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Apologies for starting another thread about end block cracks. I managed to derail the old one with too many questions, so I decided to start a new thread.

My Guild F30's end block is cracked, along with a crack on the outside, of course. It's what seems to be a classic example of this type of crack, as shown here. Frank's page is very clear, however, I'm not sure how you glue the outside.

It seems like both sides need to be done at the same time. The procedure I'm thinking of would be to get titebond on the crack from the inside, the brush some hot hide glue on the outside. Clamp the top and bottom above the crack, then clamp the crack from the inside out, as shown in this picture:

The only thing I'm worried about is that I'm first clamping the top and back, and I feel like I would need them to be able to "bend" in order to clamp the end block properly.

What's the proper way of gluing and clamping the outside crack?
 

(To be clear, when I say inside I mean this, and by outside I mean this)

Thanks!

-Eliya

P.S. I was at Gryphon last week for the first time. Great store!

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In the corse of repairing any Insturment you just have to keep trying all sorts of things as a dry run untill you get the one that works for that repair. There are very few repairs that take the same aproch. A  good repair person wiil have a problem telling you how to fix that repair with out having the Guitar in his or her hand. I wish you  the best of luck with your repairs.

The main thing in this repair is to get the block glued the best you can. The outside crack is just cosmetic, and superglue or lacquer touchup will do the best on that, or don't do anything is fine.

How do you learn to do repairs? I learned by reading as much on the subject as possible, by those that have done the repair before. Now days there are a number of great text's on instrument repairs. Then there is the internet, with great repair advise, like Frets.com.

As far as information off sites like this, I'd take with a grain of salt. I'd say there is a lot of mis-information off sites like this.

If you have woodworking knowledge, patience, and a mind that can solve problems, then you can do repair work.

Just thinking a repair through, many times you come up with your own solutions and ideas, and it may be a way that is different than what others do but works fine for you.

Note: I am not a professional in instrument repairs, but had a totally different job that I am now retired from.

Jim  

Eliya, I brought up your previous thread not to shoo you away from the forum but out of concern for you and your guitar. I am sure most here have repairs, done early on, that make them cringe when looking back. I do. In addition, "best practices" are constantly evolving, ( much faster with the advent of forums like this). I appreciate your determination. My warning about this repair was to possibly steer your determination away from a "cringable?" moment.

You clearly have patience, so here are a couple of more ideas to consider.

Even If you use Johns method of ,"hinging?" the block outward to make it straight, you still need to clamp it top to back in addition. I think in Frank Fords description of this repair he skips a picture of this step because it is to be taken for granted.

You mentioned," figuring out how to clean out old glue". That's the problem. There is no practical way of doing it. That is why we use hide glue when we can. Franks repair is on clean wood. Not previously glued. Even if it was dropped again, between the reinforcement patch, and the clean crack glue, it is unlikely the block would split long the glue line necessitating cleaning out the old glue.  Please read carefully what has been written about glue types. Irreversible glue messes are one of the most frustrating things in lutherie.

If you can find a busted guitar that does not have a plywood end block, just drive a big 'ol endpin in with a hammer and you should have a perfect cadaver to work on. They can be found by the dozen on EBay.

Maybe the best idea is to just leave it for now. Make a careful note of where the crack on the outside ends and just check on it from time to time. It will always be there for you to fix if the crack starts growing. Just be careful if your hanging a strap on the pin when you play, that you know what's going on.

Russel,

I appreciate you having my back.

 I was reading the thread casually and saw the picture w/ the glue smear and no one was bringing it up.  I thought I would take a minute or two and point out what for me might be a game changer. Like others before me, I find myself drawn into a much longer discussion. I have received a tremendous amount of knowledge from others on forums and feel some obligation to give a little back when I can.

I think the process is pretty natural and the only practical way for it to work, will always rely on my self discipline to decide how much time I have to give. If I take more time than I planned on a subject, I just find myself  standing on the sidelines for a while, grateful to others for helping a beginner while I watch. So far, everyone just giving what they can has kept us all learning. I encourage every one to help out where they can, not just with the things that interest them. 

John,

I know what your saying.

It feels like musical chairs. Fewer and fewer ways to make it as a luthier. It pisses me off sometimes. Repairing anything in our culture seems to be going the way of the Edsel,  to say nothing of the general lack of understanding and appreciation for hand skills. Unfortunately I don't know the solution to this except to keep struggling myself.   When I said, "work out a deal with a luthier" I did not mean to imply  the luthier should get nothing out of it or feel obligated in any way. 

This long post maybe just a way of putting off a bow re-hair.

