a $50 piece of junk or, even better, a discarded cheapo guitar in bad shape. Then, you can try to pull the fretboard on that before you go to work on your Kentucky.

    You will make mistakes. Be patient, accept them, see what you can learn from them, and try again. If you get stuck on something, don't force it. Cease and desist, and consult somebody knowledgeable.

    Beware of youtube videos. Some of the info is good, some is bad. Forums are the same way.
    Find the experienced repairmen in your area. You will find that many of us are willing help beginners, but you have to ask.
    If you are within driving distance of southeast Tennessee, you are welcome to pm me.


    The first principle of repair work is that it's easier to put them together than it is to take them apart. And learn the difference between essential tools and boutique tools. The luthier's suppliers will be glad to sell you lots of fancy tools you don't need, but a very few of the specialty tools are worth their weight in gold. For the beginner at fretwork, I recommend a good lifting tool, an old fashioned double-sided crowning file, and a fret tang nipper. If you're going to get into the business for real, the fret crimper is invaluable. Most of the other tools I use come from the hardware store.

    Keep your eye clear and your tools sharp.
    Last edited by rcc56; Nov-10-2019 at 2:57pm.

  5. #5

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Why do you feel the fretboard needs to be removed?
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  6. #6

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Thanks, I'd post picture from the seller's Ebay listing if I knew how. Should get it this week.

  7. #7

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    The pictures from the Ebay listing. The fingerboard looks as if its flaking away and the binding around it looks like its been replaced repaired in the past. I think the fretboard was shortened at some point. In any case, as sunburst, suggests I guess I need to wait to get the thing, but from the Ebay photos the fretboard looks pretty messed up.

  8. #8

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Thanks, very helpful.

  9. #9

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    I now have the mandolin. Its had a rough life. Looks like it was owned by a teenager learning to use power tools. The end of the fretboard (and underlying neck extension) was hacksawed off leaving marks on the body. What looks like model glue was used in an attempt a reattach of the fretboard. There was dried glue all over the instrument. The headstock appears to have been repainted.

    The fretboard came off quite easily. Initially I thought about completely refinishing the thing and started sanding the high gloss poly (I think) finish. At some point I realized the poly was put on pretty thick and after some sanding began to look like a nice mat finish. So before getting down to the stain I applied Tried and True original finish (beeswax and linseed oil). Looks pretty nice.

    Following advice above, tomorrow I am visiting a local luthier to get advice/help/etc. So we'll see.

  10. #10

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    I also filled hacksaw marks with plastic wood.

  11. #11

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    I see you are eager to make progress. As a general rule, thoughtful planning is more useful than quick action. I would generally refrain from taking steps until I had the entire process worked out.

    The plastic filler may not turn out to be the wisest move, but pictures would be a great help in understanding the scope of your challenges.
    Play it like you mean it.

  12. #12
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,456

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I see you are eager to make progress. As a general rule, thoughtful planning is more useful than quick action. I would generally refrain from taking steps until I had the entire process worked out.

    The plastic filler may not turn out to be the wisest move, but pictures would be a great help in understanding the scope of your challenges.
    +1, and if I could "+" more than that I would.
    We need to know where we are going before we start. Plastic wood is almost always a no-no in instrument work.

  13. #13

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0073.jpg 
Views:	55 
Size:	62.3 KB 
ID:	181265Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0072.jpg 
Views:	45 
Size:	61.2 KB 
ID:	181264Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0071.jpg 
Views:	45 
Size:	165.2 KB 
ID:	181266

  14. #14

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Planning is good but I had to see if finishing was even feasible before going further. It actually looks pretty nice in an antiquey, been around the block, sort of way, so I'm moving forward. Here's the plan. Meet with Luthier tomorrow for advice, etc. Everything dependent on what she tells me. I'm hoping she will work with me -- mentor me through the process. If not, I'll get her estimate on what installing a new fretted fingerboard will cost and if she thinks it makes any sense. Aside from that I think all that is required is a new bridge and proper set up. I'm hoping she will let me pay her to help me learn as opposed to her just doing it. If it comes to her doing everything I may abort as value of instrument itself is marginal.

    BTW, in first picture you can see hacksaw mark I filled. Right by the binding so hopefully not to much of a no no. It is what it is.

  15. #15

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    One other note. The forum threads are archived back for at least 15 years. Most questions are not new and an enormous variety topics have been addressed, many at great lengths over multiple years. It would be well worth a bit of time to learn to search the archives, using both the internal search function and querying using Google, should you decide to tackle other projects.

    Good luck with this one.
    Play it like you mean it.

  16. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  17. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Conneaut Lake, PA
    Posts
    4,049

    Default Re: First repair - all advice welcome

    Since you are a beginner, by your own admission, you should do a lot more reading and studying before jumping in with both feet. You’ve already made an error using plastic wood I think. And once it’s done it’s hard to reverse. A drop fill with medium viscosity super glue would have been more successful. Done correctly, it’s almost invisible. It’s hard for me to believe the plastic wood is invisible. Of course, on the other hand, if your work is hidden by the fingerboard extension, I guess that could be ok. As referenced above, frets.com is a great place to start. Don’t just restrict yourself to the mandolin specific section. There’s a lot of good stuff in the guitar section that can be useful too. Removing all that old glue will be a challenge. If it was model glue acetone would work, but most likely harm the finish too. Good luck. Love the scroll. Some people pay hundreds of dollars extra to get distressing like that!
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •