I've recently acquired a near show room clean, including hang tags, D-18 vintage 1973.  However, it had the requisite pickguard crack.  Using warm air from a hair dryer, I removed the pg safely and cleanly.  However, the crack, as seen in the photo, won't close and the pg side is actually raised up compared to the other side.  With clamping pressure I can even it out, but the gap remains.  A trusted luthier mentioned using water to 'swell' the crack closed, then glue.  Any other ideas from you'all who've probably seen zillions of these over the years?  I'd really like to get as clean a repair as possible, in keeping with the condition of the rest of the guitar.  ..check out the photo..thanks, Tom

Tags: crack, martin, pickguard

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It may not close up completely, but now that the force pulling it open has been removed, it should close up substantially. Dampen the area and let it sit for a week or two; don't be in a hurry to glue it up.

This is the #1 warranty issue I have seen in my years as a Martin warranty guy.
I do essentially the same thing as Greg suggests. However, for a bad crack or one that is curled, I wet the exposed wood liberally and then clamp it with flat cauls above and below the crack. Let it sit until dry, repeating the process unit the crack is flat and closed. I will generally use CA to glue the crack after wards because of it's ability to wick into tight places and the fact that CA doesn't care if the mating wood surfaces are fresh and clean or not. The down side of CA is that it will show a dark line and you will see the repair any place the pick guard does not cover it. Hide glue, if used, would be the least visible repair but is less tolerant of a dirty joint. Any glue mess is cleaned up and cleats are then installed below the crack.
So, dampen and clampen' until flat and as closed as it wants to go? I'll start on it..thanks for you input..Tom
Greetings again, and thanks to the sage advice offered here, the pickguard crack closed up nicely and is now glued and stable.
Here's the next issue to deal with: I heated and flattened the original, curled, pickguard, but when placed in it's original footprint, is like a hair too small around it's perimeter. A slight, lighter border shows. Question is, glue it and live with it, or replace with another pickguard?
If replace, can a slightly over-sized replacement be purchased, or, must a new guitar be fashioned?
Any tips on how to proceed are appreciated..Tom
Your choice. A new guard is going to look, well, new. To install a self-stick guard the footprint has to be lacquered and leveled to provide a smooth surface for adhesion. The original guard can be glued to the bare wood with aliphatic glue.
..thanks, a self stick won't work on the raw wood? Well, looks like I'll make the old one is original to the guitar after all..and I can't envision myself getting involved with lacquer at this point..
Aliphatic glue..that's like LMI luthier's white glue, correct? ..thanks.Tom
No advice here, Tom, but I got a kick out of this slip.

Tom said; "Question is, glue it and live with it, or replace with another pickguard?
If replace, can a slightly over-sized replacement be purchased, or, must a new guitar be fashioned?"

For just a second, I had visions of you building a whole new guitar to fit the pick guard. It's nice to see that I"m not the only one susceptible to this kind of slip.
To flatten that area, I'd get a rag sloppy wet with warm water and mop the bare area on top, and give the same treatment to the inside. Then I'd us heavy mating clamping blocks inside and out to flatten it with serious clamping pressure for a few days. The wood will swell back about as far as it can, and it will come out nice and flat.

Then, finish over the area, level and buff to match the surrounding, make and install a nice new pickguard that just covers over the crack, which by then I'd have glued up as well.

Like-a this:

Not ready for all that? No problema - that's what luthiers are for. . .
..thanks, Frank, forgot to check you dot com site for answers..your site's what got me started on this stuff a few years back..maybe I'll reassess and go the 'level the finish/new guard' route.. Regards, Tom
I'd at least seal the bare wood with shellac before gluing the pickguard on. If its just a hairline of wood showing around the original guard, after sealing and gluing the guard on, you can take a fine artist brush and orange shellac to touch up if you're very steady handed. if I go the lacquer route, will something like the Mohawk product work as a brush on? tom


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