Sorry

Thanks again David for your reply.

Once I figure out how to clean the glue or what glue to use, my plan is to use a reinforcement block on the inside. Then clamp the block (with reinforcement) inside-out, and add a couple of clamps to clamp the block vertically, i.e. top to back. I think the previous repair wasn't done by a professional, or s/he would have added a reinforcement block and would have attempted to tend to the outside cracks. Maybe I'm wrong, but either way, their repair didn't take since the crack is still open.

The problem is, indeed, figuring out how to clean out the glue. From what I understand, you can use hide glue over previous glue only if that glue was hide glue also, correct? If that's true, then the only way to reglue this block would be to remove the top or back, then remove the block, clean the glue, glue the crack, then glue the block back to the sides? Of course, this isn't a repair I'll attempt myself! But I'm wondering what are the options now that we know a previous repair was attempted.

I've been looking for a cheap beater to practice different kinds of repairs on, but it feels silly to buy a guitar only to break it and try to fix it. I know it's a necessary investment, though. Do you know which brands/models have a non-plywood end blocks?

And again, thank you!

P.S. I'm in the Chicago area if any luthiers want to take on an unpaid apprentice.

Thanks, Ned, but you don't need to apologize. I did my due diligence, but since I'm a beginner, that wasn't enough. While I understand how to perform the "meat" of the repair, there are little things I wasn't aware of. For instance, I noticed the glue smears before, but thought nothing of them because the crack was still open. Luckily, David pointed them out, and we had a little discussion about how I won't be able to glue the block with a different kind of glue on top of the existing one. (FWIW, tomorrow I plan to cover the guitar with wax paper and reach in there with some acetone and see if I can remove the superglue. Or maybe I'll discover it's a different type of glue).

As far as getting experience - I'd love to hear how people fell into this field.

Eliya

 Seems that I need to apologize to you again since I deleted the post I made because I though I may have said some things that were uncalled for.

 

I'm glad you feel good about your preparation, I think you should. Everyone misses things even with lots of experience. I think the most important  point that beginners have to learn is just how important the details are and how quickly a detail they are unaware of can wreck a project.  In some ways, that's actually part of the fun I have with my hobby. I love figuring out how to manage or avoid the "gotchas"  in a repair.  I had to learn that perfection maybe the goal but you're not going to find it.  Frank and others have mentioned  the concept of "reversibility".  I've formed the habit of making this a part of what I do as much as I can and I've saved myself from disaster more than once because I did.  Doesn't always work but it a good habit.

What I removed in the other post was, I felt,  a bit too likely to be seen as objectionable by some people.  I don't like the undercurrent I feel came into some of the posting but I also don't want to overreact. That said, I would also like to know what avenue the other's see for entry into the trade.  

Many if not most of the luthier repairmen I know made their way into repair and building by their boot straps.  I don't know of any trade school which delivers the experience that some of our fellow poster appear to require.  I don't think it's a good thing to start taking on jobs to get experience as opposed to taking on job because they have experience but I can see the frustration in people wanting to enter the trade only to find that there is a huge "Catch 22" situation in the way.  

 In your personal case, you are willing to work for nothing to get exposure to the trade and no one is interested.

 Now I understand that it's not to simple for a business to take on someone like that these days. It's probably not even legal for them to allow you to "work" without pay and that doesn't even consider the liability they may take on just by having you around in the shop BUT it all still begs the question; how do you get started?

Maybe someone has an answer. 

Well said Ned.

Yeah, it definitely has Catch-22 sense to it. We'll hire you if you have the experience, but how do you get the experience in a credible way? Everyone can work on their guitars at home, but that doesn't tell a repair shop what the applicant knows or doesn't know.

It seems like one of the best ways to learn this craft is by going to a luthiery school. Luthiery school isn't for me at this point, for several different reasons. However, one of the main reasons is that I don't have enough experience. What I mean by that is that I want to see and do more repairs before I commit to going to a professional school for 6 months to learn how to fix and build guitars. Maybe I'll get tired of the whole thing after doing a couple of refrets and 2-3 neck resets? I honestly don't know, and I'd rather be cautious about it than spend the time and money. So far my very limited experience with guitar repair left me wanting more, and I'm happy to repeat work that I've already done. However, I can't tell if that excitement (or should I say passion?) will wear out soon.

