Workshop: Seam Solution

Here's an Epiphone Byron in dire straights! A couple weeks ago I mentioned to the owner that the neck was off on this guy -- meaning I was ready to reset it. That was a bit lazy as a descriptor, as the process for fixing the ills of this guitar doesn't even involve me taking the neck out of the joint -- the real problem here is that the seams have failed seriously over half of the top and back joins to the sides. There's evidence of the same near the endblock, but that was repaired -- and with some sort of epoxy -- years ago. The neckblock was loose enough at the joint that I could wiggle it around easy-peasy.

In the above photo you can see how I've pried the seam near the (entirely detached) neckblock to get access for prepping the seams to go back together. Both the top and back seams were mostly unglued so the geometry had shifted quite a bit (the binding was pulled 1/16"+ out from the heel as the back receded from it.

The top had the same problem and both top/back seams were open on either side of the heel right down to below the waist.

I wanted to show this closeup in case someone was wondering what plywood looks like on old guitars -- here you can clearly see that the back is made of 4-ply material with two poplar cores and two outer veneer layers. The sides are the same.

In this picture you can see a slightly criminal act. Because the seams seem to have deteriorated both due to dryness of the glue and also the delamination of the first layer of ply on the back, I've decided to "pin" the heel area while I clamp it all up. Violin makers/repairmen do this all the time and I think it's necessary in this case as the distortion of the overall shape was so wonky.

In my case I'm going to install a strap button and screw to hold everything in place while it all clamps-up overnight. Because I'm skeptical of the small neckblock's gluing surface in relation to the ply, I'm going to leave some sort of "pin" in for the long haul, but I'm not sure if the strap button will remain or whether I'll hide it and clean-up the looks -- that I'll be leaving to the owner's discretion.

I did this bit a while back -- and I've been trying to get to the rest of the guitar ever since. Oh well! Next week!

No comments: