Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

IconProjects, musings about guitar builds, guitar repairs, vintage tube amplifiers, old radios, travel, home renovation, and other stuff.

Headstock Crack Repair Using Hide Glue (Pt. 2 of Gibson ES-225 restoration)

You may be thinking "how is he going to inject glue into that joint?"

I have a syringe and needles I got from Stew-Mac just for this purpose.  I previously used another syringe (without a needle) for a brace repair on a Martin ukulele.

But this is a much tighter joint and I really need to get glue into the crack as deep as possible.

The 'kit' that Stew-Mac sells comes with a syringe and three needle sizes: 0.7mm, 0.9mm, and 1.2mm.

The syringe comes apart for cleaning so it's reusable.

Now, I don't like needles and I don't like handling them.

I managed to poke myself with one of them just removing it from the package.  Geez.

I intended to use the 0.7mm needle.  I did a test-fit with the needle in some different locations along the crack.  It went fine.

I felt like I needed some experience handling the needle before I used actual glue.

As it turns out, my hide glue was a bit thick.  I thinned it a little, and I also changed to a 0.9mm needle.

I tried to get the needle into the crack without breaking the old lacquer finish, but I still chipped it in a couple places.

You can see the small divots of finish I took out.  It's actually ok - I can use these as a guide for inserting the glue.  And the finish repair will fill these in any event.

Sorta looks like stitches in the finish!

The moment of truth is arriving.

Heating the hide glue in my 'glue pot.'

I mixed up a fresh batch for this job.

I rigged up my hot air gun so it was pointing at the repair area to heat it up.  It's going to take me a couple minutes to get the glue in, so the heat should keep the glue from cooling too quickly.

I also have my clamp and cauls ready to go after a test fit.

I injected the glue into the crack until it oozed out.

Then a quick swipe with a damp towel to take the excess off.

I'm not worried about the excess too much - it will clean up with water later.  I'm more concerned that I filled the joint with glue, which I did.

I think.

I hope.

Then I clamped it all up.

The custom caul on the top and a block of wood on the bottom.

It probably took about 2 minutes start to finish to glue it up and clamp it.  I think I did ok on time.

The needle got badly bent when I was inserting it into the crack.  But it kept working!

You can still see some glue in the syringe - it really only took a few cc's to fill the crack.

The nice thing about hide glue is it's easy to clean up.  I took the syringe apart, dunked it in hot water, and all the glue is gone.

After I glued it all up, I did some more reading on hide glue.  Another advantage it has over Titebond is that it doesn't 'drift' on butt joints.  It also tends to pull itself tightly together while curing, so it's perfect for this kind of crack repair.

The entire ES-225T project:
1. Starting - making a custom moulded caul for headstock break
2. Headstock break repair using hide glue (This page)
3. Filling headstock crack pt 1
4. Filling headstock crack pt 2
5. Repairing divots in top
6. Installing the tailpiece, bridge, enlarging tuner holes
7. Making a bone nut
8. Installing tuners, and wiring
9. Installing nut and pickup
10. Completed - photos of completed ES-225T
Updates March 2015:
11. Bigsby B11 Installation, Pt. 1
12. Bigsby B11 Installation, Pt. 2


Post a Comment 2 comments:

  • lee woo said...
    September 24, 2014 at 1:25 AM
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  • Paul Thomson said...
    September 26, 2014 at 4:54 AM
    A fantastic tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to create it. I’ve added your site onto our page ‘Book Binding Tutorial: Glues – Tips, Techniques, Types & Recipes’ –

    I hope our post will draw in some more visitors to your site.

    Keep up the good work and again, many thanks for taking the time to make this post.

    Have a good rest of the day,

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