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Thread: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

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    Question Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Hi all, I joined this forum on recommendation and I am very excited to be here!

    After many many years I decided to go back to learning the mandolin. I happen to have a very old Rogue. It is not a great instrument but after changing the strings, lowering the action etc. it is at least playable and more than enough for a beginner. However, upon inspection I noticed a long, thin crack where the neck heel meets the body.

    Most repair advice involves going to a luthier. I cannot do that, because just having it looked at would probably cost more than the value of the instrument. My wife suggested to “just play it until it breaks, and then get a new one”, which is probably what I am going to do. However, I wonder if there is any way to delay its demise. I am mulling to slide some thin CA repair glue into the crack, but curious if anyone has any better suggestions.

    Picture of the damage:

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  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    The neck is coming out due to the pressure of the strings. CA glue will not help you. Time for a new mandolin.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    I agree with your wife.

    If I was going to try glue, I would not use CA. I would flex the joint gently while rubbing Titebond into it, then try to find some way to pull it into position so the joint is more or less closed. You might try tying some stiff twine or something around the peghead, run it over the back of the mandolin to the end pin, pull it as tight as you can and tie it, then stick a block of wood between the twine and the mandolin back to exert some extra tension to pull the joint closed as far as possible. Wait 48 hours before you string it back up.

    I would only give advice such as this on a "if it doesn't work, you've got nothing to lose" cheapie such as a Rogue.

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    If you want to pull the neck back to glue it tie from the headstock to the endpin as rcc6 says, instead use a loop so you have two pieces of, I use shoe laces. You can use a 6" piece of dowel or a pencil and stick it inbetween the two pieces of shoe lace and twist it. It will tighten up and put quite a bit of pressure, tighten until the glue squeezes out and the crack closes. Now simply pull the pencil until only a small part is in the lace and let it rest against the neck, it will keep the winding from unwinding and you will get much more pressure than trying to block it. I am not sure this will help much unless you can get glue into the joint, but it is worth trying. You could drive a screw into the heel and into the block while it is under pressure too. Since it is a Rogue I wouldn't worry about the screw and it will give you a fair amount of strength. Possibly enough to play it until you save up for a better mandolin. Good luck.
    Last edited by pops1; Nov-20-2022 at 10:53pm.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    This is an example of what Don Teeter, who wrote one of the first good books on guitar repair [required reading], referred to as a Q & D repair. Quick and dirty.
    I only use such techniques for instruments such as your Rogue.

    "To everything, there is a season."

    Hope it holds together for a while.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    How is the neck attached on this one? In other words, is there a gluing surface where y’all are proposing to insert glue, or just a big gap?

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    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Kdird,

    You have a perfectly valid reason and your wife’s blessing to get a new mandolin. Those stars don’t line up in the universe very often. The money can be found. Get thee to the mandolin store! For Chrissake!

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    I'm pretty sure these were butt joints involving 2 dowels, maybe 3 if they were feeling generous
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies. I can see why people recommended this community!

    After reading all the answers and doing some thinking, it seems that any repair would be at best temporary and carry some risk of permanently breaking the neck (risk amplified by my complete inexperience). As much as I like the little thing, I may agree with Ed McGarrigle's suggestion and try to get myself a new mandolin for Christmas...

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Not sure if it's been mentioned above, but a strap button with an extra long screw through it would probably do the trick - check your local hardware store for supplies of suitably long screws to replace the one that comes with the button. And no, not worth spending money on.

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    Not sure if it's been mentioned above, but a strap button with an extra long screw through it would probably do the trick - check your local hardware store for supplies of suitably long screws to replace the one that comes with the button. And no, not worth spending money on.
    I was posting just that suggestion with strap button but Tavy was faster. I would go for CA glue if the crack is relatively tight but good screw would hold well even without glue. Use screw with bare neck so it will naturally tighten the joint and predrill the hole in the neck larger thna threads so they will only thread into the neck block inside.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Take off the strings give the crack som CA thin glue, it will wick into all small crevices as no other glue. Force the neck down, wait 24 hours.

