I have been asked to make this guitar playable. There is no identification on it. I looked in the book Regal Musical Instruments 1895-1955 by Bob Carlin and found one guitar that looks close and the dimensions given for the guitar are very close. I've attached two pages from the book.
The height at the 12th fret is 7/32 (guitar to pitch). It has nylon strings on it but I suspect it started as a steel string. Ladder bracing. There are some cracks that need to be attended to. I have not taken out the bolt in the heel of the neck - there is a wing nut on the other end, but have loosened it a bit and the heel towards the fingerboard seems to be tight against the body.
Also, someone wrote in pencil 1878 GB (as seen thru the soundhole). If I've identified it as a Regal, then it was made somewhere between 1900-1904 (according to the book)?
Is a neck reset still possible or is the neck been pulled to far up?
If a neck rest is possible, would it be best to set it up for nylon strings?
Looking forward to your replys.
No. That is not a popsicle brace between the upper two ladder braces. Looks like a piece of cloth saturated with hide glue..
Had a couple of 1890ies George Bauer guitars for repair. They both had small wooden patches like seen in the picture. Quite randomly placed and not doing much :-)
Hi Tom and thank-you for your replies! This will be my first carbon rod install so I would like to make sure I'm on the right track. I measured the thickness of the neck at the nut (.870 in/22.10 mm) and at the 9th fret (1.025 in/26.02 mm). Do you think installing 2 carbon rods with 3/8" x 1/8" will work for this neck I'm about to work on?
Also, do you try to straighten the neck with heat then install the rods or straighten without heat and install the rods? Thanks also for the pic of the jig.
Looking forward to your reply.
Hi Lee, assuming that .870 measurement is w/o the fingerboard, you should be ok. I usually just eyeball the neck thickness, actually, for the most part, and I think took some measurements a few times if it looked close. If you think it's too thin at the nut end, you can shave the rods a bit, too.
I've used heat for one of these operations, but for a number of them, before I had a neck heater, I would just fit the neck in my jig and crank it straight before I routed the slots, and left it in that position while the epoxy cured. Once it's dry, I'll assess neck straightness, and if some relief, I'll kiss the neck with a long plane w/ sandpaper to flatten it before gluing on the fingerboard.
BTW, the support braces I mentioned are about 4" long, and glued in the 9 and 3 o'clock position of the sound hole and run perpendicular to the lateral braces. They will mitigate somewhat the ladder brace sound hole wrinkle.
I measured the neck at the first fret and the thickness with the fingerboard is 28/32. The fingerboard thickness is 5/32. How deep should I be routing the channel(s) at this point?
Also, where do you suggest to start and stop the channel(s)?
I would like to plug the hole and would like to get close as possible to matching. I am unsure of the type of wood the neck is. The Regal book suggests oak or Spanish cedar. What do you think?
Hi Lee, looks like you're making progress with your project. I've been away for a while, but I think two of your questions are answered in my reply just above.
Regarding the neck wood, it's hard to tell, but it could be cedar, which was extensively used in the late 19th and early 20th century for necks. Can you smell it? Rub a bit of sandpaper on the dovetail and give it the smell test.
If you can source a bit of cedar or mahogany, just look for a similar grain match. Won't be invisible, but should look presentable.
Tom and Robbie,
Thanks for your replies. Very helpful. When my nose clears I'll start sniffing around.
I place the carbon as close to the fretboard as possible. I glue a thin piece of wood on top of the carbon rod, the "cap" and rod is glued with slow curing epoxy. The reason for the wooden "cap" is to give the hide glue some wood to grip instead of the carbon surface. So. Make the channel as deep as the carbon rod is high + a little less than the thickness of the thin wooden "cap". The "cap" will be leveled to the surface of the neck after the glue is set, than you have fresh wood without any glue residue for the hide glue. Measure the thickness of the neck and the height of the rod + "cap", if you can see light coming through the channel after routing you have a problem ;-)
Before doing any epoxy gluing, I wrap the whole neck in plastic wrap. I cut away the wrap around the channel and use a masking tape to protect the wood on top of the neck right beside the channel. The plastic wrap shuld be under half the width the tape. You don't want epoxy glue getting everywhere!
If the neck is banana shaped, I heat it straight first of all. Before doing the routing I do some light sanding to make the neck straight.
If you are ambitious, you can also drill a hole down the heel almost all the way to the heel cap from the routed channel and epoxy glue a tight fitting round dovel in some hard wood into it. Birch is the wood I use for this. The heel is commonly broken in old guitars with thin heels like on your guitar, the wood grain should go the other way for strength.
I have one just like it but it mahogany with a beautiful medium dark reddish brown top. Same neck carve and hardware. Mine is engraved "1902" on the tailpiece.