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  #1  
Old 11-06-2017, 04:36 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Guild F4 CENT hr

Hello AGF,
I'm a new member/old guy. Very recently retired,(last Friday). I'm a performing musician (Full time now I guess?!?)

Short Story: My "EX" was looking for a Guild to rotate into her performance to give her SongBird a break. This F4 CE came up, she went/looked and it was pretty rough. When she declined the purchase the seller actually said, "Just take it then." Her repair tech accurately quoted a price beyond what the guitar is worth $600 +/-. SO she sent it along via my son to the retirement dinner my kids took me too, and said Congrats on Retirement, now you'll have time for a project.

The Shutterfly album is HERE

The neck is straight, needs frets but it would be playable. Theres the slightest belly behind the bridge, 1/8" - 3/16".

I've made a short list of tools and am prepared to do the tough work as needed to broaden my skills. While I'm not a luthier, I have hands, eyes and skill with wood and instruments.

IS it possible to jig up this guitar, steam and gently pull (or push) this top into position, and will it stay? Worst case? a new top & neck reset? Happy middle ground?

Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. After reading a few forums I thought this one would be my best choice.

Gary
NYC
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2017, 05:20 PM
Frankieabbott Frankieabbott is offline
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I don't know much about fixing up/repairing guitars. I would like to know more though so will be following this thread with interest. This Guild surely deserves to look and play beautifully again. Best of luck.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2017, 05:24 PM
Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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The ''seller" did the right thing.

You'll have some top braces to reglue or replace, and lots of cracks to repair and reinforce. I doubt steam or heat would be needed - the bulge behind the bridge is insignificant by comparison to the caved-in area, which might straighten out when you get the braces back together again.

But first, you should read up on this problem:

Fingerboard Top Crack
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2017, 05:37 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Yes, If one pulls the back off for good access, rebraces the top, cleats the cracks, you would have a great guitar.

Steve
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2017, 05:40 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Cracks and shifting

Thats a great page Frank Ford,
Aside from some nicely documented technique regarding cleats and bracing, the part that jumped out at me was:

<<In the heat, the glue under the top brace became weakened and allowed the top to slide over the brace. Later, the glue joint's strength was restored as the instrument cooled.>>

I've reached in with my fat hands and gently probed the bracing. Nothing felt loose or wiggled. I tapped the top and produced no odd rattles. YET as I did all that, I knew the condition of the top meant something had to gave given way.

Its mirror time.
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  #6  
Old 11-21-2017, 12:14 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default 2 weeks later

I've purchased a set of 5 palette knives. I was also going to get an immersion water heater coil when my wonderful GF reminded me of the sous-vide heater my son gave me last year. It will hold water temperature within a degree, up to 200 deg f.

I prodded the glue line with a heated xacto blade and felt the glue yield. I'm going to be more comfortable working with the palette knives. Right tool, right job will keep my fingers and palms happy.

I'm humidifying the guitar with a sponge in a small kitchen prep bowl, sound hole covered.

Due to the degree of cave-in, I don't think I could press this back into shape in one sitting. Additionally, if the brace glue released, and then reset, I'll have to work the braces off before I can attempt to coax the top back to a reasonable shape, then re-glue the braces, cleats for cracks, and additional support as needed.

So, my specific question is:
1. Once I'm ready to clamp/press the top, what final action should I take with the delicate wood to avert a complete disaster. I've seen heat lamps, and a steamer, (which I have).
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2017, 12:20 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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The souz-vide heater worked great. Its a tall device, made for a deep soup pot. I didn't want to drop my tools into the deep pot of hot water and have to fish them out every 25 seconds. I took a really old Tupperware short pitcher, cut the bottom of the handle so it would hang on the edge of the pot. Then I drilled a decent number of 3/8" holes in the sides, enough to let the circulating water pass through the pitcher. Also drilled a few smaller holes in the bottom for drainage and additional circulation.

I had to test it out and after filling the soup pot with hot-hot tap water, I set the heater to 175 and the temperature started to climb from about 130 or so. Impatient as I am, at around 160 or so I took one of the knives and applied pressure to the backs glue line. In short order I had over a one inch slice to work a helper blade into. I only went up to 2 inches total distance because I wasn't going to do the disassembly standing in the kitchen.

This back is going to come right off. Then on to the top braces that have slipped or let go. I'm planning to use an iron for heat, set to 150 F, I will use a laser remote temp gun to find that setting. I hope theres room to work with the iron through the open back.

More to follow.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2017, 02:38 PM
BradHall BradHall is offline
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Looking at the straight edge shot, it appears a neck reset is needed. Raising the sunk in area in front of the bridge will make the plane of the fingerboard from the nut to the bridge even worse. The photo looking down the neck from the top looks like there is a significant twist in the neck also. Maybe it's just a trick of the lens, but it looks bad.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2017, 03:04 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Thanks for the input Brad,
I just looked down the neck from the headstock and bridge side as well. I saw the twist in the photo, but visually, in person, everything seems in-line, aside from a slight back-bow, but its not strung up.

I imagine that removing the neck, before taking the back off, would keep the instrument more structurally sound while I work the neck out. Then take the back OFF, address the top, bracing and cracks, put the back ON and re-align and glue the neck.

This is the 4th week of my retirement and I've been busier than ever. Gigs have dropped off from the summer/fall and projects are taking shape everyday, including this one.
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  #10  
Old 12-14-2017, 08:40 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Additional progress

I managed to remove the pick guard with some heat from a hair dryer. I don't think this pick guard is reusable. I'm heating and peeling off some of the goo and its slow and tedious. Is there something that would assist in the removal of the sticky stuff without wreaking havoc on the wood?



