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 Post subject: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:11 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
Here is an interesting repair that was brought to me I'm curious as to how different people at the forum would handle it. It also seques into some of our recent discussions about what work makes sense for different levels of experience or "professionalism" and in particular, when to turn down a project.

A friend (and customer - I've built him a jazz guitar) brought me a lovely old Ibanez L5 copy that he bought quite a few years ago. It is one of the so called "lawsuit" guitars (altho my understanding is that there never really were any court cases).

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Anyway, the guitar is in beautiful condition with a lovely sunburst, well played but nothing wrong, except....

Image

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The body binding, top and back, is totally decomposing all the way around. The neck heel plate has some damage, but all the other binding and purfling is fine (neck, headstock, f-holes are all bound and there is multiple b-w-b purfling). The lacquer has aged to a lovely amber and is in remarkably good condition. There seems to be a separation of the back from the sides and neck heel block. The neck joint is a dovetail - its not going to come off easily.

My friend had taken this to a well known luthier and was told that it was not worth the cost of trying to repair it. He brought it to me for my opinion.

So my questions are

- would you repair this?
- how would you repair this?
- what would your expectations be?
- what would your estimate (or quotation) be?


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:00 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:10 pm
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First name: Chris
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Country: UK
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I think all you can do is remove the old binding and apply new. Then the question is how much time your client can afford for you to spend on trying to make it match the rest of the instrument.

I don't repair for a living so can't suggest a charge. But I'd think replacing the binding is not too expensive, it's the cosmetic follow up which costs.

If it were my guitar it would be a player, so I'd just replace and let time do the work of blending in


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:06 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 9891
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
Country: United States
Status: Professional
1). No
2). I wouldn't because at professional rates, even heavily discounted you are in to hours and hours of work.
3). I would refer the client and the instrument to someone who likes to spend lots of time on a project that may take them months or more of part time work. There are pro Luthiers who work on the side for less and like this kind of thing. Please also note any binding in decent shape is highly suspect in the near term making this something that should likely be completely rebound. As such the economics are not there, the guitar is not and will not be worth what 20 plus hours of pro time is work.... I'll add that stuff happens, the purfling may get damaged, router bits come loose, etc. All risk and no reward.
4). No estimate because of the likelihood of massive scope creep, the expertise required to do the finish matching, and most of all the opportunity cost for a Luthier with lots of other billable work this thing would put any Luthier with other work to do out of business. If I wanted to have anything to do with it I would buy it and do it for myself to insulate any client from what may not turn out well or take years to complete.

You asked.

This is not directed at you Freeman and I hope that you are doing well. We have many of our students on this forum and one of the things that we drive home to them is that one of the biggest occupational hazards of this trade is attempting to be all things to all folks. There is a time to say no and if you don't and promises get broken, delivery dates get lost in time you may find yourself flamed on-line and in front of the man in court.

We have friends who took on resets fraught with issues and were sued.....successfully.....

As such it's not about if the repair is possible or even how it might be done it's much more about why it should be avoided by any pro shop that wants to live to play another day. Another way to look at it is that I can make perhaps 30 other clients happy as clams in the time this thing would suck......



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Lonnie J Barber (Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:06 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:11 pm 
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I did one guitar that had a similar problem. The work required to duplicate the original look was more than the value of the guitar and more than the customer wanted to pay (and more than I wanted to do). He still wanted the guitar playable so we settled on replacing the binding with Ivoroid, re-gluing back and other pieces as needed and minimal cosmetic work. Lucky for me and him, the neck was not bound and the old binding came off easy.

Edit: Hesh posted at the same time so I have to admit that I did this one before I went through the class at Ann Arbor where I learned about what jobs are probably worth accepting and, more importantly, what jobs should be rejected.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Hesh (Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:25 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:38 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
A friend (and customer - I've built him a jazz guitar) brought me a lovely old Ibanez L5 copy that he bought quite a few years ago. It is one of the so called "lawsuit" guitars (altho my understanding is that there never really were any court cases).

There was actually a suit, Gibson sued Ibanez in the mid 70's. Gibson "won" the case, the headstock shape belonged to Gibson and Ibanez could not copy it. Gibson was hoping there would be much more, at the time Ibanez was building copies of the entire Gibson line, and arguably building them better than Gibson. By the time the suit was over, Ibanez had already changed the headstock to the shape on that guitar.

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These users thanked the author Rodger Knox for the post: Hesh (Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:25 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:49 pm 
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Quote:
Here is an interesting repair that was brought to me I'm curious as to how different people at the forum would handle it......... It is one of the so called "lawsuit" guitars (altho my understanding is that there never really were any court cases).


Gibson basically had their lawyers send a "cease and desist" letter. And Ibanez (and all the rest) saw the wisdom of stopping production.

