I'm wondering what would be the best glue to use since the major crack in this neck block is already filled with glue from someone else's repair attempt. I'm not sure what the glue is either. Whatever glue was used, it did soften enough to allow me to steam the neck off without too much of a fight. You can probably tell by the pictures, but the glue is no longer holding the crack closed but it is crusted all over both glueing surfaces. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Two choices the way I see it, first would be to remove the broken off piece from the side it's attached to, clean up the mating surface on the headblock and fit in a new, similar piece, creating clean tight joints where you currently have pollutants. The second choice would be to replace the entire headblock. The back is off, the side is split, and someone before you has been brutal, but either of these fixes will bring you back to a firm foundation. 

I'll second that - aligning the block AND the side is a major chore. Fixing the block is a major chore. I have a baritone uke with the same problem, and let me tell you, you will have to do an absolutely OUTSTANDING job of aligning and clamping to even get this job lined up close. Replace that block with a solid one, after repairing the side crack. It will be much more solid than it is now. You might end up switching to a bolt-on at the point as well, saving you the effort of carving the new block just right.

needs a major block..looks like heavy duty water damage...since it's apart looks like a cinch...what make?

Hey Tim, its a 50's Harmony Monterey. One of the higher end Harmony archtops I've come across. Solid spruce top and nice "real" binding. It has the strangest burst finish. Kind of cool, kind of ugly. I'm sure I'll be posting some more pictures of it as this project goes along.

Thanks so much guys. Not exactly the news I was hoping for, but I guess thats how it goes sometimes. Looks like I should go ahead and remove the neckblock. I'll get to it and let you guys know how it goes.

It looks to me like the damage to the side AND the top would be easier to fix without the block. It would be a lot easier to pull together the top crack and to fit a replacement tone bar without the block in the way. My vote would be to remove and replace the head block.

If you are not comfortable trying to fit an old neck dovetail to a new block, besides a bolt-on neck, another option may be to cut the dove tail from the neck and replace it with a new block then route a new joint for the head block and the neck using a template. 

I may be wrong, but it doesn't look like the block is cut for a dovetail, that the male part of the dovetail fits into the sides (like some violins and old parlor guitars). I would the block and convert to a bolt on. Because it is an F-hole guitar, you will need to access the bolts via a hole in the tailpiece hanger or do something clever with the strap button. You'll also need to make the appropriate tool.

Ah jeez, I totally forgot about the f-hole thing. That makes a bolt-on not so great. Maybe a trap-door in the back to access the bolts? :)


 I've seen some pictures of archtop guitars with a hatch around the tail block. It appears that the builder used a much longer block and cut a hatch in that. It's still a long reach so a special, long tool is required to reach the head block. 

You guys need to understand that I'm a total neophyte, but here's something someone told me recently.  He said that he took a long piece of metal--something like a ratchet extension--and on one end fashioned a socket for a drill bit.  The other fit into his drill.  He then threaded the whole shebangs through the hole for the strap button on the butt end, to drill his holes in the neck block. 

I don't know.  I'm just sayin'. 

I have seen this before on these old Harmony's.  The headblock is cut for a dovetail.  The block broke along the grain where the block was thin due to the female dovetail cutout.  I would clean out the old glue & splinters until the block fits back together with the side and top cracks aligned. I would then glue it up all at the same time with LMI white instrument glue.  It has strength in filling small gaps where wood is missing.  Harmony Monterey's are cool but probably not worth all the work you have ahead especially if you have to make a new headblock & joint.  Most of them have bad neck angles so check that before assembly or you will not have enough clearance for a decent bridge and pickup.  Since the back is off, it would be easier to reset the neck angle "California Style". 

Thanks Harrison. I think you're right about this one not being worth all the work it would take to do it "right". At this point I have good enough access to clean the old glue out pretty well. I also have a fresh bottle of LMI white glue on hand. Approx where do you like to see a straight edge hit the adjustable bridge?


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