I also worked through the glue securing the fretboard extension to the top. Once all the glue was released, the fretboard/neck appeared to return to a more natural angle.



Using an 18" Stew-Mac straight edge, I ran across the upper frets to the bridge being careful not to bear down on the floating extension. The straight edge appeared to line up to the bridge just a hair above the saddle.



This somewhat vague observation then leads me to wonder if a neck reset is actually needed. I got to peek at some of the top braces when I removed the pick-up controls/battery assy. I could see some gaps straight away. If I just proceed with the back removal to address the top and its bracing, and clamp and glue the top flat again, it seems possible that the neck to bridge angle might be acceptable for a playable action. I could always do the root canal reset after the fact if indeed its needed.

Re-gluing the extension to the top however might present its own issues, but perhaps nothing that judicious clamping couldn't solve.
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2017, 04:44 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Back off (numerous pics)

Snow this afternoon in NYC and my gig tonight (on the calendar since May or June) got canceled earlier this week. Grrr. So I set-up my Sous-vide contraption and heated up my cheap as hell palette knives. The wood handles where they connect to the blade shaft, are so thin 2 of them just gave way. I cleaned the break, drilled deeper, mixed some epoxy and re-stuck the business end into the handle. Better than new.

The "Light strip" in the 1st and 2nd photo is where I attempted to lift a small thin patch brace off. You can see its sister still mounted. I was still in "hot knife mode". Step AWAY from the tools!!











The front cross brace is floating almost end to end. Theres an X brace setup with the upper and lower (forward legs) of the main X brace lifted (in the case of the lower bout) or cracked and poorly repaired (upper bout).

The bracing from the X point (marked with a gauze band-aid) rearward seem to be secure.

Starting at the front though, the cross brace thats almost completely loose has its ends captured under the top itself. I haven't researched a brace removal technique yet, and I will. If anyone has experience to share regarding this, by all means, I'd love to hear it.

I might poke around some Guild forums and get some insights.

All in all, I like this experience. As if taking the back of a guitar for the first time isn't enough, the project is going to get quite real in the next phase.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2017, 03:23 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Waiting for braces

While I await USPS to deliver, I started to remove the existing warped and cracked braces.






The next picture is one end of the cross brace , between the sound hole and the neck block. It's not going back in.




Each forward end of the main X brace has an issue. The upper bout end is cracked and the lower bout is all but unglued back to the X. I suspect its warped from the extended misalignment and top bow.

Like I said, braces are coming, along with cleats and top repair wood.
Meanwhile I want to remove the gauze reinforcement. The work is tight, tedious, and rewarding.
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2017, 04:57 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default The braces came today.

Hooray for USPS.
Its the Stew-Mac dreadnought package plus the spruce repair panels (3), and cleat strips (3 or 4).

My chisels are at my GF's and I'm going to bring them home tomorrow. Using utility knife blades doesn't allow for the fine control needed. On the positive side it sort of prevented me from getting carried away and doing too much and the subsequent damage that would have followed.

The braces are for a larger bodied guitar, but not too far off. I'm going to center the old ones and transfer the carved profile to the new items. Cut, carve, sand.
I'm going to visit Harbor Freight for a less expensive selection of clamps. Maybe they have some items I can use.

I'm looking at a crack in the top that runs from the rear of the sound hole, past the X (just below it) all the way but stopping just before the bridge plate. I thought I would cut a triangle from the spruce top stock to cover the terminal end of the crack. Its not a wide crack overall. I'm sure the top has shrunk since it appeared.
Am I wrong to think I can close that gap? and then cleat it? I suppose I'll put some lateral compression on the top, gently with a clamp, and see if I can improve that condition, even a little. I highlighted the crack in two pictures.

I don't want to replace the Bridge plate. Is there a good reason to do so? Are my spruce top repair plates a better quality wood than what is in there? Stronger? Tighter grain?. I know I risk another can of worms yet on the other hand, I'm replacing probably all of the braces. It's a "Might as well" moment.

All the best for a wonderful safe and happy Holiday season.

Gary













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  #14  
Old 12-26-2017, 05:10 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Merry Christmas

I got some wonderful gifts and I hope you did to, but today I'm getting extreme pleasure from using my newly sharpened Stanley chisels. Oh yes indeed.


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NYC
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  #15  
Old 12-28-2017, 03:19 PM
Dezmo Dezmo is offline
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Default Braces and the Top

As part of my Xmas feast recovery I remained secluded from humanity for about 36-48 hours. I'm certain this R&R will rejuvenate me in preparation for a NYE gig. It's from 9 to 1, very local and the fact I haven't sliced my hand open working on the braces is a very good sign.
To occupy myself during the seclusion I cut, carved and fit new bracing. I thought I would sand an end profile with my 3X21 belt sander but as it turned out I just used the sander to remove large amounts of stock when needed and carved the rest with whatever worked best, chisel, utility blade, x-acto, etc.

I'm probably very close to gluing but not before I address the concave profile of the top around the sound hole, and then the cracks.

I clamped the top between two old braces overnight and not the pick-guard side of the sound hole is very close to accepting a glued brace. When I removed the clamps this morning I was so surprised to see that the top had responded so well. The two braces I used are like baseball bats and seemingly just as strong.

The upper bout adjacent to the sound hole has a more severe dip over a shorter distance. I don't want more cracks so I broke out the expresso machine and hose attachment. I applied modest steam and frequent mopping to the underside of the top. Then I clamped the section to address the very specific dip. Everything pulled up tight and I'm leaving it for a day.

Yesterdays Braces and Clamping











TODAYS CLAMPING



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Last edited by Dezmo; 12-30-2017 at 04:10 PM.
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