Epiphone EJ-300CE needs peghead repair - advice, please!

I've been putting this off for way too long, and I've finally decided to reattach the peghead to my wife's second favorite guitar.  (Unfortunately, her VERY favorite guitar, a Gibson Montana J-100, has a fractured peghead, but that's a project for another time).
Drunk people attending one of the bars we perform in backed into her Epiphone EJ-300, it did a face plant, and >>>SNAP<.  Pictures are below.
There are people on this forum that are FAR more experienced at this kind of thing that I am, so I need the mentoring help of everyone who's willing to contribute.  And as a newbie to this kind of work, I am at a disadvantage.
Here's my starting point, thanks to Frank (Ford) -
I have the "Friendly Plastic" ready to make the clamping cauls, and am ready, willing, and able to purchase whatever materials and tools required to do this repair so it's almost like new.
I don't want to do a sloppy job, I want this to be almost invisible when complete.  But this is a "consumer" guitar made in Korea, so the finish is poly.  The peghead has binding.  The peghead veneer is sheared into two pieces, and the veneer is probably plastic.  This will be a pain.
1.) I'm wondering if step one should be to glue the peghead back on, and worry about cosmetics afterwards (but I'm also wondering if I should remove the peghead veneer first, because if I use heat to remove it afterwards, the heat might loosen the glue I used for the repair).  If the veneer has to go, It's not a problem.  Although it would be nice to have the guitar look "stock", my wife and I are not "brand loyal" and never plan to resell, so I can use any kind of wood veneer I like and don't need a logo.  Especially Epiphone.
2.) I'm not sure what kind of glue I should use (Titebond, HHG, Fish Glue, Epoxy?).  I want the repair to last, and if I make a stupid mistake, I want to make sure I can "back out" and restart.
3.) Should I carefully remove the binding, or leave it on?
4.) What kind of "prep" should I do before gluing?
(And if I missed anything, PLEASE advise me!)
Thanks in advance for your help.
Tom Mitchell

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You do have lots of nice gluing area there, but when clamping up, the parts will want to slip, even with hot hide glue.  Hide glue requires really good clamping to be effective, so that's a serious consideration, along with the really short time you have to jockey the thing around when getting the clamps set up.

I wouldn't use aliphatic resin (Titebond) because it has really low resistance to heat, and is likely to fail if left in a hot car or in direct sunlight.

My choice would be medium viscosity cyanoacrylate.  Nasty as that stuff is, it has great cohesive strength, so it doesn't rely on being nearly all squeezed out of a joint - it fills gaps really well so you can concentrate on alignment rather than pressure. Once it's set, the excess can be washed off a poly finish with acetone, so cleanup is a reasonable chore.  No, it doesn't lend itself to a "redo," but trust me, NO glue really does.  Among other problems, the water necessary to soften hide glue is likely to distort the grain and finish in the area.

IF you glue the peghead on, you can stick in those small pieces after the fact.  Drop filling with the same glue and leveling by block sanding and buffing can often yield a decent cosmetic result.

I appreciate everyone's comments so far.  They have been very helpful and thought provoking.


The unanimous consensus both here and on the Robbie O'Brien group seems to be recommending that I glue it up first, and THEN worry about making it look nice.


I'm especially intrigued with Mr. Ford's recommendation of cyanoacrylate glue.  Especially the fact that it cleans up with acetone without affecting the polyurethane finish.  Brilliant!  (I'll just have to keep the acetone away from the peghead binding...)  There are an assortment of CA glues of various viscosities (Titebond brand and Satellite City "Hot Stuff") at the local Woodcraft store.  I think this is a great idea, but here are my concerns;

First, I've never done this kind of repair job before, and since medium viscosity has an open time of 7 seconds and a cure time of 5 seconds.  That makes me nervous, because I only get one shot.  Could I get away with using the gel version with a longer open and cure time, so I can have time to align and put clamps in place?


Second, since I'll probably spray the back of the peghead black to cover the repair job, should I consider drilling a small perpendicular guide hole (or two) through the peghead so I can insert a wooden dowel to help with alignment?  Or am I just overthinking this job and making it more complicated than it needs to be?


Thank you, everyone, for your patience and understanding!



I think you'll be alright.  With the amount of glue  you'll need to apply, you'll have more than 5 seconds.  My experience with Med. tells me you at least a minute or two.  The thicker it's applied,the longer the set time.

I've used the machine head screw holes, by making them deeper and using finishing nails to stabilize while clamping. After it's dry heat them up with a soldering iron and pull them out. Here's an interesting tool for clamping this kind of break.

I haven't tried it but I'm going to. Looks like the post part of a gate hinge. 

Amazingly cool tool John!


Fascinating idea from Frank to use medium CA for this one!  But what I wanted to "second" from Frank's excellent post is the idea that no glue really lends itself well to a reglue or, in other words, this is the kind of repair in which perhaps the definition of the word "success" greatly hinges on getting it right the first time.

As such I wanted to mention that the manner in which the parts fit together will be key to your success as well.  Dry fit the two major components and see how well they come together.  Use great care with the two major parts while dry fitting.  If they are prevented from fitting perfectly.... by something do some investigation and try to remedy this in favor of getting the best fit that you can.  I dry fit and see how well it comes together and often although the fit is decent it could be better.  After dry fitting take the parts apart, carefully, and look for bent fibers.  Little pieces of wood that are no longer mating with their former neighbors when the neck was one piece.  Using an X-Acto knife or something like this I pick at these bent fibers attempting to return them to their former orientation and then dry fit again.  As such it's possible to improve the fit of the joint a great deal with some patience and careful inspection to find the problem fibers.

I was taught to do these sorts of repairs with HHG preheating the parts, doing dry runs on the clamping so as to have all of that worked out, and then gluing it up and clamping it down.  Although HHG does require some pretty specific handling if the joint is good meaning that all parts fit together very well it's a good choice provided that one understands how to work with HHG.  If not... HHG can be a poor choice.

The CA idea fascinates me though and does speak to the idea of doing appropriate repairs for not only the job but the specific guitar too.  Thanks for making me think Frank, painful as it can be at times..... ;)

Wow.  Very cool clamping tool!


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