Gibson A4 heel crack advice needed on best way to repair

I recently picked up a Gibson A4 cheaply. Serial number is unreadable but factory order number is 11120 making it about 1918.

The neck looks original but it has unusual neck wear, possibly from a strap and it has a very tight heel crack.

Can anyone advise me on the best way to repair this heel crack. The crack is probably old and appears to be very tight. Is there any way that I could get glue into the crack without dismantling the neck. I thought of possibly drilling some tiny holes (about 4 or 5) into the crack and then to try and inject Titebond into the holes with a syringe and needle. Do you think this might work? I was worried that the glue might not penetrate or that as the surface of the wood inside the crack has been exposed for some considerable time the glue might not boond well.

Many thanks Mike

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If it were mine, and I didn't want to disassembly it, I would leave it alone. It appears that years of gunk have invaded the crack and going through trying to clean it out and drip/squirt/rub/flood/drill glue down into it would only give one the illusion of stability. May not be pretty, but neither are most attempts to fill it. Just my opinion.

If it were my Mandolin I would mask it real close to the crack on ether side and try and run some CA in then wipe it AND TAKE THE MASKING  off real quick..


Then sand it off smothe and color the heal black P.S it looks to me that it already has been repaired.Bill....

If it were mine.... ;) but it's not but nevertheless... I once read about a repair that a very well known Luthier did where he injected very hot water in the crack and then injected HHG.  The claim was that by prewetting and preheating the inside of the crack the HHG would wick in there better.

Again I have not vetted this technique myself and this one may be too closed to do this anyway but one could, if they wished, using scrap do a dry or wet run and see if there is any validity to the idea that prewetting and preheating a crack encourages HHG to wick inward.

If you can't get in there to inject anything and it's that tight this technique is likely not applicable.

What does it look like under tension?

Looking at the pictures, it appears to me that there is/has been another break about 3/4 in. from the tip of the heel too.  If this is true and it hasn't been fixed either AND the crack in question doesn't open up under tension, I would consider pulling the neck to get it all back together before it starts shifting. 

I know it would be a lot of work but not nearly as much as it would be if things start to move and the edges of the parts start to get damaged.  Just my two cents.

Unless there was movement under tension, I would let it be. You probably aren't going to make it look any better at this point.

If there is movement - ugh, I dunno. I guess it would be full dis-assembly, cleaning, and reglue time.

And be thankful some handy person hasn't dropped a drywall screw through that heel to fix things up. I REALLY hate fixing that kind of stuff.

Thank you all for your helpful comments. I would welcome any more thoughts.


The mandolin is just as I got it. For once I thought I'd ask for advice before diving in. I think the first thing I'll do is to very carefully clean it (damp cloth with washing up liquid). Bill - maybe then I can see if there's glue already in the crack.


Ned, luckily there isn't another crack, but here is very unusual neck wear probably for a leather strap. Also the rest of the mando seems fine, except I need to glue the top brace, which is just starting to come away on one side (will use the method described on the website)


Hesh I'm a great fan of hide glue, the hot water suggestion could work. I wouldn't usually use Titebond for a joint under tension however I was considering it as it would penetrate better.


Glen and Mark. As a first step (after glueing the top brace will be to string it up with some old strings to get it under tension - if there's movement then something has to be done. I've repaired a few Gibson A's before and have stripped out and replaced a neck - so I could do this - but it's a lot of work.


Oh well Winters coming so it's something to keep me busy.


Cheers Mike

It's probably already been done(glued) and if no crack creep since you've had it I'd wait til' it opens up to go at it!Or put it under extreme tension to quickly test crackstrength..I go w/the if it ain't broke leave it alone crowd.


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