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  • L'ami Gueri 11:38PM

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Broken Headstock

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Comments

  • Posts: 15
    repairing a broken headstock is an easy job for any luthier. I repaired 2 broken headstocks today, on a classical guitar and a Les Paul. It's not very expensive if you just want the guitar to be palayable again. The most expensive part of the job is having a new finish done so it looks good. It's only cosmetic and will not make the guitar sound better. This never happens with walnut or maple necks. Mahogany is cheaper and easier to carve, but breaks too easily with steel strings
    jonpowlJoseBucodominicleeweAndyW
  • dominicleewedominicleewe London, United KingdomNew Altamira Mod M
    Posts: 9
    @jonpowl it's just the way that it fell that caused it to break. It fell face first so the tension of the strings coupled with the force of the fall caused it to break
  • dominicleewedominicleewe London, United KingdomNew Altamira Mod M
    Posts: 9
    @CyrilGaffiero do you think this particular repair needs reinforcement splines? Or gluing will be enough?
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,657
    In my experience (not a pro-luthier/repair tech) a good glue joint is as strong as the wood. I think it is good to go as is at least that is what I would do. I'd probably use epoxy though since the break is a bit jagged that gives you plenty of time to line everything up and clamp in place. Yeah the tricky part is the cosmetics. Can't help you with that one though, sorry. But a skilled repair guy can do that too if you want to pay the extra bucks but just gluing it back together (if all the pieces are there) should not be a big deal.
    MarkA
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    edited March 19 Posts: 406
    I agree. If done properly the glue joint will be as strong as the wood itself. I used t obuild carbon fiber race car chassis and in the event of any accident damage, it would always be the adjacent carbon fibers that broke before the epoxy glue joints.
    As for the cosmetics, that is up to you, but bearing in mind Michael advertises the Altamira Model M at $650 for a new one, I would suggest there is not much point in asking a professional luthier to do a proper repair job and refinish.
    If using epoxy, try gently, so as not to dislodge any loose splinters, to do a dry fit to test how and where to clamp, and check and double check all will be in alignment. Allow more than the manufacturer's minimum set time, a day or two even better before restringing. Once set, epoxy can not be undone. Then, when the joint is glued and clamped you can use a little acetone on a cotton bud to clean up any excess squeezed out before it sets. Finally, using a fine grit sandpaper and maybe a little wood filler if any splinters fell off, with some patience and your best reading glasses you should be able to blend the join smooth. When done right is best done by feel rather than relying on eyesight. I would certainly give it a go, just check everything twice before committing. If it was a ten grand Favino of course I would go to the pros, but for the price of an Altamira, there is not much to lose.
  • Posts: 15
    I always repair broken headstocks with good wood glue (titebond). If the two parts perfectly match together, it should be stronger than the wood. I repaired a Les Paul broken headstock two years ago, it broke again a year later, but it's the wood near the glue joint that broke, not the glue joint itself. A friend of mine had a Di Mauro that had been repaired 5 times, in 5 different locations. You can try to do it yourself, any good quality wood glue should work fine. You can also go se a luthier, Killy Nonis in, Kent is very good, or any guitar luthier near you. Once again this is a repair we do all the time. French luthiers don't charge more than 50 or 60€ for a simple repair, 100 to 150€ if some refinish job needs to be done.
    JoseBuco
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 406
    ................. Once again this is a repair we do all the time. French luthiers don't charge more than 50 or 60€ for a simple repair, 100 to 150€ if some refinish job needs to be done.
    Wow, we sure could use someone like you in Australia ! The so-called 'pros' here all like to try to baffle us with b*llsh*t to justify their $$$$ bills. That is why, long ago, I started learning myself how to fix things.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited March 20 Posts: 2,657
    Oh yes, I forgot to mention do a dry fit/clamp first. Be aware though that the glue lubricates so clamp in a way that the piece won't shift when you apply clamping pressure (i.e. the clamp(s) as perpendicular to the joint as possible to prevent sliding). On a tricky joint you can rig up cauls and fixturing to keep the parts in alignment but that just depends on how it broke. I've even predrilled and used a couple of small nails (brads) to keep things lined up in critical situations. Pull the brads later after the joint cures (leave them sticking up so you can grab them with pliers and gently twist to free them) and hide the tiny holes with a bit of matching putty/stain/whatever.

    Yes, wood glue (titebond) works great too I only suggested the epoxy since it allows a novice woodworker more working time to get the pieces lined up properly before it starts to set up, BUT epoxy really is slippery before it starts to set up so make sure the joint doesn't slip out of alignment.

    Disclaimer, take it with a grain of salt, again I'm NOT a professional repair tech. That is really an art in itself.
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