Quote:
So my questions are

- would you repair this?
- how would you repair this?
- what would your expectations be?
- what would your estimate (or quotation) be?


Yes, I'd repair it, but it would be for beaucoup stacks of cash (with money up front, and more on delivery). It wouldn't be cheap, it would be in the shop for a long time (I'd say one year just to be safe). Also, other problems might pop up during the work - and the client should be forewarned. Finish touch-ups would probably be needed, too. I'd charge at least $1750 to do it - maybe even $2000 if I had trouble finding the correct binding. Keep in mind, I no longer have a brick and mortar location, and I'm trying to retire from so much heavy repair (and this one fits the bill).

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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:52 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
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They also were after copying the F5 mandolin shape, "Bell Shaped Truss Rod Covers" and mandolin tailpiece shape, he!! you couldn't even call them F5's when I started building mandolins. Guess they were in a suing mood. $$$$. Of course Half of nothing is nothing for most of us, so they gave up.

BTW, is there a reason I get the "blue box question marks" instead of photos?

I'd charge 10 bucks less than the repair shop if I did it, but probably would tell them no.

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http://www.brentrup.com


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:22 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 899
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Responses were pretty much what I expected - Hesh for sure wouldn't take it on, Chris saying it could be as much as the value of the guitar. Haans, I don't know why you gete the blue boxes - these are Photobucket links (which I hate and I'm trying to find an alternative). Anyone else having trouble seeing them?

OK, the rest of the story. I said yes, I would try to do it. I told him that I couldn't promise what the results would be like but it would be better than it was. I picked a number out of the air and told him it could take 10 hours or more. I also told him that I was flattered by his confidence that I could even do it (or his foolishness...)

I routed the old binding off back to the purfling lines, trying to leave the glue and just a tiny bit of the binding behind.

Image

I scraped and chiseled the remaining glue and binding as close as possible to the purfling. The area around the neck and cutaway had to all be cleaned up by hand. The separation at the heel I wedged open and worked some Titebond into it, then clamped closed. It was masked on both sides of the channel, basically at the purfling

Image

Then I bound it, plane and simple, but being very careful not to get glue on any of the lacquered surfaces. I used medium CA where I could lay down a little bead in the channel, and thin CA where I had to wick it in from the outside. A couple of funky spots - the area in the horn is actually taller than the piece of binding so I laminated a second piece on and in the picture I still haven't dealt with the heel plate.

Binding is just a hair proud of the back and top so I carefully scraped it back. Sides were pretty much perfect

Image

Did a whole bunch of drop filling and scraping with CA to fill imperfections, then two thin coats of lacquer with a drop of amber dye while the binding was still masked. The pulled the tape and shot about 6 coats of clear with just a hair of overspray onto the old lacquer. Carefully sanded and buffed

Image

Image

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Far from perfect, but so much better than it was. I'm proud to say that I don't think I did any harm and my jazz friend is once again playing his old lawsuit. Here it is with my little blond

Image



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Bryan Bear (Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:46 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:17 am
Posts: 659
Location: United States
Great save of that beauty!


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:13 pm 
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First name: Ed
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Freeman

How close to your time estimate where you?

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:12 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
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Are you paying bucket monthly for their service?
I quit them, and am using Postimage. Seems to work...so far. Still, don't know why others may be getting the photos and I'm not...

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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:34 am 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:27 pm
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First name: john
Last Name: shelton
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Nice job!


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:13 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 899
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Ruby50 wrote:
Freeman

How close to your time estimate where you?

Ed


Its really hard to say but probably pretty close. Like so many of these projects there was a lot of dead time - waiting for drop fill to cure, spraying one thin coat around the edge then cleaning up the gun, standing around with a cup of coffee scratching my head.... I certainly wasn't efficient, but then I never am.

I can see why no sane businessman would agree to something like this but I think its precisely the reason some of us build guitars in the first place. I know that for the cost of my materials I can buy a really good PacRim guitar - building one myself makes absolutely no sense at all. But we do it anyway.

I see the flaws when I look at this, my customer sees an old friend returned to its place on his lap. When he asked what he owed me I gave him a reasonable price, he paid me a nice bonus.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: fumblefinger (Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:31 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:30 pm 
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First name: Chris
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State: Kansas
Country: Good old US of A
Color me impressed!

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Stop saying "How stupid can you get?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge!


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:16 pm 
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City: Lenoir City
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Zip/Postal Code: 37772
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Focus: Repair
Nicely done Freeman!

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Steve Smith
"Music is what feelings sound like"


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:21 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
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First name: Jan-Alexis
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Country: Canada
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Status: Amateur
That's a great save! Well played.


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 Post subject: Re: Decomposing binding
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

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First name: Nat
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Imgur is a great host in place of photobucket fyi


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