Two recent discussions have caused me some concern from a technician point of view. The reason I say this is that both issues if taken at face value are viable and presented as repair procedures. However, if all instrument types and finishes are taken into account (and they do not appear to have been) the use of these procedures will cause serious damage in some cases.   The discussions were centered around the use of hairdryers and heat guns and soldering up fret dings respectively.

Firstly, a hairdryer is not sufficiently hot enough to cause a sound aliphatic glue joint to separate. Hairdryers are maxed out at 160 degrees F (any hotter burns skin) at normal operating distances.  They are built like that on purpose.  The creep/separation temperature for yellow glue is around 210 degrees F. So, if a joint separates with a hairdryer and a spatula chances are it would separate regardless of the use of a hairdryer,  as it is faulty joint anyway.  

The other option displayed was to use a heat gun which will set fire to just about anything you care to name in the guitar repair world - you may get away with this option if you are super-skilled and attentive and have a a sixteenth of an inch of poly two pack on the guitar - but come the first whiff of nitro or varnish and you will be toast - and so will the instrument. I routinely use heat guns to strip instrument finishes and it has taken years to master the technique (yep, I've torched a few trainwrecks in learning the techniques and wouldn't recommend it as a 101 gig).

Secondly, As for using eutectic lead/tin or lead free solder (Rockwell hardness 13-15) to repair a nickel silver fret (Rockwell hardness 60 -75)  to repair a ding in a fret - this is simply unacceptable from a professional repair standard point of view and has no place in modern luthiery and repair as far as I am concerned. 

Hard brazing silver solder (which is considerably harder and would work) can be used if the fret is removed, the solder applied with a brazing torch or similar, and then replaced (a useful procedure if you are a collector or vintage sort of person and all that goes with that) after re-work hardening the annealed area on the fret.

Attempting to solder a fret in-situ on a maple board is similarly inviting disaster and I would not do it even if I thought I could.  To get the fret hot enough for the solder to bond will turn the surrounds brown.

Now, I'm not here to be contrary,  and I'm not here to thrash and trash newbies or ridicule left field stuff -  quite the opposite.   I'm sticking my neck out here to reinforce the notion that modern guitar repair both at the professional and amateur level has no place for dodgy, unproven or dangerous (to a customers instrument) practices.  

The boss and convener of this forum and his highly experienced peers have demonstrated the level of expertise and sound practices which exist to standardize and educate those who aspire to and those who practice the trade.

These fine hard working dudes set de-facto national and international standards which should be upheld and taken forwards. 

I am concerned with anything which takes our trade backwards.

Regards, Rusty.

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"All opinions are valid here"

Very PC, but unfortunately far from the mark

If I want advice on something outside my expertise, I look for it to come from someone with experience, knowledge and understanding. 

Ummm Russell?   I was talking about Tedej's observations of the Forum.

And out of that list you just wrote, the only thing I know applies to you (likely as I have no photographic evidence) is the grey haired part! 


My name is Paul and I'm a grey hair (-:

No fair - I have a genetic predisposition to not going grey. I demand respect! (Maybe I'll be taken seriously if I put a grey wig on and take an avatar picture.)

And I have a predisposition to NOT have grey hair. At 53, I only have maybe 20 hairs on each of my temples this classic colour. My buddy Cliff went Vegan in the 70s at age 21, and, thanks to the non existent vitamin B (this is what HE says, anyway) he was totally grey at 24.

Vitamin B is in bread potatoes, bannanas  even in chillis. In fact in the USA it is added to white flour. So your friend turning grey has nothing to do with his diet. Its genetic.  The only problem  for vegans is a lack of B 12 which cannot be made from plants and may cause acne, dementia or nurological problems. Steve - a 53 year old vegetarian with no grey hair.

Steve, I'll give you Cliff's Email address and YOU can tell him. I wash my hands of it... 

Tell him if he grows a beard and gets a red suit he'll get plenty of work this time of year.

Tell him Grey is the 'in' color for 2013.....Be Happy!

 The ultimate end game of these standards and practices of which you speak looks a lot like the European system of trade schools and guilds. If you didn't go to school and aren't part of the guild, you don't luth.

The United States is the wild west of instrument building and repair and I for one like it. I have had a lot of crazy ideas over the years some of which actually worked, but more importantly I had the freedom to pursue my own paths of logic rather than follow a recipe out of a book. I have had to paint my way out of some tough situations and have a few embarrassing artifacts of my learning processes out there in the wild, but the ride has been a fulfilling one.

At the end of the day, these are just guitars. They are not, for the most part, very rare and mostly factory built. They will never be million dollar Italian master violins. They are cool and its great to do excellent work on them, but take the hand wringing down a notch and let natural selection in the market place decide who gets to work on what based on the merits of the skill of the luthier. No one I know is taking their prewar D45 to have fret divots soldered in and I could personally run a modern Martin through the bandsaw length wise and shed a bigger tear for the blade I just ruined.

Well said. Every one of us can remember doing things we regret when we first started to tinker on guitars, but we've learned from those experiences. The majority of those early mistakes were on cheap utility instruments anyway, and they were at least usable when they left my possession. I'd bet some of those, if not all, are still being played to this day. We weep when we see some of the brutal things that have been done to valuable or rare instruments, but in the end the undoing of such work is one of the things that distinguishes the real luthier from the hack, isn't it?

 Mybe just maybe we should let this topic fadeaway into  the Sunset...Bill.......


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