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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:49 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
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My experience is limited. Up to this point all the head stock repairs I've done have either been, previous repair failures, (I've added back straps and new face plates to both of those, as there was missing wood and not much gluing surface) or inexpensive guitars that didn't warrant a major repair and the customer was fine with the risk involved with simply gluing/clamping the crack.

So I have a mid-range Martin guitar here that has likely just succumbed to the "heavy" (not medium, he's decided for the future to stick to mediums) strings its owner regularly uses. There's no glue joint failure, just a fairly significant crack running along the grain. I should have no problem getting sufficient glue inside the crack and clamping it closed, the finish isn't even disturbed around the crack, it should look pretty much invisible when its done.

So my question is simply this, when it comes to cracked head stocks a back strap or splines will be a sure fix, but are they overkill and unnecessary for a simple job like this?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:16 pm 
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First name: Chris
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On a break that clean, I wouldn't bother. Touch up the finish, and call it good.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:25 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Rarely.

Not a fan of splines and back straps and instead tool-up with a Collins head stock repair jig (threads here on how to make one and on FRETS.net) and you usually won't need them.

IIRC correctly since we do lots of head stock repairs because of our videos and special tooling we only used splines once and regretted it.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
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Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
Hesh wrote:
Rarely.

Not a fan of splines and back straps and instead tool-up with a Collins head stock repair jig (threads here on how to make one and on FRETS.net) and you usually won't need them.

IIRC correctly since we do lots of head stock repairs because of our videos and special tooling we only used splines once and regretted it.


Now I've got to ask, why regret?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:03 pm 
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Hesh can answer for himself, but I bet it's because it's of lot of time, work, and bigger charges - for no or little improvement over just gluing up the dang thing.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:24 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Chris Pile wrote:
Hesh can answer for himself, but I bet it's because it's of lot of time, work, and bigger charges - for no or little improvement over just gluing up the dang thing.


Exactly and Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to you Chris and Connor.

Much more work as Chris said and I'll add way more risk because if you screw it up you either fix it or buy it.

We price accordingly too so this is not a cheap repair with us and I don't have my list here but we are around $300 to do one without splines or back straps.

We don't and won't promise invisibility but 90% of ours are invisible and the 10% that isn't you really have to look for it to see that it's been repaired.

Regarding the pricing this is something I spend a lot of time and effort considering and studying what others do all over the country

When you repair a broken headstock you are providing value at a level way beyond a simple head stock repair. You are saving the instrument from the scrap heap and that's............................value! Value deserves to be compensated hence what we charge.

We are also selective in what we take in. If the headstock is a mess, the instrument is not great anyway we might decline if we don't think that it will go together nicely. We have no problem picking at fibers and getting everything in place but some breaks AND how they were abused afterwards are better off not taken in and we make no bones about this.

A huge part of being a successful Luthier is not only knowing how to do the work with top shelf skills and knowledge but also knowing that unwanted liability can destroy your business and reputation. I'm generally speaking here but the Luthier who thinks that they can fix it all perfectly all of the time is going to fail ultimately not because of their chops, knowledge, the market, a specific repair or instrument but because of their ego.

BTW again in my studies for that book I might write the number one reason why most Luthiers try and fail and then get out of the trade is trying to be all things to all folks.

If a head stock repair looks overly problematic turn it away.

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These users thanked the author Hesh for the post (total 3): DanKirkland (Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:06 pm) • Clinchriver (Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:04 pm) • Smylight (Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:37 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:11 pm 
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Talk about good timing..... A big local store called me about a peghead break on a Peavey 5 string bass.... My kneejerk reaction was, "Peavey? Toss it!". But I'll probably go look at it in the morning and give an estimate.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:55 am 
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Chris Pile wrote:
Talk about good timing..... A big local store called me about a peghead break on a Peavey 5 string bass.... My kneejerk reaction was, "Peavey? Toss it!". But I'll probably go look at it in the morning and give an estimate.

If you decide not to do it, send it my way...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:19 am 
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Quote:
If you decide not to do it, send it my way...


What? You give up the gubmint job already?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:41 am 
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Splines cause more problems than they fix a lot of times.

This neck would likely have been fine after the first repair if splines were not used but they were and it actually weakened the neck!
https://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2015 ... epair.html

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post (total 2): Chris Pile (Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:56 am) • Hesh (Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:45 am)
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:43 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Hesh wrote:

If a head stock repair looks overly problematic turn it away.



Or call me! ;)

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https://www.howardguitarsdelaware.com/


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:49 am 
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B. Howard wrote:
Hesh wrote:

If a head stock repair looks overly problematic turn it away.



Or call me! ;)


What we turn away is more often than not turned away because the repair would be poorly done or compromised for one factor or another. There is also the instances of a $199 guitar with a $300 head stock break.

I don't know why anyone would want to have anything that we turned away when the reason we turn stuff away is not our skill set it's the thing is junk and will never be right no matter who does it.

