Hello Frank & the community,

I've recently been handed this piece of work.  Thoughts, comments, advice?

Basically somebody's grandpa is rolling over in his grave over this one.  After some initial research this is the plan I've devised 2 plans to have it
back in playing condition again: 

First off will be the tuners, they will be removed for the entirety of the repair.
    1.) Align all splinters to "book-match" headstock & neck pieces to
each other, apply carpenter's wood glue, clamp headstock & neck
pieces together, clean out any "squeeze-out", and let dry for 2 days.

If after drying the headstock doesn't seem sound then:
     2.)  Route out 2 channels in the back of the headstock/back of the neck that are then filled with solid mahogany braces.  This wouldn't be
pretty, but would add structural integrity and is a recommended
technique I've seen demonstrated before in Dan Erelwine's Guitar Repair


Then comes the finish touch-up.

All in all this is going to be a fun learning experience; I can't wait to begin :-).


Tags: Headstock, broken, headstock, martin, repair

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I'm not much of a fan of splines unless thare's sufficient material for them to anchor, and that may not be the case here.

Here's how I did that repair on a 1950s D-28:
Impressive response time,
It's incredible how similar the breaks were!
One of the benefits of having a database full of photos from the past.
I'm now planning on following the repair you made step-by-step.
I guess it's time for me to get out my camera though to begin cataloging these projects like you've done.
I feel like a new-age Luthier-Apprentice; online.

Thanks for your time,
If you're comfortable with hide glue, I second the recommendation for this repair. Here's another way to reinforce the repair and hide your work if the back of the headstock goes together cleanly. Remove the overlay after gluing the break, and replace with a new rosewood overlay. That would add significant strength, and you could hide splines underneath. This approach reduces the amount of color and grain matching you'd need to do, but you'[d have to deal with the decal.
How would you suggest to remove the headstock veneer (the overlay), with a band-saw?

I'm not sure about where you are with tooling or tool experience. Should you choose to replace the headstock veneer as I suggested in the other forum this AM, if you have, or have access to a Wagner Safety planer, that is the most surefire way to get rid of the original veneer with precision. Of course you'd have to rig up a quick jig to do this safely. Another method, though not as easy, but just as effective, is to use a mini plane or a block plane. Have fun with your repair. Repairs IMO are just as enjoyable as building. And Frank's forum and website are second to none if I might say so myself. :)


I agree; I am thoroughly content with restoring someone's old favorite axe.  And this website is a God-send for Luthiers like me who cannot afford to join GAL, or other exclusive Luthier forums.  This has a Facebookesque feel about it.

Thanks for all the advice too.  I ended up using a heating blanket (as per FF's suggestion) to remove the veneer.  But I did however use a Wagner Safe-T Planer for the back of the headstock and it worked like a charm.

sander ill take it to my sander sand the top half that is separate down glue it back on with out a top piece yet, then by hand take down the other half of the veneer with a sharp chisel sanding blocks and knowing the end product is going to impress everyone to replace the veneer last and drill out your holes they look new again .some not so good looking repairs i have been able to see from the sides but the good ones man it disperses . good luck i love this repair its a good money maker once you have your pattern you can do this easy in 48 hours and be paid

This time around was definitely a slow, pricey one.  In fact I think I'm out of pocket a little in order to stock up on what I need.  But I feel ready if I see this break again in the future.

48 hours... that's pretty good;  I'll strive to reach that time frame.  I give full credit for the length of time I've taken so far to "tooling-up".

Take the peghead veneer off after you glue the break. It will come off neatly and cleanly with heat - as in this repair:

Hello All,

Just in case anybody was interested here is the finished photo from the headstock repair.  Everything turned out great and all in all was a fun learning experience.

Take care!


Trent, is that the original veneer on the peghead?  If not, where did you get the Martin logo?

- Steve

... a bit off topic... Photo number 002 in the original post - Live gladiator sighting!  lol


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