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Hi Everyone

I am new to this forum. My Son and I repair guitars together, something we started a year ago and have just finished building a workshop.

So we have been working hard and feeling quite good about ourselves (we only taking on the simple stuff until we can kit out the workshop with some specialist tools). We have slowly been building our customer base until bam, this week a guy dropped his countryman steel resonator and took it to his usual luthier who said "no no no, do not bring that guitar here." So feeling very sorry for him my son and I thought we would try to help.

The countryman seems to be a stock product that is found with different brand names on e.g.Ozark etc. Tried contacting the company but in vain. As you can see from the photo's the construction of this guitar is a little surprising. The cone was attached using a layer of silicone, there are bulky screws joining anything that looks like wood and then there is the neck joint. The neck is held on by 5 screws through the fretboard using screws that must have been bullied to get into the holes. The heel of the neck is joined to the the body with an inch thick piece of wood.

so i would love it if you guys could suggest a solution to this problem. This guitar has sentimental value and we are doing this for love. My thoughts;

insert new wood and join using dowels (5)
cut excess wood and insert wedge - join with dowels
change my socks

The fella is happy for us to find a solution but this is a challenge, so would appreciate your thoughts.

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Hard to see a benefit/cost ratio greater than 1 here, after repair costs.

Hi Robbie

Yes I agree, but I think the value of this guitar isn't monetary

Mark

dissemble it back to a proper starting point  that to me is the primary  and fun part ,the neck looks to have been attached with a tenon running into the neck proper requiring the removal of the fret /finger board the remaining portion runs thru to the heal and may need to be replaced as well but hard to tell from the pictures . good luck and do it for the fun not the money  

Clearly a cheap imitation of the National, this one has a severely underbuilt dowel mortise.  I'd say  you have two logical choices:

1.  Make a new dowel stick and create a solid new mortise joint, the full depth of the cutout in the body, and as much buried into the end of the neck as possible.

2.  Convert to a bolt-on neck, epoxy gluing a solid neck block in place, with thread inserts into the heel (after filling the big hole, of couse.

Neither choice would be a cost-effective repair considering replacement value, but as you mention, that's not always the point.

Thank you guys I will start a redesign and see where it leads.

I have to say I am new to this site but its a god-send. 

HI Mark and Son, Welcome.

This is a standard problem and a relatively straight forward fix.   You will need to make a new neck stick, paying attention to the neck angle geometry of this little "Hubcap" jem when you make and replace it.  The joint where the neck stick joins to the neck heel is a mortise and tenon joint.  The main strength of the joint are in the glued surfaces on the sides of the tenon .  The end grain to end grain section is less influential  to  the glued up strength of the joint.   Dowels will not do the job here so don't even think about them.

Couple of options:  

Option 1:  Clean out  the existing broken section remaining in the neck heel with steam (if you got it) and chisels and make new clean gluing surfaces for a new neck stick tenon .  The joint needs to be tight and the surfaces clean for using Titebond Original of whatever luthiery glue you use.   If you cant get this option to work with an ordinary/sloppy mating surface joint use expanding polyurethane (which will work better with the end grain mating surface) or gap filling epoxy.

Option 2:  Remove the fingerboard and saw out/steam out  the damaged tenon and make new glue surfaces on all sides of the joint. This will depend on whether the broken mortise can be got at with the fingerboard in place and whats going on with the relationship with the neck stick to the bottom of the board. - use your judgement.

Make a new neck stick out of a similar wood that the original neck stick is made out of (stronger may be better given that this one broke).  If you cannot identify the wood go for a heavier piece of mahogany or walnut or similar strength/gluing integrity wood.

You need to get the geometry right for the stick mortise angle into the neck heel.  The key/critical area is the break angle over the bridge.  No angle results in no volume from the con, too much and your clearance through the "hubcap handle" palm rest/bridge protector will be toast.    Just look at any Reso in your local shop to get an idea of where you need to be.

Dry fit and check all your angles and neck stick angles and relationships to the back/top  of the guitar.  Clamp/jig it and glue.  

It's not unusual to put a dab of silicone on the cone seat, given that cone rattle is only charming if you come from the Appalachians or thereabouts.  The screws through the fingerboard are standard stuff and sometimes have pearl dots covering them

Now, I'm no expert with Reso's and I know there are quite the few senior guys (likely missing some teeth)  lurking out there on Frets.net who will give me a belting about this, and hopefully suggest more or better ways to skin this Hubcap. That's generally how we do it here, there are always better ways which are graciously accepted.

Good luck, have some fun,

Rusty.

Rusty

Awesome advice. Just made a homemade steamer from a ball inflator, inlet host from old dishwasher and a cheap steamer from amazon, been waiting to use it...so joy. I will go for option 1 and will tell you how I get on.
Many thanks

Mark, I just saw Franks post - it reminded me of the use of dowels in the end of the tenon - if you see evidence that they extended the tenon by way of a couple of dowels set further into the heel you need to replicate this.  When I said don't use dowels I was referring to not using them to repair the existing damage.

Remember, with steam, it will only loosen certain  types of glues and if you encounter no appreciable loosening of the damaged tenon after giving it a good going over with the steam needle, you may need to go to plan B which is taking up sharp chisels.  Good luck mate,

R.

"It's not unusual to put a dab of silicone on the cone seat, given that cone rattle is only charming if you come from the Appalachians or thereabouts."

Well stated!  You surely have a way with a phrase, Rusty..... :)

What makes you think musicians from Appalachian States tolerate flawed instruments more than other people. Is your knowledge of this area gleaned from " Deliverance" ?

Hi Charley,

That was a casual observation gleened from spending a night partying on Crown Royal with a  linesmen team from North Carolina where I seed and heared that a dropped 'g' isn't only a guitar tuning.......anyway,  hopefully it was  obvious this was  not intended to be a serious remark and I trust you are not cussin to much at this Jaspers chancy remarks 

I did look up what constituted the Appalachians and have just  worked out that I have villified an area of the U.S. the size of France - I am now alarmed to find that my ex-pat daughter is also included in the Appalachian footprint (Maryland) and so is my Canadian mate. I now feel fortunate to have only been hollered at by one of our esteemed forum members - but if this gets out I'm afeared I'm in for a right lickin from a whole passel of folk. 

"Deliverance" - that was a Musical?

Regards,

Rusty

Thanks

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