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 Post subject: Cracked Side Disaster!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:52 am 
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Walnut
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So last week I was transporting my current build in my car. To be extra careful, I thought "I know, I'll put it on the back seat, it's much safer there than in the boot". Not 5 minutes later I completely forgot about that decision and flipped the back seats down creating a kind of nut cracker situation which, unsurprisingly, i'm not very happy about [headinwall]

Anyway, the damage is in the pictures below.

ImageImageImage

Unfortunately, I had already trimmed the sides down to final width, and the resulting fragments seem to have disappeared into a different dimension, so there's no possibility of just gluing the missing piece back in place.

The way I see it I have 4 options:

1. Trim the side width back to totally remove the damage. This would result in a shallow body guitar with a total width at the lower bout of 91mm (just over 3 and a half inches), assuming that binding covers 5-6 mm of the damage. The guitar is a 000 body size, so I don't think this would be a ridiculous option.

2. Keep the sides as they are, glue in the back. Once the damaged area is stabilised, rout it back and patch it up with a similar looking piece of wood, and hope nobody notices. The advantage of this is it would give me some pretty good repair practice!

3. Do something radical like put in a bevel in that location, or some kind of sound port. Unfortunately I don't think it's really in the right location for a bevel of any kind...

4. Start the rim assembly from scratch with new wood, and perform some major surgery to remove the top and re-glue on the new rim assembly.

This is only my second build, so there's no unhappy customer or anything, but I really wanted to do my best on this one.

I'd really appreciate any thoughts on my ideas, and of course any new ideas are welcome too!

Many thanks!

Marco


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:02 am 
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Patch with similar wood. Match the runout and it should disappear to everyone but yourself :)



These users thanked the author DennisK for the post (total 2): jack (Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:49 am) • marco_dc (Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:10 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:53 am 
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Shallower body option for me. It always niggles me knowing where mistakes are.

But perhaps it won’t have to be much shallower, as the binding and any purfling will cover almost half of the damage area.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:04 am 
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Walnut
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Thanks for the thoughts, I've been leaning between these two options. The perfectionist in me likes the shallow option too.

The total damage is about 16mm, so i'd be looking at making it a full centimetre shallower assuming purfling covers 6 mm.

Does anyone know of any maker who makes guitars as shallow as 3.5 inches? I'm just worried about the effect on the sound, as that's the ultimate goal in the end! It would be reassuring to see others going this shallow.

I imagine shallow electro-acoustics are more common than full acoustics.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:20 am 
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As a perfectionist myself, I'd be bothered by both cutting down the sides and trying to match the existing wood. I'd probably see if there was some way to make something creative, probably by using a different wood and making something unique.

I decided to make a headstock like the Parker Fly for a Strat I was building. After the neck was done, I took the Fender headstock shape and cut out a Parker Fly headstock. It was then I realized the Parker head was a composite, not wood. Fearing the wood may not hold up to string tension for long, I inserted a piece of wood from the body of the guitar.
Image
I got a lot of compliments on that.

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These users thanked the author Jules for the post: Jonny (Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:28 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:57 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Jules wrote:
"As a perfectionist myself, I'd be bothered by both cutting down the sides and trying to match the existing wood. I'd probably see if there was some way to make something creative, probably by using a different wood and making something unique. "

Something along those lines might be to give it the "Jimmy Rodgers" Weymann guitar treatment. The binding is wide and proud of the sides. John Arnold could advise you more on that. www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2q_8VMhcYw


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:12 am 
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I would not make it thin and compromise your sound. The answer depends on how much you want to get into it. Just making a new rim would not be all that big of a deal. Patching it or making some kind of a feature would probably be the easiest route. Patching it and doing a Sunburst would probably be a good compromise if you're up for that, but it might even be more work depending how you do the burst.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:27 am 
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Turn it into a lefty and add an arm bevel. The challenge will be learning to play lefty.
oops_sign never mind

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Last edited by Bri on Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:41 am 
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I would be looking very very hard for that chip which is in your car somewhere...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:54 am 
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I would use the opportunity to hone my repair skills and fit a similar piece of wood into the break... If you build long enough, you will have to learn to repair... quit obsessing... repair it, and move on...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:37 pm 
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I would also be spending some serious time looking for the chips. The original wood will almost always look better and take less time to attach then any patch or cover up. If you really can’t find it I would try patching the spot with chips from the side off cuts, but do it now rather than after the back is on. That way if it looks good you are good to go, but if it doesn’t you can still narrow the side or replace them as desired.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:38 pm 
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I would search high and low for the missing piece. If it shows up fine, but even if it doesn't I would do the repair the best you can. If you like it then move on. If you don't then I would lower the rim only enough to where the binding will cover the fix.

Edit, Oops, I see kjaffrey just said it.....

