Hello Mentors! 

I have in my shop for repair a 1976 D-18 that has been dropped on the back end.  A portion of the back has come away from the kerfing, and there is a decent crack in the back below:

My question is how to start? 

The binding is all intact and blocking me from cleaning/gluing the kerfing joint.  It is slightly smashed in where I assume the guitar landed (pic #2), and that is preventing the back from setting down all the way in that area...same with the crack.

My first thought was to cut through a spot on the binding, peel it back, repair the damage, and then reglue the binding with finish touch up to follow. 

My second thought was to try and work some titebond (possibly diluted a bit) down into the damaged areas and then go from there, but something doesn't feel quite right about that, especially considering that the back doesn't seat down into its place perfectly in two spots...although some clamping pressure may take care of that.

I could sure use some advice...



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It sounds like there are misaligned splinters of kerfing. Try using a palette knife from inside to clean the gluing surfaces and see if you can get the back to seat down better. If it won't I'd pull the binding away in that area and clean it from the outside. It means a little more touchup.

Thanks for the reply.  I will do a little exploratory probing with the pallete knife.  I wonder if anyone else concurs or has other advice?

As a point of interest, this is an outstanding sounding guitar.  Loud, clear and responsive.  Still on its original owner!

I'd follow Greg's advice. Make darn sure everything fits right and sits as it should before getting anywhere near the guitar with glue! Also, this repair may require an excess of your patience but it's worth not rushing.

Good luck! 

The palette knife is a good idea. Get some good light and mirrors in there. Occasionally ill cut up some really thin tin, like from a cookie tin or something, and shape it into a hook to pull out debris. After that id get another piece of tin or the palette knife and put some adhesive backed sandpaper on it to sand the joint surfaces. Clean it out, check the fit, sand it check the fit, check the fit again. Repeat until it all closes up nicely. A glue syringe would be useful when you get to that point. As far as the crushed wood, im not too sure.

Attempting to get in and clear any splinters is certainly a good idea. I am assuming you've got a mirror and inspection light and that should give you some idea what if anything is going on from the inside. I have two thoughts about getting the displaced parts to realign: 

1. Sometimes I have found that when there are no splinters or other bits of wood preventing parts from coming together, especially when a side and back panel are mialigned, it can help to lift the panel just a hair with, ideally, a scissors jack. Once separated you can sometimes push the displaced part back into line and then lower the jack. I'm no shill for Stewart-Macdonald but I swear that their  "scissor jack" is the perfect tool for this operation, with its long extension cable ( costs $'s , but I use it all the time).

2. Sometimes the lifting alone doesn't do it, especially with separations low down on the bout, and in these situations I get a dowel ( say 1/2" thick  & 8-10" long) and reach in and push the side out gently while pushing the displaced panel back into place.

Good luck-

Steve Carmody


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