Hello all! Once again, I have a repair to pick the "collective" brain about. It is a crazy peghead split on a Martin HD28. I think it fell from a wall-hanger mount.

Hopefully, I can get pictures up.

What are your opinions about repairing this type of peghead split?

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I have some skills. Is this a fairly 'normal' repair? Should I refer it to Martin? Need some 'direction'. Have more pictures.

Thanks, Rod

I don't see much beyond a neck splice ..rather bizarre split. If you were to brave a repair, I'd get those strings off mighty quick as the break looks clean in it's awkwardness. Ever so gently remove the tuners, get some highest strength hide glue piping hot, heat the break area, apply ample hot glue and just clamp the headstock in from the sides. Cutting a couple of cauls shapped to the peghead  and clamping it flat top to back can't hurt. Being such a bizarre break, I don't know that it'd hold and I think a splice is really your only option but if you like to roll the dice, I'd only trust hide since the break looks clean and creep is minimal. If you want to get messy after clamping, you could run small carbon rods into the headstock or consider splines but in that case, I think a fresh, complete splice is a better option.

Best wishes,


That break is strangely beautiful.
Honestly, if you can get it all to fit back together tight and clean without struggling against overlapping fibers, that should be a very basic repair. Glue, touchup, no need for reinforcement at all.

The catch is going to be whether if will fit neatly back together without removing the veneer, if overlapping fibers need to be slid to engage from a different angle. Then you're faced with a lot more work, touchup, and of course dealing with the decal issue.

Structurally I see no concerns. The joints are not likely to be prone to threatening stress unless it gets run over again in an extremely odd way in the future (how on earth did this happen anyway??). Your challenges with this break I feel would be mostly cosmetic.
I tend to agree with this, assuming the use of hide glue, because the break angle presents enough long grain it seems. Splines would help add strength to a degree, but I have to wonder how much, especially with the broken portion along the length. A back strap/plate would probably give the best reinforcement. In either of those cases though, you'll have to negotiate the volute if you were to run the splines or strap into the neck, which would be ideal.

And yes, this break is rather interesting looking. I kinda want to print and frame it lol.

I just see possible issues with it coming together nicely with the various breaks. If the headstock was split outside of the tuners, I'd be less worried about that split but it's up through the middle of the headstock and actally runs up to the G and B..under the tuner of the B in fact. As photo 2412 shows, the faceplate is split and folded over itself. I'd be cautious about the certainty of this break closing well. Hide glue does not like gaps. A snug fit and appropriate clamping pressure are going to be pretty key.

Best wishes,

Doc :-)

The issue for me is that the break has occurred at the break angle of the nut, which also happens to be the weakest point of the entire neck, and continues through the full length of the headstock. It broke clean through to the weakest area of the neck at both extremities of the volute. Putting it back together as cleanly as it broke will be paramount for the non-invasive repair of gluing it back together. So will the geometry of the overall state of the instrument. If the neck needs a reset, it will be pulling greater at that break angle of the nut.

Being such a strange break and in its particular area of break I simply do not know if glue, using all precautions, would hold. I think I'd ty it...but with no guarantees and a strong set of goggles when I tuned up...

Doc :-)

Thanks everyone, for the comments. I carefully removed the tuners today and applied some pressure to semi-close the split. Yes, it seems that the facehead of the peghead is a hinge to the split. It will require clamping in two directions. It seemed to close fairly neatly with hand pressure in both directions.The split and splinters lined up pretty well. There IS quite a bit of "spring back" after pressure is released.

I feel like it will take a lot of cauls and clamps in both directions to close it up properly. Makes me nervous when time and heat needs to be optimal. I have Behlens hide glue flakes that I have used before on repairs. I like hot hide glue. However, would anyone suggest using one of the Titebond glues in this instance?

Going to put up some more pictures(pre tuner removal), in case anything else is revealed. I am a little nervous about getting this right the 1st time....

However, I 'feel' that I can do it.


Hide is less likely to creep than aliphatic glues...but it needs that smooth gluing surface (faces meeting perfetly) for wanted results...

Best wishes,


If you can close the crack neatly with reasonable hand pressure it should be no problem for glue to hold. But you want that break to close up perfectly if at all possible, so youll have to define 'pretty good' for us. You could use titebond original, but creep is a serious concern in this location. You should have lots of time with hide glue if you warm things up with a hair dryer first. I also use a desk lamp sometimes but be careful about the distance, even plain old incandescent bulbs can blister a finish pretty quick if you get too close. Just take your time figuring out the best clamping arrangement and making cauls, then do dry runs (chuckle) until you can close things up fairly quick with no fumbling. Id review Frank's broken headstocks section on for ideas.

That's the coolest headstock crack I've ever seen. Picasso cubism!

All long grain split so it should be bomber if it comes together initially. A supper stiff caul that has a cut-out to hop over the volute looks like it might be helpful.

agreed on the caul,David


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