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:43 pm 
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In a different direction, how about putting a curve on the back, running fore and aft. Trim 10 or 12mm off at the heel, 5mm at the tail, and then curve the sides to match. You'd still be full height just aft of the waist. I've just assembled a body with a back like that (intentionally :) ) and it looks fine.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:12 pm 
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Good advice here. +1 for finding the bits. If not you might have some cutoffs that will match pretty well. If you have to use the cutoffs I'd simplify the shape some so that you get a good clean fit and I'd use some sort of cleat. This is a place where solid laminated linings would be your friend.

I'd use hot hide glue for the repair which could make it all but disappear. You'll only have a small part showing. If you haven't yet profiled the sides it might even be less than it looks. And it could easily go away under the finish as was mentioned. Sometimes I have fixes that are very hard to find without magnification after some time has passed. You might even take pride in your repair skills. I wouldn't compromise the overall design or aesthetics just for a little hiccup.

On another note, the runnout seems excessive which may have contributed to the severity of your accident. Better wood might have fared better.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:42 pm 
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Got a rim set hanging on the wall as a reminder to know when to quit and make another one. I was very glad I did once the guitar was complete. Didn't take that much time although it was a bit of a pain to get another set of sides.

Of course, if you decide to repair and it and you can do a good job then you will probably be the only person that even sees it. I'm amazed at some of the things I repair on older guitars that seem to show up like a neon sign to me and the customer comes back and can't even find where the repair is.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:58 pm 
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I won't suggest how to fix it but to say that is an epic amount of runout. This is the root cause of the problem in the first place. Better material selection will be helpful next time.

Best, M


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:09 pm 
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It looks like curly walnut to me, which is going to have quite a bit of runout. Runout is less of a problem unless you have 200# of force trying to rip the bridge off. Curly wood isn't as strong but it sure is pretty.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:01 am 
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If you can't find the missing pieces you could certainly patch it with a bit of the left-overs. But be double-sure that you glue it in with the runout going in the same direction. I once had a router mishap while cutting the binding ledges in a walnut guitar and needed to graft in a small patch. I did a great job and it looked pretty much invisible, until the finish went on. Then I realized that I had glued the patch with the inside surface on the outside, and the difference in runout direction became much more visible under finish. A lesson learned!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:32 am 
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Have you ever built a thin body acoustic? Now’s your chance. They typically sound lovely. Often with more projection than deep body versions. Taking down the sides here won’t make that much of a difference. Any attempted repair won’t look perfect and would bug me way more than a great looking, defect free, slightly narrower bodied guitar. It will also be a much simpler and quicker fix. Learn from this, knock this guitar out, and get on to the next one. Just my two cents.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:01 am 
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Just start over. Hang that on a wall as a reminder and start a new guitar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a mishap like that and tried to “fix” or “adjust” my design to hide it. It never ends well. There is always some compromise that bugs me forever. It is just wasted effort.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:34 am 
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If I started over every time I had a small mishap I doubt I would have finished any instruments.
You have the sides glued to a finished top, your end blocks in and ready to finish gluing linings and put on a back, The linings will provide some reinforcement to the patch, and the bindings will reduce the size of it. The small ragged patch needed could be accomplished with bondo and marker pens if skillfully done.
As an ex- cabinetmaker and furniture repair person I have patched and touched up furniture to make it look new again. There is an entire industry devoted to making products to make inconspicuous repairs on furniture.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:57 am 
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That missing piece has to be in the car. I'd spend some time looking for it because you will spend hours fitting a piece to repair it. If you can't find it then I'm all for a smaller body. They can sound great.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Hi All,

Thanks for the replies.

I decided to take at least some of your advice, and use this as an opportunity to practice my repair skills. At the end of the day you are going to learn some lessons in your first few guitars, it's unrealistic to expect my second instrument to be a perfect masterpiece.

As for the suggestions for finding the chips I promise you I would if I could, I can only think that I somehow dropped them in the street when I inspected the damage and didn't have the presence of mind to look for the there and then.

For the people concerned about runout, it is indeed curly walnut. The grain runs parallel in some parts of the side, it's almost definitely the reason it broke where it did!

Anyway, see below for my attempt at a repair, hopefully the pictures are self explanatory enough!

For matching wood I used the cutaway section of the back:
Image
Trimming down the scrap piece to size:
Image
Image
Had to enlarge the damage for an easier fit:
Image
Image
After sanding flush and hiding the worst of it with the binding!
Image

Well, it's not perfect, but I'm pleased enough with my first attempt at what I think was a relatively tricky repair. Once the binding is in and the finish is on I don't think it will stick out too badly.

Any feedback is welcome - thanks for all the help and suggestions!

Happy building.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:23 pm 
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Excellent [:Y:] And now you have more repair experience. It's a win-win :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:30 pm 
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Looks good, well done.

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