A friend brough me his son's "new" Hoyer Archtop. It is a pretty nice instrument that plays well and is in excellent condition except that someone seems to have dropped on on the end pin at some point. The end block appears to be fine with both an internal inspection and a look through the end pin hole but the lower side cracked, starting from the end pin hole, running toward the lower waist for about 8 inches.
The end of the crack, furthest from the hole, can be pushed back into place easy enough but the portion of the crack which is over the tail block will not close up even with a LOT of pressure. Hydration hasn't helped the issue much. It's as if the side were in tension before the accident and just doesn't want to close up again now that it is released.
I've never run into a crack on a side like this one. I've always been able to close up the side cracks I've come across even if some do take a lot of pressure and special jigs to hold thing in place. I suppose I could take the side loose from the end block but that really seems like overkill given the condition of the rest of the instrument.
Have any of you splinted a side crack? Is this a viable technique for side repair?
Yeah, Frank, I check inside VERY carefully because I expected to see a cracked tail block but everything appears to be OK. There is no crack showing on the sides of the hole either. The pin was stuck but it didn't take much to get it loose. The end pin has a collar shaped where it fits against the body which seems to have kept it from really jamming high up into the hole. That flange broke off but I think the drop was just enough to jam the pin and crack the side but not enough to break the block or anything else.
The side came loose from the block, around the crack, but it's doesn't extend very far beyond the edges of the crack. Maybe a 1/4 inch on each side. It will need to have some glue worked into it and I will have to use a caul to clamp it down but that's easy enough. The problem is that I can't close the crack in that area.
I didn't actually look at the pictures I took until now. I will try to replace them with something better soon.
How wide is the crack Ned .I will have to tell you that I have fixed a lot of cracks on Instruments with super glue by just clamping them a bit at a time and glueing as you go .The thick glue is what i use and some have been as wide as 1/8" Then I will get some water base stain and go over that and blend it into the existing. I have on hand some walnut& some rosewood wt. stain from Home D by Minwax you kin by it in just a little 1/2 pint tin You can laquer over the stain. Good luck Bill.'''''''''''''''''''''''''''
At it's widest it's maybe 1/64th of an inch. I like to use super glue on side cracks if they are tight because I can usually scrape it down to finish level and buff it out. I haven't used it to fill a crack like this but it would be over the tail block so there is a backer and it's not really all that wide. Have you ever had problems with shrinkage over time using this technique?
I have some better pictures now. the first is the crack overall.
As I mentioned before, this is a pretty cool old guitar. It has two "F" holes and a small round sound hole at the base of the neck. I found it a bit weird when I first saw it but a change of strings and it plays very well and sounds pretty good. Nice mellow jazz sound. The only real issue is this crack.
Thanks everyone for the comments.
Jim and Len, the issue isn't getting the crack to line up. I can do that easily with thumb pressure. The issue is that I can't close the crack where it it is gapping open near the end pin hole. I MIGHT be able to crank down a couple of clamps on it, top to back, but I'm concerned that the amount of pressure needed to do it will do more damage to the guitar. As it is, I can't put enough pressure on it with my hands to move it at all and I'm a fairly strong guy. It feels like I'm pressing on the ends of the tail block. The crack is open right at the tail pin hole and then tapers out to the end where the last picture shows the offset. THAT end will be easy, a caul to hold it flat and some glue will close that end pretty well.
It's like the wood shrunk but hydration hasn't done much for it.
I've done similar jobs on a couple of old Hoyers: The first job turned into a nightmare, it had a similar crack to yours, but the sides were laminated, or as I found out when I got into the job, de-laminated. I also tried clamping it together, without success. I ended up having to take the back off so I could re-laminate the side, and then I filled the crack with epoxy. And then after that glue the back on, new binding etc etc. Arrggghh!
The second one was similar, but after my experience with the first one, I didn't waste time trying to clamp it together, I got out the West systems epoxy, thickened it up a bit, and filled the crack. After scraping it flush, and then polishing it, it didn't look too bad.
Maybe your Hoyer is laminated too? Perhaps that's the reason your having trouble getting it back together? Just a thought, sorry I couldn't be more helpful. Good luck with it.
This one seems to be solid sides. I think it's maple or birch but it could be anything with the black finish. Whatever it is the crack goes all the way through. I can see light through it except where the tail block is located.
You're the second person to vote for filling. I'm leaning that direction since I don't seem to be able to find any way short of disassembly to fix this. It's a nice old guitar but, at least in the U.S. market, it doesn't seem to be worth a huge amount and I'm very reluctant to start taking it apart for a crack that seems to be stressed anyway.
I guess my original question, which was if anyone has ever splinted a side crack is a no go but filling with glue may, perhaps be the answer.