Recently, my son's cat, Don, had a manic spaz attack and bounded into my son's Taylor 110 (yes, it was left in a precarious position from the start). The results: The Taylor is now decapitated and Don is currently at the taxidermist rather patiently awaiting his consequences (I kid, I kid).
I've combed through quite a few threads on this fine forum re: headstock repair so I'm beginning to get the gist of some of the considerations and strategies, but also understand from the many informed comments that the nature of the break shapes the specific suggestions offered, so I've attached a few pics. As you will see, it's an ugly one. Not much surface area, jagged and right at the topnut/truss rod; so I'm thinking any repair short of making a new headstock/neck section will be pretty iffy.
A new neck can be had from Taylor for $175 but they will not send it to me directly. It has to be sent to and installed by an authorized Taylor repair location (at an additional cost), according to the Taylor Customer Service rep I spoke with. With funds tight, thought I might give it a go myself with the kind help offered by my neighbor who happens to be an accomplished woodworker, though not a luthier.
Would really appreciate hearing how some of you guys would approach this particular break, other than not at all ;)
Update: 8+ years later and still holding strong - see f/u post below for more.
Thanks for your reply, Rusty. I definitely understand about the time and resource constraints involved in subjecting various repair strategies to the scientific method...simply not practical. Just thought I would check after seeing a couple older posts from you that gave me the impression that you might be inclined toward quantifying this sort of thing (e.g., a reference you made in a 2008 post suggesting that you had determined Titebond I and II disassembled at approximateIy the same temperature - 212F).
I appreciate your explaining the limitations of various bonding agents in end grain/small surface area applications. From an intuitive lay-physics perspective it just makes sense. So I understand that Titebond (in any variety) would not be successful alone in a decapitation like the one on my son's Taylor.
I am a little confused, though, by your comment that Titebond II has no place in luthiery, though I realize many luthiers feel this way. In my researching about all of this, I ran across a couple of posts from you back in 2008 and 2009 in which you indicated that you used Titebond II. For example, in a post you made in December 2008, you commented that, "We use cross linked PVAs (Titebond II) for all our neck/peghead repairs and highly recommend this particular glue" So, I feel like I'm missing something as we jump forward to 2013. You seemed confident about using Titebond II in general luthiery at that time. What experiences have led you to change your thinking on this? I live in the deep south with much heat and humidity and, based on some of your previous posts, I had considered possibly using Titebond II in some applications; so any clarification on this topic would be really helpful and may save me from some future problems.
Yep, and we used Syntec AV180 as well, right up until the point that Titebond Tech elaborated that the creep of Titebond 2 was not acceptable for joints under tension regardless of what the rep said. About the same time that AV Syntec made the revelation that they had changed their formula to allow more creep for chair-making and furniture application where some flex was desirable.
Can't help that - we acted in good faith and the Syntec revelation came after a couple of bridges popped right off within a couple of weeks. That one cost us big time - not to mention ditching 100 bucks of glue. You will see in subsequent posts, if I recall right, that we reverted back to Titebond original and have advocated that glue as a quality cross-linked Aliphatic since. The hide glue crew dine out on my misfortune I'm sure!
Both glues come unstuck at about the same temperature, and 2 has better water resistance than 1 - not waterproof but a little better.
Not happy to have had the experience but we have now been back on track and use TB original on all our production guitars. I use the Titebond Tech support area for my advice and some time ago "Fine Woodworking" Magazine did an excellent controlled comparison of glue types and strengths/weaknesses/ application which has a lot of credibility in the industry. You can access it through signing onto their site and searching (but it's been some time since I did that).
Finally, I take yr point that measuring stuff is desirable but in the case of the graphite and epoxy combination it requires destruction testing of various neck configurations under various load directions etc - we'll wait for our first break in real life to see how well we did (must be a latent Luddite in my history somewhere!).
Wow, well that explains things. I really do appreciate you sharing your experience with me. I'm afraid I missed your subsequent posts about moving back to Titebond original. Internet learning can be tricky; there are often other angles, additional details that must be discovered before the full picture takes shape. I'll be sure to check out the controlled glue comparo you referenced.
Meanwhile, based upon the guidance offered by you and the others who replied to my OP, I'll probably hold off on the repair and continue looking into sourcing a new(used) neck as economically as possible. However, I'm stubborn and cheap, so still may eventually give the repair a shot.
Thanks so much for your detailed and thoughtful responses to my questions, Rusty.
Did you buy it new? If so, have you called Taylor? My Baby Taylor took a nasty spill and it broke cleanly at the finger joint. It was an easy repair but the guitar was 2 years old so I called Taylor. They sent me a new neck, tuners and all. You'll have to do this through a Taylor certified repair facility.
It was purchased new, but about 7 years ago. I did call Taylor and they asked how long ago it was purchased. When I told them, all they offered was the phone number to a local "big box" music store to which they would send a neck for $175, additional charges for installation to be applied by service center. The rep stated they would not send it directly to me.
Think of how you like to spend your free time.
Engineering tricky repairs? Go for it.
If not, this is where the Taylor bolt on neck shows it's worth. $175 + install is a bargain.
just my 2 cents.
Your 2 cents is appreciated. I do enjoy a challenge and I may have no choice but to go for it because, as much of a bargain as $175+ may be, the fact that it's a bargain doesn't generate the funds necessary to take advantage of said bargain. I do know of a very special cat that I could sell you for $175 + finder's fee (we would have to find him first as he did mysteriously disappear after the incident described in the OP)...dreams can come true?
Evan, if I were in your shoes, I would be putting the guitar aside for now, and start scouring Ebay for a written off 110 with a half decent neck .
They are most certainly out there too, but you could easily be waiting for 6 months to find one. The break on the headstock, in my opinion, needs to be worked on by a repair person, , and splinted. This would be a bit of cash in my shop. As far as headstock breaks go, this one is pretty bad in that the actual mated surface area is absolutely tiny.
The neck needs to be replaced.
Thanks so much for the input, Kerry. Your assessment is in keeping with the consensus. Yes, would love to find a 110 that had been "couch potatoed" such that only the neck survived....but, agreed, to find one may take some time and scouting effort. Of course, could also go the other direction and put this one up on eBay as a project and apply any proceeds to the "new guitar savings fund".
Take Evan's advice go a head and fix it what have you got to lose?????????? Bill.............
DITTO. Exactly what I was thinking. Pull out the titebond 1 and glue it together. It looks like it would line up real nicely. What do you have to lose if it doesn't hold?
I did just that...see my post below...actually didn't use much titebond, though...all the comments about creep and vulnerability to heat and humidity made me wary, living in the deepest, darkest South.