Lost cause? MIJ lawsuit LP

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#1
I found this for $40, but I think I might have acquired a wall art piece. It was marked $250, but when I pointed out the visible body cracking we worked a deal where they at least got something for it.







It doesn’t look promising. I think I will call her “Splinters”


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drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#2
So, do I try to get some expanding glue like Gorilla Glue onto the cracks? A more liquid type? Just plain old wood glue? Looking to shore up the devastation if possible!


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#3
No, you don't want expanding glue because the cracks opening up will have distorted the shape of the guitar, and adding expanding glue will just fix that in place. The best option is probably to flood the crack(s) with superglue and then clamp the sides of the body together so that you close up the cracks, and leave that overnight to dry thoroughly. Clean off as much of the glue as you can when it gets squeezed out by the clamp (acetone is a solvent for superglue so you can clean it off with that - it's often the active component of nail polish remover, which would therefore work too).

Of course, you need to have a large clamp or two and you would need to protect the sides of the body against damage from the clamp(s) (you might get away with just one). It should be possible to do it across the neck joint, putting one end of the clamp on the flat bit by the cutaway - the right side of your last picture - and then the other end on the top of the guitar, past the switch. For this operation, working on a finished guitar, I'd probably make a couple of cauls, which are wooden blocks that go between the clamp and the piece being clamped to spread the load, and then put several layers of old t-shirt or something between the caul and the guitar itself, because you'll need a fair amount of pressure to close the cracks. If you have the possibility, I'd actually make a caul with one flat side and a curved side to fit the upper part of the guitar, which would help to spread the clamping pressure across a wider surface. It wouldn't need to be very accurate if you've got some wadding between the two, but it would help.

I reckon that should work and it's worth a try. Let us know how you get on!
 

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#5
@GloopyJon

Would I want thin, medium or thick CA glue for the cracks?

For the top, it doesn’t look like it was ever glued to the body. I think I will try to find some thin strips of mahogany and glue those in place in the gap. Or maybe fill with epoxy? Not sure.

Thank for your input and help. I really appreciate it.


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#6
I'd go with thin or medium, and probably thin in the end. You want it to dribble down as far as possible so that as much of the crack is glued together as possible, and thicker glue won't penetrate down as far. I find that it's really necessary for me to have both normal and low viscosity (thin) superglue for the things that I do - for example, I've taken to using the low viscosity stuff when I install frets, together with a very thin, pipette-style nozzle which allows me to get it in the slot accurately, and without getting too much glue on the surface of the fretboard. OTOH I'm not sure if low viscosity superglue is as strong as the others...it's something I should go and look up (I've tried a quick search and haven't found anything yet).

My experience here, by the way, comes from my Ambler course where we found that there was a significant crack in the black limba body blank when we were preparing it. It wasn't large, but it definitely needed to be sorted out. We did exactly what I described above (although it was easier because it was a squared-off blank, so no problems with clamping), and it sorted out the crack perfectly, and totally invisibly.

For the top, I wouldn't do anything unless things are actually moving and there's an identifiable (or visible) problem. It's a little hard to see from your photos where it is, but from what I understand those pictures are close-ups of the pickup cavities, is that right? So the gaps are hidden when the pickups and neck are installed. However, if it is a real problem, I'd go with some wooden strips and PVA glue (Titebond or similar) for that. I don't think you have to fill all of the gaps; just enough to make sure that things aren't moving when they're not supposed to.

That's my relatively inexperienced estimation. I have very little experience of doing repairs, so feel free to ignore all of this if it doesn't make sense!
 
#7
One more thing that's worth emphasizing, even though it should be fairly obvious. With CA glue drying so quickly (although it still takes hours to fully cure, hence the advice to keep it clamped overnight), 99% of your time should be spent in preparation and making sure that it will behave as expected. So you should do a dry run of clamping it up and see if it closes up the crack properly and doesn't do anything else unexpected, don't tighten the clamp(s) too much at first and see if there's any indication that they might cause any damage on the finish of the guitar, make sure that the clamp(s) won't slip off etc. In principle, you shouldn't be removing any wood, even if it looks very rough, because it should all marry up again whereas removing wood will create gaps, but it's possible that there will be something that's got out of place and will need to be taken away. Take off as little as possible, though.

Once you're happy that everything looks good, and have everything in place and ready to go, you will need to drip the glue in there, give it a few seconds to run as deep as possible into the crack, and then get it clamped up very quickly. Superglue does set very quickly although pressure is part of the process so you do have enough time to do that, but you won't have the opportunity to clamp it up, then notice that it's not right, unclamp it and start again. It'll need to be right first time, or you risk increasing the damage.

When it's clamped up, remove as much excess glue as possible before it dries and try to make sure that you don't have any spare bits of cloth or anything else accidentally lying on the glue and which will therefore get glued onto your guitar. Equally, you might want to raise it up so that it doesn't end up glued to your work surface! When you unclamp it, you can sand any excess glue off the exposed wood easily, but use acetone / nail polish remover if there is any glue on the finish of the guitar, because you don't want to be sanding there. It might be worth checking what kind of lacquer is likely to be on there and whether the acetone will remove that before you do this - again, best to wipe it off when wet as much as possible so that you minimize the glue removal that's required when it's dried.

This is starting to sound very complicated, sorry! It isn't really that complicated, you just need to be sufficiently aware of the pitfalls to avoid any cock-ups.
 

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#8
@GloopyJon

The body is a flat mahogany slab in the bottom. In the middle is plywood about 3/8” thick and rounded. This plywood does not go full width or length of the body. The top was then bent over the plywood and attached to the main body at the edges to get the “carved” top. Only the top was never secured to the plywood center and is raised off the body a mm or 2. I can tell it was never attached because paint runs and drips of glue the bridge the gap.



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#9
I see - nice video! :) I would leave it like that unless it's causing an identifiable problem, since that's clearly how it was designed to be. As you said, it's obviously a cheap way of emulating a real carve, but I guess there's a reason why it only cost you $40! :D
 

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#10
So the guitar is back together. It has an unusual tone. Very low output pickups and very bright. I’m wondering if wax potting and 250k pots will help the brightness. I also think the craptastic plastic bridge saddles are not helping the cause. The nut is the the wrong radius for the neck, high on the E sides and low on D/G. I think I will try the super glue truck mainly because why not.



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#12
^^ Yep. Funny thing is, having a guitar just like that (30 years ago) was the gateway to me getting into single coils. The twanginess and brightness definitely shaped the songs I was writing for my band at the time in no bad way. Those guitars are also really light and can be thrown around without so much as a second thought.

To most, those cheap knockoffs are devil's spawn. To me, the experience is remembered as some of the most joy filled times of playing in a band.
 

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#13
While I was wax potting the pickups I did more work to the neck “pocket”.

It wasn’t a pocket at all, with no wood between the pickup route and the neck pocket.



That thin piece of wood you see in this early pic is broken and only about 3/16” deep and only as wide as the pickup trim ring.

To add something to push back on the neck I cut a metal “L” bracket to fit the width of the pickup route and stand up about an inch. Now the neck can be supported lengthwise by not that the neck screws.


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