Headstock repair jig that I would LOVE to get the plans for!

  •  Have a quick look at this vid. The maker is A2 Guitars,(I have no clue!) but is articulate here, gives terrific detailed description, and I am positive this person probably has a ton more jigs at his shop. I invited him to come over and post on this Forum too. I hope he joins, as people with as much instrument repair experience as this gent has, would be a welcome addition here. Anyone know whi the Gent is? 
  • A2 guitars repair jig

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That is a well thought out jig .You should not have to much troble copying that Kerry.Iam sure we all thank Mr. Collins for shareing it with each one of use.Bill.......

Hesh, are there other machines that you two have designed that we should see?

I went out today and bought the toggle clamps, and am drawing up plans right now.  

Kerry, If you look at the first picture Robert posted of David Collins'  jig you can see a couple of handles under the aluminum plate which appear to facilitate adjustments. The silver one on  the front seems to lock vertical movement of the plate while the black handle on the side appears to deal  with tilt.  This is the most secure head stock glue up jig I've ever seen and I can see where it would be wonderful for scarf joint glue up too. 

Thanks for the kind words and compliments on this tool. Like any jig though, it was simply born out of necessity, and frustrations and failures of previous approaches. I don't have any other images on hand to share right now, but I think you can probably get the gist of it from the video and the other images already posted by others.

There are no plans or drawings, as that's simply not how I work - I've not been gifted with the skills of fluently abstracting between 2D and 3D. I thoroughly develop a concept in my head, then make adjustments and refinements in tangible form as I start to build it. In other words, I start with a loose idea and make it up as I go along, probably not too different from most others.

Something to consider is that I made this from what I had lying around, and with the fairly minimal tools in my basement at the time - some old clamps, random pieces of wood, plastic, and aluminum stock, a band saw, router, drill press and belt/disc sander. Had I had other tools or parts laying around at the time it probably would have looked quite different (certainly a lot more refined aesthetically) but achieved the same results, so there should be no reason to try and copy this tool directly. See what is available for you, and I'm sure you can come up with your own design, perhaps even with improvements I hadn't considered.

The main objectives I see are these...

1) A plate which can be adjusted to match the angle of any headstock relative to where the neck is being held, and able to be locked in position with enough rigidity to hold a stable position under clamping pressure.
2) The ability to apply good pressure over a reasonably wide and variable range to the back of the headstock.
3) The ability to apply pressure to the end of the headstock directly along it's length without flexing the joint.
4) Good visibility and access to the joint area to allow both for making observations and adjustments during the clamping process (rather than clamping blind with obscuring cauls and hoping everything goes exactly as you expect it should), as well as ease of clean up.
5) It should be easy to set up and easy to use.

That's about it. Those are the main priorities I built this around, and I'm sure others can come up with set ups just as good or better of their own design based on what resources they have. There is one minor refinement I've been considering of some add on clamps for the occasional squirrelly break with peculiar needs, but overall it works so beautifully I haven't felt compelled to refine it much. I'd be thrilled to see what ideas and layouts others may come up with though.

Thank-you for giving your consent to copy/modify your jig!!!

Just nobody copy and sell for profit, or you'll have 235 LBS of pissed off me to run from.

Laughing out loud Robert!!!

Open source lutherie. It's a virtue demonstrated better by Frank Ford than nearly anyone else. For every 'secret' or trick you share with your colleagues, you can do so in good faith that you will get back far more than you could ever give. I could share details of every jig I've ever come up with, and never come close to to matching the tricks and ideas I've learned from countless other luthiers.

Ok good to know (I guess ?). I wouldn't do it, but you'd be fine if someone made your jigs and sold them on ebay ?  

Someone on ebay makes a copy of the Erlewine "Neck-jig" and makes claims how it's superior to the one you buy from Stewmac. I find it very uncool to do that. especially when it has some qualities inferior to the stewmac tool that they *fail* to mention (jig pins zig-zagging, etc)

I'm fine with making a copy for personal use, but cranking out others tool designs for profit just isn't cool with me.

This guy selling the ebay 'Neck jig" doesn't even give a demo of his own jig in use, instead he has a link to someone using the stewmac one in his ebay ad with " to see how this jig works look at this video (link)"

More like stealing, and taking advantage of, to me, not "open source". I don't think these type of guys are sharing any innovations of their own (as if they had any of their own to share)

I made my own version of Frank's tang expanding tool for my personal use, but no way would I make more and sell them.

No, I wouldn't be okay with that at all if someone copied and sold this as a product without consulting with me first, but what can you do?

Patent it (time and money), then reengineer it for production and affordability without compromising function (more time and money), then source parts, have parts made and assembled or do this myself (the investments getting big by now without making a dime), set up arrangements for retail through a middle man or trying to become a tool dealer myself (both adding cost to the end product), then what?

Then a dozen jigs get sold in a year (because it would be too expensive to appeal to most), while most repair shops just do as I would likely do - take the principles and just decide to make their own version themselves. Then someone else comes along and copies the basic form to reproduce a cheaper version with exhorbitant claims and fundamental flaws in the function, but still undercuts me and sells more because 90% of buyers today are in love with WalMart/Amazon pricing and will buy a piece of junk for $100 over a top quality $400 tool all day long. Then you're stuck defending patents in court (patents don't protect your intellectual property unless you're willing to defend them in court), costing much more time and money.

This tool would appeal to an incredibly small market of real potential buyers, and after the investment in getting it to market, I'm just quite skeptical that I could ever keep the project in the black. I may reconsider some day if I could be convinced otherwise, but for the time being this tool has already paid for itself many many times over in my own use.

Keep it a secret, and few people will ever appreciate it until someone else comes up with the same idea independently and takes it public under their name. Share it openly and more clients will be aware of the quality I strive for, more shops might spruce up their own fixtures and save more guitars from fates of mediocre or bad repairs, and some may even come up with more improvements I hadn't thought of and reshare them which I would gladly adopt.

To make this tool solid to my satisfaction though, with small production runs I see it at least running $400-$500 to the end consumer. If there were indeed serious interest Hesh and I do have the resources at Ann Arbor Guitars where we could probably make it happen, but as you can tell, so many would likely just make their own that I don't know that we could sell enough to make it worth while.

 but what can you do?

Mmmm, I don't know, It's a funny thing, these kind of little problems that pop up like this, Ya know ?.  Soooo, maybe like a sorta Luthier's Mafia type thing ?  I'm only 1/4 Italian but we had an uncle that raked in big time during the prohibition (played cards with Al Capone's guys on Friday nights), so along those lines, maybe a more calm gentleman such as myself, given a large piece of maple or ash, perhaps, I could be, what's the term ? 'Quite persuasive' ?


David, I have about 80  instrument repair photoessays up on Facebook. I find it is one of my most satisfying things to do there, and is appreciated by many laypeople and some Luthiers too. I so enjoy doing all the photos and knitting them together... 


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