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Thread: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    I've looked everywhere, but it is nowhere to be found. I have lost the bit of celluloid binding that runs along the top point of my F-4. What can I do for a replacementClick image for larger version. 

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    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    I believe those were bone, when I chipped mine I was able to get replacements from Roger Siminoff. Sadly, he doesn’t list them anymore, but he might be able to help with a source. You might try a PM.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    It was a corner protector, not really binding.
    Many of the old ones were bone or ivory but some were ivoroid plastic. Any good (emphasis on "good") repair person with finish experience can make and install a new one to match the other one that, I assume, is still in place.
    Unless you are a good (emphasis on "good") repair person with finish experience, do not try this at home. Instead take it to such a person.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    I just enlarged the photo and I see what looks like a bunch of little "puncture" marks; little holes that look like they were made with a sharp point. I've never seen that under an original old Gibson corner protector and it makes me wonder if the point has been replaced at some time and whoever did it thought the holes might improve the glue joint. That's pure speculation, but those little holes are a curiosity.

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I just enlarged the photo and I see what looks like a bunch of little "puncture" marks; little holes that look like they were made with a sharp point. I've never seen that under an original old Gibson corner protector and it makes me wonder if the point has been replaced at some time and whoever did it thought the holes might improve the glue joint. That's pure speculation, but those little holes are a curiosity.
    It's not likely it has ever been repaired before. It came to me from the son of the original owner, Jeanette Greene, to whom it was given as a gift about 100 years ago. She never played it after she had children and kept it in a closet. Her son never even saw it until after she died, and he never played it. He sold it to me several years ago before he passed away.
    The only place I can think of that would qualify as a "good" repair place near by, (8 hours away) would be Gryphon's. Maybe I can take it there the next time I drive up that way.
    Last edited by Jack Roberts; Jun-29-2021 at 4:50pm.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Hello, John!

    I found the piece. it appears that the glue just dried up and it fell off when bumped. I just had to find when and where I bumped it.

    Any suggestions on what kind of glue to use. I know superglue might work, but what would you use?
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Can you tell what the piece is made of? I can't tell from the photo if it was "dovetailed" into the binding, but that was usually the case, and if so, it should fit in only one position. Gluing it requires keeping all glue off of the finish regardless of the type of glue, though that is more critical with some types of glue than others. The material will determine what glues are appropriate.

    I suspect the piece is bone or ivory. Those harder materials tend to pop off from light impact as you said yours did. Ivoroid or other plastic has a better chance of staying put because the softer material helps absorb the impart. If the point is bone or ivory, hot hide glue would be the best choice of glue for reasons of authenticity and history. Titebond would be the choice of many repair people and it would work well, but in my opinion, authenticity is important enough, even with a simple repair like this, to go to the slight extra trouble of using hide glue.
    Once again, unless you are a good (emphasis on "good") repair person with finish experience it is best to take it to someone who is.
    If you are very handy and confident, having the old piece to replace, rather than having to make a new one, makes this a much simpler job. Using hide glue makes protecting the finish relatively easy; just wipe away the still-warm-and-wet glue with a warm damp rag as soon as the piece is well fit in position. I usually "clamp" points in position with masking tape unless the dovetail fit is good enough for the joint to be self clamping.

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    I don't think it is ivoroid. The reason I say that is that both this piece and its counterpart on the bottom are slightly darker than the binding. If it is bone or ivory, the materials are similar, but I think it is more likely bone by the looks and feel.

    The part is prism shaped, so there is no dovetailing. There is no question about the orientation: due to shaping, it only fits one way. I'll use some hide glue and clamp as you suggest.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    ..

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    You might want to score the gluing surface of the bone or ivoroid or whatever it is with a razor saw blade. This practice has been in use for a couple of centuries, and is believed to improve adhesion. Whether it really works or not, I don't know, but it can't hurt. I score the gluing surface of acoustic guitar bridges when I replace them. Why? Because Martin did it consistently when they were building with hide glue, and because violin makers have been scoring the backs of fingerboards for generations.

    Glad you found the missing point. Making a new one and getting it to fit just right and look old is not as easy as it looks.

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    A dab or two of yellow glue will be fine. Use a piece of tape to hold it until it's dry.
    Even white glue will work. You want it to stay on, but be repairable down the road.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    On the flip side I wouldn't hesitate to drive that down to Frank Ford.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Frank Ford can do no wrong.

