View Full Version : Broken Guitar body repair

06-04-2007, 07:11 AM
I have a repair I am attempting on 2 guitars. One is an Epiphone dot that has no electronics and a body crack at the upper f-hole. The crack is about 2" long and is through the wood. The other is a Strat body that has multiple cracks that are alost through the whole body. What would be the best way to repair the crack and get the best sound from them once sompleted. These are project pieces that I amp practicing on so that I have some experience when I start my guitar repair biz in the future.

06-04-2007, 07:52 PM
Choosing the right glue to use is about the hardest part of some repairs. It varies such that a blanket recommendation can't really be made.

I'd check out frets.com and search about the repairs and glues that Frank Ford uses on that site-that's a good start, I think.


06-05-2007, 11:52 AM
Regarding the Epiphone: by through the wood, I suppose you mean that the crack goes completely through the top of the guitar? Or does it only go through the upper most lamination(s) of the plywood top?

Can you clamp the cracks on these guitar's closed? If so, wood glue is your best choice:

Hot hide glue is great for closed or hairline crack repairs because it is easy to clean up and creates a very strong bond. If you don't have the experience and equipment necessary to use hot hide glue (more on that subject here, if you're interested, under pictures #17 and 18:

http://fingerlakesguitarrepair.com/pages/repair-descriptions/neckfrets/neck-reset/martin-ukulele-neck-reset.php )

a good runner up would be "franklin's titebond liquid hide wood glue". A good third choice would be "franklin's titebond original wood glue". Both of those titebond products are available at my local hardware store and the big box stores.

If the cracks can't be clamped completely closed (also called "open") a gap filling glue would be a good choice. Medium viscosity super glue (available at www.stewmac.com ) and epoxy both work in such applications. They can also be used to "touch up" the finish.

It's just about always best to use hide glue on closed cracks though, because it creates better wood to wood bond. Also, since it sounds like you're just getting started with repairs: hide glue (and to a degree, original titebond) can be unglued and rerepaired if the cracks are not properly aligned when they are glued up.

I think a repair guy named Dan Earliwine wrote a repair article recently where he worked hide glue deep into the cracked body of a les paul, then used super glue to replace missing splinters and finish near the surface of the crack...

I hope this helps.

06-06-2007, 06:27 AM
Thanks, Nate. One last question, wht is the best way to get the glue into the cracks? I don't think letting it bleed into the cracks will work.

06-06-2007, 07:38 AM
It's difficult to address your specific gluing situations as I haven't seen your guitar in person, so I'll just throw out some general "gluing guidelines".

Cracks in the sides and plates of a jazz guitar, flat top or classical can usually be glued up by working the glue into the crack with your clean fingers. If a crack goes all the way through, it's a good idea to work the glue into the crack until a small amount has worked its way through the piece of wood.

Glue can sometimes be applied to deep cracks with a syringe, pippette or by putting a bit of water into the crack first then forcing the crack open and closed so it suctions the glue in (only do this with water soluable glues like original titebond or hide glue). You'll probably have to do some combination of the above mentioned application methods.

Deep cracks sometimes require the use of a long, thin probe to work the glue into the joint (a thinned out putty kife, thinned butter knife, cake server, etc...). Usually, this entails forcing the crack open a bit. That approach isn't always ideal as the probe may tend to create splinters deep in the crack which, in turn, won't necessarily allow you to clamp the workpiece back together as tightly as you might otherwise.

Let us know how it turns out!