OK sports fans, here's another I thought this was just gonna be a simple set up that is turning into a bigger issue. Customer complained of high action (true).  As I dug in, I discovered the the trem tailpiece took a hard whack forward, pushing both posts out of alignment and crushing one side of the post holes so they both lean toward the bridge PU.  The treble side is ok; I just needed to re-seat it.  The bass side hole is deformed about 1/32.  I tried shimming it with a business card (dumb).  Early 90s Strat with really thick poly finish.  Any ideas for restoring the integrity of the wood to hold the post properly so I can set the action?  As you can see in the photos, it cracked the wood on the treble side and the finish on the bass side.

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An elegant solution & top notch job Nathan.

I enjoy your website's picture tutorials and have used some of your methods myself.

Thanks for taking the time & effort to maintain your site.

All the best,


Sure thing Paul.  Glad to hear that the site is useful for other folks out there.

Nathan gave you a good method  (good job!). I would do it that way, and would do it for both sides, because I'm pretty sure there's damage on the bass side too :

- inject hide glue in the cracks and clamp to get that area back to original shape

- plug the holes with a dowel and thick CA glue

- drill a biger hole with a 3 points drill bit

- make a plug on the lathe with much harder wood (I have a proxxon micro lathe for turning knobs and that kind of repairs, cheap and efficient)

- plug the bigger hole

- touch-up if the customer can afford it

Nice work Natham,  Good way to get the surface area required for the stability needed in this area, very impressive -  I've previously glued it all up and put the largest plug suitable (courtesy forstener) right through the whole thickness of the body available to give it vertical stability.   Agricultural, but effective and as you note, it doesn't show if finished well. 

For the record, some heavy-metal oriented Floyds come with a metal brace which encapsulates the post ferrules - they are not hard to make if you need to recover the situation on a cheap fix job.  Just a bar with a couple of resistance fit holes for the ferrules - the whole lot screws into the surface to hold it in place along with the ferrules locating in the body.

From what I can see, the "v" shaped break on the treble side is exactly that - it's broken and will need similar treatment. 

Great suggestions so far.

Here a StewMac newsletter dealing with a neck joint crack.

Mostly these guys are trying to sell tools, but if you look past that you can get some good ideas.

Especially if the articles are not written by Erlewine.

Anyway it involves a little more work and is a tad bit more invasive but the IDEA is good.

I don't know about laminating the carbon fiber (i believe they are trying to sell rod)

This is a neck joint, I know, but the same thing could apply at the trem.

The way the wood is cut grainwise. And the fact that it is laid in the rout makes this a strong repair.

However, I really like the over-sized dowel repair given above if the damage is confined to a small enough area.

Either way, the customer deserves some kind of finish on the repair even if it is just clear laquer.

But I usually give TOO MUCH to the customer for free.

Most guitar players I know have about as much money as I do, so by the time a repair is done and they pay for the job, we are both broker than before!


Pardon my digression.........

"But I usually give TOO MUCH to the customer for free.

Most guitar players I know have about as much money as I do, so by the time a repair is done and they pay for the job, we are both broker than before!"

That statement appears quite often on this forum & I love it.  It could be expanded into a book.  I've yet to meet someone seriously involved in the craft that doesn't give their customers/clients "a little something extra". It's a wonderful thing and part of the reason why we all take so much pride in our work and profession/hobby/avocation. We share each others knowledge each time we do our work.(:

It's my personal opinion that folks dedicated to the craft are the most giving and sharing group of craftspeople in the world. So....Three cheers for all the luthiers & techs. If the rest of the industrialized world interacted like the folks on this forum, the world would be a much more relaxed & enjoyable place.

Best wishes & good luck with this project,

Paul (:

I'm getting Floyd rose guitars in for repair with a similar problem since the Chinese have been flooding the market with cheap instruments for the guitar heros from tomorrow. You know the kind of thing I mean; black, pointy, two HB' PU's, a cheap FR imitation, cheap pots and switches, cr*p tuners, and all for € 250 with a gigbag, two plecs , and probably a DVD "How to be a rock star in only seven days!"

The problem is, they use some kind of unidentifiable (Basswood? Nato?) wood for the bodies. Then they make the tree into a guitar three weeks after they chop it down, spray it, and get it out the door destination Europe.

Then some poor kid buys it, and after a few months brings it to me 'cos the action is all over the place, and the FR doesn't stay in tune. Then you discover that the wood has shrunk so much that the threaded posts are loose in the body, so loose that the FR can move up and down at will.

I give them a break if they're a teenage player just starting off, and glue the posts back in flush with the body with West systems epoxy. Job done, for maybe €40. An easy fix, but that is no way to build guitars. If they charged 

$2000 for it, and they did a crappy paint job too, it could be a Gibson :-)

Joe: What do you not like about uncle Dan's writing style? Just interested... 

I use west epoxy too.  I may just do that.

I never said I didn't like "his writing style".

Maybe I should use more words in my posts.

What i was trying to say was that ALL of the articles for the trade secrets news letter are marketing.

But if you look past that you can get some unique ideas sometimes.

Actually, I like the catalog for giving me tool ideas. Then I build them myself.

Gee....I hope I'm not taking meat off Dan's table

This was a common problem in the 80's an angled humbucker routed too close to the newly installed treble Floyd post would start to lean into the pickup cavity. If you clamp the guitar body you can go straight to a Forstner bit and then use a corresponding plug cutter to fill it in. You can choose the type of wood and the grain orientation with a plug cutter. I get mine from Lee Valley they have lots of sizes. Store bought dowels are rarely the size they say they are and the grain runs the wrong way. Epoxy or TItebond will work and sometimes a little trimming with a chisel is required. 



I agree with Grahame here,   The people at STEWMAC have put more useful and free information out there than any other business I can name and the information forms the basis for a lot of standardised repairs in our industry as does (did) their books "Trade Secrets" and the seminal 'Guitar player repair guide".   I strongly respect these enterprises for their contributions to the industry and the way that they have taken guitar repair out of the dark ages and hammer and chisel approach to fine work.  

Similarly, I question complaining about a business and staff that wants to sell things, that's their job - STEWMAC sells tools and supplies and supports the industry by stocking and selling tools and providing instructions as to how to use said stuff.   Large inventories and low volume specialist items means stuff costs - but, their shipping is some of the best rates about  - why beef about it?  

Apropos and delicately put: If you wish to go broke because you "give away" your work and labor it's not anybodies problem but yours.   One of the bigger problems holding back luthiery from becoming recognised as a valid trade and charging accordingly is the transition from amateur to professional status we all suffer when making the decision to take the job on full time - like going from apprentice to master. Respectfully put to my colleagues:  amateurs can do as they wish, it's a free world, but the people who have to make rent and feed and educate their families from this trade must deal with the reality of the marketplace.   

There is nothing wrong with being paid for ones labor and expertise:  quality hand and machine work is a noble and rewarding enterprise. There is a lot wrong with customers who don't want to, or have to, pay for good quality work. 



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