I'm working on an early 60's Epiphone with cracks running through the tuner holes.   I made some tapered dowels to spread the cracks and worked in a healthy dose of hide glue. Then clamped using some custom cauls.  After that I coated a couple coats of nitro laquer to seal the cracks with an artist brush.  Once it cures, I'll level, lightly buff and reinstall tuners.

Questions:  Are the two coats of laquer with the brush sufficient?  Do I need to break out the air-brush?

And most important, what should I charge the customer?

(pictures attached)




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Hi Greg.  Nice job! It looks great so far!!!!

The # of coats depends on how you want it to look.  If there is no sand-through, a few coats should blend it fine.  You're doing a spot repair, not refinishing the headstock.

Suggestion: try smoothing, rubbing & polishing what you have already done using standard techniques and you may be surprised that no additional coats are needed.

In our shop, I would bill this job at $60 @ hr. for labor + twice the material cost.  $75-$100 would not be out of line as you did more than provide just labor & material.  You made a non-functional guitar come back to life.  That "magic" kind of stuff we do should count for something.

Again, very nice work & the very best of luck (-:

Thank you Paul, I always value your opinions in this forum.



So after the repair was done I installed the tuners only to have the treble side split again upon tightening down the last screw.  Grrrrr.


Any suggestions?




Greg, It looks like you filled the original screw holes at the bottom of the head stock. Did you predrill the hole when you installed the head?

Yes I did Ned, and I made sure to use the correct width drill bit for the screw.  And I marked the length on the drill bit with some tape for the correct length. 


My thoughts are:  I didn't completely clean out the tuner hole of dried glue?  I used a rat-tail file to clean it out but maybe should've used a reamer.  And when everything tighted down on that one tuner it spread the crack back out. 


I'm looking for other possible ideas before I heat up the ol' glue pot again...  I'll try to add a picture here of the resulting failure.




Hi Greg,

You appear to have sufficient gluing surface there and the cauls look OK,  sounds like the glue let go before it should and in that case it's probably the old glue surface inside the crack not allowing the new glue to get to a clean substrate/surface,  Clean it out as best you can and try again.  Alternatively, clamp it up dry and bore out the screw hole and place a small hardwood dowel into the extended diameter screw position and then glue up the whole lot together with the undrilled dowel in place. I'd be thinking epoxy at this stage of the mess but Titebond is suitable as well.  

Drill the new wood dowel with the correct "number" drill for the screw and use the integrity of the new intact wood to hold the screw and take up the radial pressure of the screw.  If the dowel is not to big Diameter-wise it will not show too much under the tuner.  There are other ways but they are bit drastic and time consuming and require refinishing when done.  R.


Hi Russell.

Yep I'm hip to the other ways.  I don't particularly want to spline the crack and try to refin over it.  I like your idea of the dowel installation with a dry clamp then glue it all together.  In fact at this point I might do that with the other screw holes in the affected area. 

I'll probably stick with Hide Glue as that's what I used originally.  It's possible I over-dilluted it on the first try as another person suggested?  So I'll mix up a new batch and give 'er another try.  I also like the Epoxy idea, but...  with the new enlarged dowels, Hide Glue should do the trick.  (I hope) 




Russell, you are brilliant!

Attached are fruits of my labor.

Thanks for your great advice.



Hey Greg, you seem pretty experienced with hide glue.  I'll add one item: I generally don't use hide glue if there's any trace of old glue.  It just doesn't grab.  I only use it on bare wood.  Just my 2 pennies.  Glad it worked out.

Nice cauls, btw

Maybe the glue wasn 't completely cured, or it was too diluted. After cleaning and letting it dry, I'd use cyanoacrylate.

Courtesy of Don Teeter's book, another fix would be to cut a small square patch, perhaps 1/8" thick or less. Size it to fit within the confines of the tuner backplate and then glue and trim. Once dried, do the pilot hole/waxed threads reattachment.  He was using this on classical tuners but I've tried it on ones like this and it does work. You just have to make the patch fit the shape closer.  


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