    A screw will also do, on a low value ukulele. Drill first.
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a new mandolin to play and an old one to experiment with repair techniques? You could end up with two usable ones (always good), or have something in hand to practice with in case something goes wrong. Seems like a 2nd mando is a win-win outcome.
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  16. #14

    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    A machine screw with a nut and washer inside is safer than a wood screw, which might split the heel. Drill through about 1/3 up from the bottom of the heel.

    Glue almost certainly won't do much to help unless you remove the neck and redo the joint.

  17. #15
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfChris View Post
    Glue almost certainly won't do much to help unless you remove the neck and redo the joint.
    Don't even think about resetting the neck. You'll likely find a mess of filler/glue in a roughly cut mortise barely holding it together, redoing would be painful. Just use the screw and some glue.
    Adrian

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    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Gretsch did this on just about all there instruments. Then put a plug over top. I agree with a strap pin and long screw. Get lots of play time out of it.

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Wouldn't it be nice to have a new mandolin to play and an old one to experiment with repair techniques? You could end up with two usable ones (always good), or have something in hand to practice with in case something goes wrong. Seems like a 2nd mando is a win-win outcome.
    I have to confess that I recently paid to have the very same repair on. 38 year old Washburn. It held sentimental value as when it was new, it was a wedding present from my wife. Also, I had already replaced the nut, bridge and tail piece, so what the heck…

    But 2 years ago, as I was finally getting serious about learning to play and seeing the neck problem developing, I did treat myself to a Northfield Calhoun, with which I could not be happier and keep the Washburn at the office for those free moments to practice/play. So, what Sue said and a second mando never hurt anyone

  20. #18

    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    All of the above, plus-
    The neck might be presently stable and need nothing if the bridge can handle the adjustment.
    Ancient Regals and others that are considered worthwhile still need frequently need hardware just like this. No shame.
    If the neck is loose enough to move by hand, and I knew it was dowels or a straight-sided tenon, I’d probably just pry the thing off and glue it back on better, with or without hardware.
    For many folks, taking tools to a mandolin is inhibiting and scary; even just pilot drilling for a wood screw. No shame there either.

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Ed McGarrigle I am in a similar situation, my wife "loaned" me this mandolin in our early dating days so I could practice, and I never really returned it (I guess it does not matter since we are married now :-) ). So I have a hard time parting from it. I may follow Sue Rieter advice and use this as a "repair practice instrument" if I manage to acquire another mandolin.

    Beginner question for those suggesting a strap pin w/ a long screw: are you talking about installing it at 45 degrees on the underside of the neck (like on an acoustic guitar, e.g. https://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare...p-Button.png)? Or straight into the back of the neck heel into the body?

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Straight into the neck heel so it goes into the neck block.
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Straight into the neck heel so it goes into the neck block.
    That, some 1/2" below the bottom of heel. You'll need screw around 2 1/2" long.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Hey kdlrd! I am the one on Reddit that suggested you post here. Welcome to the Cafe.
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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Hi haggardphunk, that was a great suggestion, thanks! I got lots of useful advice. Glad to be here!

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    (alligator dentistry alert!) another candidate for a marine-weld epoxy job. if you do it right, the neck will never come off ever again. if you do it wrong, it will be wrong forever, and you will make a mess of the mandolin, and of your work table and also you will poison yourself. a moon shot job (only one chance to get it right).

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    Default Re: Neck heel crack repair on beater mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocello8 View Post
    (alligator dentistry alert!) another candidate for a marine-weld epoxy job. if you do it right, the neck will never come off ever again. if you do it wrong, it will be wrong forever, and you will make a mess of the mandolin, and of your work table and also you will poison yourself. a moon shot job (only one chance to get it right).
    Thanks for the advice, I will look into epoxy (I may actually have some around). The difference is that the people sending rockets to the moon knew what they were doing, while I don't

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