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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:32 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
Hi everyone. I’ve dabbled with repairs before, but nothing like this. I’m hoping this is the right place to receive some needed help.

I picked up an incredibly damaged harmony/Stella. It may be beyond my capabilities. But since it’s in horrible condition and not worth much in good shape, I feel like I mine as well give it a shot

I took the back off. Which was pretty easy considering most of it had already come off on its own. The braces were almost all coming off. So I took all of the back braces off as well.

There are two cracks on the bottom bout. One may close up ok with some pressure and a cleat or two. But the other is larger and is not straight. Is my only option to wedge some wood in there and then shave it down flat?


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Last edited by xodus on Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:39 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
The stellas neck is bowed so much, that it warped the top and even pulled the neck block up from inside. I tried to take some pics. Should I take the neck off first?

To be honest, the neck top, and sides are all out of whack due to neglect.
I’m just not sure if I work on one part of the guitar first, will it ruin the next step? I figure there should be some order to the chaos in front of me
Here’s some pics of the neck and body warp


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:56 am 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:49 pm
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First name: peter
Last Name: havriluk
City: granby
State: ct
Zip/Postal Code: 06035
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
These are my opinions, worth what's being paid for them:

Mercy! The neck block looks thinner than the end block. Trapeze bridge? OP needs to clarify the neck condition. Twisted? ski-jump fingerboard? This thing have a working truss rod? If the fingerboard is flat enough, then OP can use the ability to rotate the neck for a proper neck angle and use the reinstalled back to lock in the neck angle. On a good day the neck wouldn't need to come off, and would be really useful in place to help setting the neck angle. Provided that the neck is otherwise usable. If the neck's not usable in place, I think it would be time to build a shadow box and hang it on a wall. My opinion.

That crack in the back...my idea is to cleat the crack like it was joining bookmatched sides and carefully tape off the outside of the crack, build up a dam and fill the gap from the outside with epoxy. Least invasion of the finish. Epoxy can be dyed (bit of stain?) so the repair can step into the background. Followed by some real careful scraping, no sanding. Tape real good (electrical tape?) so glue won't creep under the tape dam. Maybe gel CA instead of epoxy.

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Peter Havriluk


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:43 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
Yes. It has a trapeze bridge

As for the neck, it has the “ski jump”. Problem is, where the neck joins the body, it has deformed the top as well. So the top is deformed around the top bout and top half of the sound hole. Basically as the neck warped, it took the body with it.

There is no truss rod in the guitar. I’ve tested it with a heavy magnet to see if one was hidden in the neck.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:46 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
Here’s a pic of the front


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:28 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
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Steam the neck off, it will need to be reset when you are all done. The back crack should probably have a piece of whatever kind of wood that is fitted into the crack and then cleats over the top. Rebrace the back. The guitar was built with hide glue, you should use that for any repair as it will reconstitute with the old stuff. The top ladder braces look to be OK, repair anything that isn't.

Once the box is closed back up you can reset the neck to match. You probably will have to do serious fret work - I would probably pull them all, sand the neck flat and refret. One big advantage of the tailpiece is that you don't have the rotational torque at the bridge, only the perpendicular component and with reasonable break angle that shouldn't be a problem.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:55 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
Freeman wrote:
Steam the neck off, it will need to be reset when you are all done. The back crack should probably have a piece of whatever kind of wood that is fitted into the crack and then cleats over the top. Rebrace the back. The guitar was built with hide glue, you should use that for any repair as it will reconstitute with the old stuff. The top ladder braces look to be OK, repair anything that isn't.

Once the box is closed back up you can reset the neck to match. You probably will have to do serious fret work - I would probably pull them all, sand the neck flat and refret. One big advantage of the tailpiece is that you don't have the rotational torque at the bridge, only the perpendicular component and with reasonable break angle that shouldn't be a problem.


I appreciate the input!

Should I attempt to somehow flatten the top? It’s really warped near the sound hole and on the upper bout due to the neck pressing down in that area from tension.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:12 pm 
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Koa
Koa

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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
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xodus wrote:
I appreciate the input!

Should I attempt to somehow flatten the top? It’s really warped near the sound hole and on the upper bout due to the neck pressing down in that area from tension.


You might add another brace in the upper bout, maybe something like a popsicle, but I don't think you will have any luck trying to flatten it. The whole idea of doing a neck reset is to make the angle work with the geometry of the guitar, what ever it is. As long as the upper bout has not failed structurally I would just reset it to the bridge you will be using.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:26 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
Freeman wrote:
xodus wrote:
I appreciate the input!

Should I attempt to somehow flatten the top? It’s really warped near the sound hole and on the upper bout due to the neck pressing down in that area from tension.


