This is a guitar that I bought at an outdoor antique show. I believe it may be a Washburn, because of the truncated pyramids on the ebony bridge. It also has an ink stamped serial number, 6317, on the neck block, but no other label or stamp. The bridge pins are bone, with black dots, and there was an ivory end pin. In contrast, the fingerboard is dyed maple.
When I bought it the bridge was coming up and taking some top wood with it. The strings were still on it and the side was cracked. I suspect it had been in this condition for a long time, because the crack in the side had separated at the upper bout, and at the lower bout, but was overlapping at the waist. It seems as though the crack was pulled into this configuration by the string tension.
I have tried to ease the edges of the crack back together, but it just doesn't want to go.
Any ideas? Am I going to have to move it gradually back over the next 10 years, or is there some other approach?
Well, it has been 2 years of gradual tweaking, plastic garbage bag, and humidity. Every month or so I would give a small turn to the spool clamps. As the crack in the upper and lower bouts came closer together, it became apparent that that the sides were not lining up vertically. Made up some of the Don Teeter tuner type clamps, and again with slow turns of the tuners, the sides are now fairly close. I may leave it like this for a couple more months before seeing how close it remains with all the clamps off.
Nice work!....Certainly a LOT of patience!!...Pretty guitar! I hope to see it work out for you!
Tuner clamps.....Love those things. Nice job so far.
Thanks a TON for reviving this post - I've been trying to figure out how to deal with a similar crack, and now I can actually visualize how to clamp that sucker. I'll try to take fewer than two years, though. :)
Hey Guys, Thanks for the encouragement. Fortunately I've had a lot of other projects to keep me occupied during the past two years. Will post back again when I have it up and playing. Parenthetically, does anyone have any ideas why this fairly fancy Brazilian rosewood guitar would have a dyed maple fingerboard? I have speculated that it may have been made during the WW1 years, when the ebony might not have been as available.
George, Dyed fingerboards were not uncommon from the turn of the century, especially on lower end models like this one. I redid the fretboard on a 1906 Gibson last year that was a paper thin veneer of ebony over maple. Ebony must have been an expensive wood in those days (whats changed?).
George, We tend to think of Brazilian Rosewood as very rare wood, used only on the most expensive guitars but it seems that 100 years ago that was not so much the case. I think it was not usually used on low end instruments but it seem that it didn't have the rarity it has today so was often used on instruments with less quality than we would today.
Eric and Ned, Thanks for the information. I don't mean to drag this thread out, but would you re-dye the fingerboard, or leave it in as-found condition?
That would depend on what you want for aesthetics George. From what I have read that you posted in the thread so far, I would say that I think you would be quite happy with a completely black fingerboard. But, beware that it is quite likely that all the finge roils deposited in the last 100 years may prevent it from taking.
I gotta say, this is a pretty amazing project, and I am so glad that you showed it to all of us!