So I won't be calling you or anyone for that matter. :)

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas Brian

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:58 am 
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Quote:
Splines cause more problems than they fix a lot of times.

This neck would likely have been fine after the first repair if splines were not used but they were and it actually weakened the neck!


Someone went to a LOT of trouble to do a really crummy job. But Brian saved it.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:01 pm 
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Hesh wrote:
There is also the instances of a $199 guitar with a $300 head stock break.



Or the more common $500 neck re-set on a $100 guitar.

I point out the price factor and recommend against but in the end if they want to pay (in advance) and wait the allotted time I take their money. If I got the time in my schedule it's just another guitar to me..... I am ultimately in the people business as I have said before. There is a class of guitar owner that will pay premiums actually for repairs exactly like this for sentimental reasons. And I have developed a few good client relationships that started with sentimental underwater jobs where the repair cost 2-3 timed the value of the guitar.

Even some of the higher end Gibby work I do.... I Did an ES 125 for a guy where the bill was easily twice the resale value of the instrument when done. It was his Dad's guitar when he was young and he spent a decade tracking down a busted husk and even tracked down the original electronics that his dad had in it. Should that be trashed on a cost analysis basis? Not if I can help it anyway.

I do turn work away but I guess just on a different set of criteria...

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post (total 2): DanKirkland (Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:59 pm) • Hesh (Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:33 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:40 pm 
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B. Howard wrote:
Splines cause more problems than they fix a lot of times.

This neck would likely have been fine after the first repair if splines were not used but they were and it actually weakened the neck!
https://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2015 ... epair.html

Hey Brian, I was just wondering - I have a Les Paul that I bought with a missing headstock for $60 to learn my chops. I’m really happy with how my replacement headstock turned out having done a scarfe joint, but the repair is ghosting through the finish slightly. Do you reckon if I stripped it back and used your epoxy wrap technique it would resolve this? The joint was pretty good but clearly not perfect. Finish is acrylic 1k base with pre-cat nitro clear. Image

Image
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:13 pm 
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As I see it, if it’s a short grain break then there is no avoiding a spline or alternative.

I’m not a fan of splines installed in a captivated slot due to the end grain to end grain glue condition.

To avoid that, I developed a jig that sweep cuts a slot into which a radius biscuit is installed.

After first glueing the headstock back in place, the process of adding splines looks like this...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The full repair can be seen here:

https://www.facebook.com/16186114050187 ... 119174536/

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:41 am 
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Well done!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:08 am 
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David

Very nice work on that. Fine finish too

Ed



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:52 am 
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Bosco Birdswood wrote:
B. Howard wrote:
Splines cause more problems than they fix a lot of times.

This neck would likely have been fine after the first repair if splines were not used but they were and it actually weakened the neck!
https://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2015 ... epair.html

Hey Brian, I was just wondering - I have a Les Paul that I bought with a missing headstock for $60 to learn my chops. I’m really happy with how my replacement headstock turned out having done a scarfe joint, but the repair is ghosting through the finish slightly. Do you reckon if I stripped it back and used your epoxy wrap technique it would resolve this? The joint was pretty good but clearly not perfect. Finish is acrylic 1k base with pre-cat nitro clear. Image

Image
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



Finish "ghosting" is quite normal for a repair like that. No matter what you use to finish over it it will show, it is caused by the different pieces of wood reacting slightly differently to RH

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:05 am 
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My 2 cents, Looks nice.

I do not like curved splines like that however. They are completely dependant on whatever glue surface is on the sides. The entire bottom edge of the spline and bottom of the trench are all end grain joint now...... So you gave up the largest part of the glue surface to the new pieces that you are now saying must hold it all together. Yours are longer than the biscuit style typically used that are simply cut in with a 4" blade as so many do. That may or may not make it any stronger.

I typically cut mine at an angle like a mini neck blank and run them completely up to the bottom of the FB under the neck. When I put them in it is for one reason only, the break and neck are so compromised there is little other choice so I replace as much badd wood as I can and restore as much stability as possible.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 am 
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B. Howard wrote:
My 2 cents, Looks nice.

I do not like curved splines like that however. They are completely dependant on whatever glue surface is on the sides...


A fair concern, and why I size the biscuit with a slight gap and use West System epoxy ensuring adhesion on all sides of the biscuit.

Additionally the grain orientation of the biscuit is biased to the substrate grain as an added measure.

This is a solid repair.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:45 am 
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I think the pictured repair, to my eyes, is a wonderful rescue of a useless guitar unless such a repair was made. As in fixing a dented fender, it's never going to be un-dented, so different rules apply. Like was the repair about as good as could be done given the limitations of the context of the repair?

About broken headstocks, maybe a neck replacement sometimes offers a workable solution? No idea, just asking.

And thanks to everyone for discussing/photographing.

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