You might add another brace in the upper bout, maybe something like a popsicle, but I don't think you will have any luck trying to flatten it. The whole idea of doing a neck reset is to make the angle work with the geometry of the guitar, what ever it is. As long as the upper bout has not failed structurally I would just reset it to the bridge you will be using.


A popsicle brace idea is a great one! I think that’s the way I’ll have to go before attempting to take the neck off for sure


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:50 pm 
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First name: Carl
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City: Forest Ranch
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Zip/Postal Code: 95942
Country: USA
Focus: Build
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You'll probably still need to take the neck off to get it right. I had to do it to a '54 Kay jumbo to return it to being a player.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:29 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
xodus wrote:
A popsicle brace idea is a great one! I think that’s the way I’ll have to go before attempting to take the neck off for sure


You can tell real fast. Put a straight edge on the fretboard and measure the height of the end off the top. The measure the bridge you are going to use at its very lowest adjustment (I assume you have some sort of floating bridge or will buy one). The fret plane should just hit the top of the bridge at its very lowest adjustment. If it is significantly lower you'll need to reset.

The good news is that with all the hide glue I see the neck will come right off and should be easy to set. Besides, you get bragging rights - "I did my first neck reset"

Most of the function of the popsicle brace is to keep the finger board extension from cracking the top. The UTB is supposed to keep the upper bout flat. I don't know how much luck you will have trying to flatten yours, but while you've got the back off its worth a try.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:56 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:49 pm
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First name: peter
Last Name: havriluk
City: granby
State: ct
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Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I suggest removing the neck before reinstalling the back, tend to the neck and the top, and reinstall the neck before putting on the bottom. OP will have complete control over neck angle because the neck/neck block can be moved in and out as required by the bridge and then locked in place by attaching the back.

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Peter Havriluk


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:58 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
So upon further inspection. It seems as that the fretboard is completely broken at the fretboard extension. I had some fun and some high hopes. But I fear this one may be too far gone in terms of giving it a proper repair. I would think making a new fretboard is out of my league as of right now.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:21 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Before adding the brace, I would dampen the area of the depression with a damp rag on the inside of the guitar. Hit it with a hot air gun and then clamp it between two flat cauls. That will get it close to being flat. Then when you add the brace it should be flat and stable.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:51 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
xodus wrote:
So upon further inspection. It seems as that the fretboard is completely broken at the fretboard extension. I had some fun and some high hopes. But I fear this one may be too far gone in terms of giving it a proper repair. I would think making a new fretboard is out of my league as of right now.


You have to decide when you've reached that point (or sometimes you decide before you ever start). This looked like such a good candidate for learning a whole lot of useful techniques but is the guitar really worth putting that much effort into? We sometimes saw a fretboard off doing a reset, it might be reasonable to go ahead and then attempt to fret it - you might end up gluing the frets back in at the break. But then you have the problem of no truss rod, pulling all the frets and sanding the f/b.... It just keeps going on.

Replacing a fretboard could be an option, several of the supply houses sell slotted boards for what I consider a reasonable price or you could put together a quick and dirty slotting box.

Don't give up entirely, but do use some sense in your decision process.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:21 am 
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First name: Carl
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Country: USA
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I had an ebony fretboard break off at the body joint on an old SSStewart when doing a neck reset. Glued it up as Freeman describes and it worked OK.
Keep at it. Don't give up yet. Seems like I spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to fix my self caused mistakes. Some end up being attractive "features."


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:53 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
Ok. You guys are the best. You’ve convinced me to keep trying. First thing I have to do, is get a steaming rig so I can remove the neck.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:52 pm 
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First name: Carl
Last Name: Dickinson
City: Forest Ranch
State: California
Zip/Postal Code: 95942
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Check your local thrift stores for a Mr Coffee expresso machine or get something like this https://www.amazon.com/Handheld-Multi-P ... lp_pl_dp_4.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:44 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:18 am
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First name: Matt
Focus: Repair
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Ok. And just to be clear. An old espresso machine, a good rubber hose from the auto store, and a needle to pump a basketball should do the trick?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:59 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
xodus wrote:
Ok. And just to be clear. An old espresso machine, a good rubber hose from the auto store, and a needle to pump a basketball should do the trick?


That is what I use. You will need to disable the flow of water out thru the part that holds the grounds - I put a couple of layers of aluminum foil in the little coffee holder and then filled it with sand.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:26 pm
Posts: 253
First name: Carl
Last Name: Dickinson
City: Forest Ranch
State: California
Zip/Postal Code: 95942
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I've got the setup from stewmac, https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-a ... eamer.html.
It builds up a lot of pressure when the needle's in the neck joint. so make good connections eek .


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