As far as the legality, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really know. However, I know that interning and apprenticing for free isn't an idea I came up with. It's something that is very common in recording, and that's how a lot of studios get interns. In fact, during my last semester in college I interned at a studio (January-June 2014). Granted, my internship counted for class credit, and the studio is fantastic and has many ways in which it compensates its interns. But nevertheless, I was there to help around with the crappy tasks no one is too happy to do, and also to learn and ask questions, and I wasn't paid money for it. I'd like to think that similar situations exist in luthiery. Of course, I also understand that letting a stranger in your shop isn't an easy thing to do. So there's that.

Like Ned, I'd love to hear what answers and ideas some of the professionals here have.

Hello All,

How does one get started in Luthiery (these days)?

Firstly, I would situate the question into reality:  

I accept the anecdotal and actual evidence that  many luthiers are struggling in these austere times and that professional shops which pay rent and business overheads (tax for instance) are under stress.

Every well meaning soul  with access to YouTube who has a kitchen table, a hammer and a file thinks that he is a luthier  and enjoys working for nothing (if they do not need to earn a living).

The availability of cheap throwaway instruments from Asia and the glut of both cheap and expensive instruments on the world markets and online sites in the current economic climate has made "replacement" a more viable option than "repair" in many cases.

The cost of employing people is high as is the cost of training people "in house" for single person operations as describes a lot of small luthiery businesses.  

When you are training someone you are losing money at your hourly rate, when you are checking and correcting and doing QA you are also losing money at the hourly rate. You also need to pay an apprentice so you can figure that amount into your hourly loss rate as well.

It takes years to fully train an apprentice.

If you invest all this time and money into training someone and do the job well, they will possibly leave as soon as they can, take your customer list with them and compete in the general vicinity. You will therefore not get back your investment, lose work and feel disinclined to repeat the process.

Business does not hire untrained staff, neither do technical and trades businesses - they hire the most fully trained and qualified individual they can and then overlay specific training as required to make money immediately.

My short answer to "how do you get started" is that you save up as much money as you can, do an accredited luthiery course and apply for a job as an apprentice with a successful repair shop or guitar builder .   The second option is to do a luthiery course and then apply to work as an intern.

The rules of business apply to Luthiery just the same as any other trade.   If you are not in business or just love what you do  and will work for the pleasure, the aforesaid advice is not for you.  If on the other hand you wish to start a career and remain in that career, this advice may prove useful.

Regards,

Rusty.

 

I'd like to start with saying I'm not being antagonistic this is math.
If you've been repairing guitars for twenty to thirty years you're most likely very good at it, the average, mediocre and pretty good, only lasted let's say five to ten years. You learned from a handful of books and by working on your own guitars. I learned a lot from tradesman and hobbyists that had nothing to do with guitar repairs.
So back to the math. Working for free isn't a very good deal. You're basically saying I have nothing to offer you but labor for your years of skill and experience. And as soon as I get tired of working for free I'm going to go out on my own and tell everyone that you trained me.

When I had a store, I had a chalkboard in my office, at the top it said "Don't come to me with problems, come to me with solutions" I'll take my own advice Need suggestion and say this. If you want to learn something from someone you have to offer them something of equal or greater value. When I worked for Joe at Lado guitars it was because I was already good with guitar electronics, meaning I soldered very well and a control cavity was so tidy it looked text book. This had more to do with attention to detail than it did with experience and skill. Still I worked for him every Friday for a couple of years and learned a ton. The skill you offer doesn't have to be guitar related. Marketing, accounting, car repairs anything they can't do or don't want to do is more valuable than free labor.

I'll leave you with this, guitar repairs is really about troubleshooting and problem solving. A month ago I helped an eighty year old man fix the ignition system on the airplane he just built using the same basic troubleshooting skills I use to repair guitars. It sounds more impressive than it is but it makes my point.

A cracked end block is not a common repair but it requires the same thing every other repair requires, a solution that will make you money and the execution of that solution. Glue a piece of wood across the crack on the endblock put strings on it and get it out the door.

One other thing, I should at least get a nod for mcgivering a spool clamp into a spreader and a clamp.

Hi John,

I think you have pretty much described a place we have all been or still occupy.   As the dude in Die Hard says "feeling a little unappreciated here"  ....we all know that one too.    

 

That was supposed to read "my own advice and Neds suggestion" my intent was to present a problem, a solution, some advice and a sense of humor. I don't feel unappreciated at all, I made a point of not going all Four Yorkshiremen about it.

The bottom line is I've got customers that have been coming to me for twenty years and they still like me. I just don't like losing the easy money to someone that charges free or nothing. That's fair and not grumpy and I think I made some good suggestions for getting started in guitar repairs.

If the Four Yorkshiremen sketch is unfamiliar to you, YouTube it, it's very funny.

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