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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 The jig, all toll, took around 10 hours for me to build . It's difficult doing something like this from photos, and no plans. I had to build templates for some of it too out of appropriate thickness wood, and the plexiglass was a pain, but necessary. The whole thing is incredibly unwieldily, and super heavy on the business end. 

 If I had to do this over, the only real change would be the way I mounted  the two bolts at the end of the headstock through plexiglass that was welded on. I would certainly use wood next time instead of plexi.


Also the top piece that has the black leather on it has channels cut underneath for the bolt heads to hide under, and several places for the bolts to go through, so I can do both mandos, such as the Kentucky pictured, and guitar necks too. 

 Here is the entire Facebook Photoessay and it explains in detail what is here.


Looks pretty good Kerry. When this thread began I immediately thought of those Lee Valley cam clamps! They have some other jig hardware that would be useful too, but those cam clamps were the crux of what I had envisioned for the height and tilt function. Do you find they give plenty of clamping forced to keep things rigid?

Also in your photoessay, you state that the lower clamp provides the height adjustment and the upper the tilt adjustment. Does the upper clamp simply tighten the tube thing against the projection under the table to lock the tilt in place?

Also I would be interested to know why you deem the plexiglass a necessity. I can think of reasons but Id like to know yours. And how did you 'weld' the plexiglass components together?

 Andrew, about  the upper cam clamp,... It's like this. The cut out in the aluminum tube to accept the plexi half teardrop insert that is welded on the bottom of the plate is quite tight to start off with. What I did was just below the section that was cut out, I bandsawed the tube down it's centre for a few inches, so the cam clap would be able to have something to actually flex, otherwise it would certainly have done nothing. 

  I have welded plexi many times, and is becoming easier with experience. I have  to have a temporary jig set up usually involving the 100% flat tablesaw and fence, with whatever else is needed to get a perfect 90' flat fit.  All that is required is gloves, and acetone. Coat both sides and make sure that both sides are still wet when they are put together.

You only have a 15 seconds before they stick permanently, so a dry fit with all clamps already set to length is 100% necessary. 

 I have done several of my jigs with laminated plexi, and it is simple to work with, and yields half decent results.

As far as using the plexi at all for this particular application, laminating the two pieces together was, I thought necessary for the function, and the weight aspect of doing this was not on my mind at all. I had to do it or the the toggle clamp holes would not have had any strength at all.  

 In retrospect, David had this 100$ correct using the aluminum plate, and I just should have used it instead.

   Also, just so you know at this point, I have not repaired any headstocks yet, but am finding some tweaks that need to be done to  get this thing into being a perfect machine, with absolutely no 'slop'. 

  At this point, I am not happier than not that I used plexi as opposed to the aluminum plate that David Collins used in his original jig. Plate aluminum up here in Northern BC is incredibly expensive, and although I had some from a previous jig, I chose to use reserve it for future jig considerations. It was a mistake.

  Another one of the biggest mistakes was that in planing stage, I was convinced that I had two inch square aluminum tubing, and it was not until way late in the jig building that I found out all I had was 1 1/2 inch.

It is too small for this application, and I just should have bought an 8 foot length of two inch tubing, so I can have it for future projects. 

 Does that cover all of it? Do you need more photos of anything?

Covers everything I can think of at the moment, but I something occurs to me Ill ask most assuredly. That plexi welding trick should save me some superglue...

I expect that if I make this jig in the near future, Ill also have to go the plexi route. The weight wouldnt bother me too much I dont think, as long as its strong enough. But Ill have lots of time to think it over I expect. Ill probably end up waiting until that squirrely broken headstock comes along to get moving on this.

Is there a space between the plate and the neck rest or do you have to remove the nut? If a space, is the space adjustable?

I noticed the lateral adjustments on Frank's plate which I think is a great idea because I know from personal experience that wood will move in unexpected directions when clamped. I'm wondering if perhaps a clamping procedure could reduce the need for the lateral adjusters.

BTW, I take it this is 1/2" plexi? What are the actual dimensions of the plate?

Great work - there's always a learning curve and refinements to making the most of any jig, and I hope it works out well for you!

Robbie, on my jig there is a gap for the nut, and yes it is adjustable by sliding the sled that the fingerboard clamps on to toward or away from the headstock. As to the lateral pressure, that is why I used two separate end clamps. By adjusting these in final clamping you can easily make adjustments to the side-side tilt or pressure on the joint.

 Robbie, I laminated two pieces of new 3/8 ths inch plexi  for this job. If the plexi had not been so thick, the bolts going through it would not have had enough purchase when  under pressure, and would have started cracking the plastic.

 As I said earlier, the jig is incredibly  out of balance, with the plexi + hardware being almost double the weight of the other end. As such  it has to be set up carefully as it is incredibly awkward right now. Maybe I will figure that out.

  I am not good at doing all these detail things without wrecking 'finished parts', and I am certainly not as accomplished at this as some of you are. I am sure many of you will find better solutions for problems encountered than I did.  Just looking at my work right now, I can see a few things that would not be hard to improve on if you have a better education in manufacturing parts than I do. 

Robbie,   the leather covered sled is easily moveable back and forth also, to accommodate the nut.

 I did a rebuild of certain parts yesterday too to fix some problems.

I replaced one of the 2X4s with a 2X6,  in an effort to get the aluminum tube to stop being able to pivot  on the anchor bolt. It worked a charm after I used bee's wax on the three wooden surfaces that surround the aluminum tubing.


 I will post a pic sometime today.


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