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Quote Originally Posted by NotMelloCello View Post
    Frank Ford can do no wrong.
    I haven't repaired a mandolin before, but I repair Remotely Operated Vehicles, and they are pretty much the same, aren't they?

    I've bought my share of stuff from Frank's shop, especially music books. But I don't think this is quite the level of difficulty that requires additional help. If I mess it up somehow, it will go out to Frank's.

    Frank and his staff have seen this mandolin about 10 years ago. I took it in for a physical exam before it reached its 100th birthday. They judged it pretty close to flawless, with a couple of scratches on and the normal finish checking. I'm guessing that it hadn't been played since the 40's, as the staff at Gryphon's dated some of the goodies in the case from that era.
    For example, this was in the case, and it is dated 1935:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    If you use tape to clamp this don't leave it on any longer than needed and remove it slowly and carefully. Tape can damage an old finish.

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    If you use tape to clamp this don't leave it on any longer than needed and remove it slowly and carefully. Tape can damage an old finish.
    Thank you for the advice. I plan to use a regular furniture clamp. It is wide enough to press against the piece and the opposite side of the body just perfectly. I'll probably get to the task over the weekend, and I'll send before and after photos.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    All fixed



    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Glad you got it back together.
    For the record, it looks to me like the point is indeed made of ivoroid.

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Glad you got it back together.
    For the record, it looks to me like the point is indeed made of ivoroid.
    Now that I look at it closely, I concur.

    I coated the wood with warmed hide glue, and then the piece. I positioned them and let it set for a bit with pressure, then I clamped it down so that it was gently in place and the point was not sticking up above or out beyond the binding. With the clamp on, I pushed the piece into what looked like the best final position (inspecting with a magnifier) and tightened the clamp. I cleaned up the extruded glue with a damp q-tip and waited 8 hours before unclamping.

    I didn't use tape on it because I didn't want to cover the extruded glue. It was easier to keep an eye on it and to check the proper position with a clamp. I used a trigger clamp with soft plastic faces and clamped across the body of the mandolin. It was like the trigger clamp was made for this purpose: it even has a groove in the center of the face for holding the piece is perfect position.

    Thanks to everyone for your help, and have a Safe and Sane 4th! (or unsafe and insane if you are into that sort of thing.)
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Nice repair Jack! I would be proud of that repair.
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Looks great!!

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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Nice little story and fine outcome. You done good. Once you found the piece I think the repair took on a whole lower level of complexity? Actually it occurs to me that you might not have bumped it on anything the old bond might have just failed? Or maybe it was bumped hard 60 years ago and just now fell out? Who knows. Those holes in the wood under the point, that John pointed out are interesting too.

    I liked the story about the history of the mandolin. Purchased a 100 years ago but then put under the bed and never played or even shown to the children -- must be a story there? Why did she never show it to them? But you note that the son is now gone too -- did junior have a family of his own -- i.e., any grand children?
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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    ....
    I liked the story about the history of the mandolin. Purchased a 100 years ago but then put under the bed and never played or even shown to the children -- must be a story there? Why did she never show it to them? But you note that the son is now gone too -- did junior have a family of his own -- i.e., any grand children?
    Sorry to take so long to answer: I've been traveling.

    According to the son, (Actually the grandson of the original buyer) His grandmother bought the mandolin for her daughter. She played it before she had children, but gave up, probably because she became very busy with the children.

    The son, my colleague, inherited it after his mother passed away about 15 years ago, and asked me to document its value. He had taken it to a dealer and he thought they had low-balled the value (they had.)

    I documented the value with typical selling prices at the time and he decided to keep it and learn to play. But he found he didn't have time to take up an instrument, so he asked his sister if she wanted it, and she said she had no use for it.

    So I we agreed to the full retail value less $200, a lot more than his other offer, with the $200 difference going to his favorite charity, the Gideons. So now I am looking after it for the next generation of mandolin players to enjoy sometime soon.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Roberts View Post
    So now I am looking after it for the next generation of mandolin players to enjoy sometime soon.
    NOT soon please Streborkcaj!
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    Default Re: Lost bit of binding, 1915 F-4

    Would you post a full body picture of it? I would love to see it. I like these old instruments.
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