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Old 04-26-2015, 09:21 PM
lucascantelle lucascantelle is offline
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Exclamation Martin Guitar Cracked - Chances to repair?

*Sorry, the pics are too big and I could not resize them.
Hello guys!

Nice to meet you guys! I'm new and this is my first topic here.

I'm REALLY concerned about my guitar and I want to share my doubts with you, looking forward an answer that can help me.
Two months ago I bought a Martin DX1AE, used from eBay. With a crack in the body, from the bridge all the way to the end of body. It is not deep and doesnt affects the sound. I have been busy and with personal issues during the last two months and unfortunately only now I can give the properly attention to my guitar.
I live in New York City, in an apartment with the AC always on. Concerned about humidity, i bought an Hygrometer and an Oasis Plus Humidifier.
The guitar is always protected by the case, and inside the case the humidity is 30%-40% and temperature 60F-70F, even with the humidifier.

Ok, there we go.
As I said before, without time to play, just opening the case to put the humidifier, I never saw the crack before. Yes, Im disappointed about that and blaming me for being stupid.
In my guitar, under the bridge, there are different shades of wood, masking the crack. Probably the crack enhanced during the last days and I just realized now. At the time, I have no money to pay a luthier and I need to repair by myself.
I'm attaching pictures, and my questions are:
Is it a severe crack?
Could you guys, suggest me the best type of glue to do it? Super glue, wood glue or any other?
I have no experience repairing guitars. Should I humidify a lot the guitar before start any repair, waiting the wood join?

All help is more than welcome, I really need to repair it as soon as possible.
I'm watching youtube videos, tutorials and reading articles about different types of glue and repairing, but I'm still with doubts.

Thank you so much to read my topic and please apologize my english, this is not my first language.












Best!

Last edited by lucascantelle; 04-26-2015 at 09:26 PM. Reason: Trying to post img as thumbs
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2015, 04:54 AM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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First, don't worry. This is one of the most common cracks in steel string guitars. Double the tension of a nylon string guitar yet the centre seam remains non reinforced. Different people use different gluing options. Titebond 2 does a fine job for this repair. Others will say no, and give their glue choice. We all have our favorite glue and ones we dislike for certain operations.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:46 AM
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B. Howard B. Howard is offline
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These plastic laminate Martins seem to be more susceptible to tops that separate from the rims. Mostly because the rims are much more flexible than wooden ones. I repair several of these a year. Fix the top crack before glueing the top back to the rims.

Your storage conditions are responsible for a lot of this, anything below 40%RH is the danger zone for acoustic guitars.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:14 AM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Do not use Titebond II. It is one of the worst choices for any kind of guitar work other than assembling purflings. Titebond Original dries harder and is a better choice. Also ignore the chorus that often appears and says that hot hide glue is always the best choice. It's not for this repair, because it won't adhere well to the original glue used to join the two halves of the top. Nothing actually adheres well to cured aliphatic resin glue, which is what was used (Titebond is an aliphatic), but in practice it will adhere OK to itself.

But really, you shouldn't be doing this yourself. Wait until you can pay for a competent repair, and get references for the repairer's work on cracks--there are lots of hacks out there. It's a problematic repair because of its location at the top's centerline. It should be closed by humidifying, then glued working the glue into the crack (not so simple, since it's now closed). Then it should be cleated since you won't get really good glue adhesion.
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Last edited by Howard Klepper; 04-27-2015 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:18 PM
lucascantelle lucascantelle is offline
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Ned Milburn, B. Howard and Howard Klepper;
Thank you so much guys!

Considering that at the time I do not have money, do you guys think is a risk try to repair the guitar by myself at home?

And, could you guys give me an idea of how much does this repair can cost? (if made by a professional)

So, just to understand the responses, the steps should be:

1 - Humidify the guitar, the crack should close (or almost) by the humidity.
(I removed the strings, and put a plastic container with an sponge inside the body, right now the humidity is 55%. Do I have to increase the humidity with one more container?)
2 - After seeing the crack closing (if it works). I can use the glue (tilebond), to fix the crack?
3 - Probably there are more steps between these two mentioned above, right? What I have to do? I will need extra tools?
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:03 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucascantelle View Post
Ned Milburn, B. Howard and Howard Klepper;
Thank you so much guys!

Considering that at the time I do not have money, do you guys think is a risk try to repair the guitar by myself at home?

And, could you guys give me an idea of how much does this repair can cost? (if made by a professional)

So, just to understand the responses, the steps should be:

1 - Humidify the guitar, the crack should close (or almost) by the humidity.
(I removed the strings, and put a plastic container with an sponge inside the body, right now the humidity is 55%. Do I have to increase the humidity with one more container?)
2 - After seeing the crack closing (if it works). I can use the glue (tilebond), to fix the crack?
3 - Probably there are more steps between these two mentioned above, right? What I have to do? I will need extra tools?
There are different glues that people use due to their own thoughts on the differing properties of the different possible glue choices. CA is even another possible glue choice that some people put to good measure.

If the guitar is over-humidified, then repaired, the same sideways forces will be put on the guitar top when it reaches its target relative humidity which may over time pull another crack in the soundboard. Consideration of the target ambient relative humidity in which the guitar will be stored will be important to consider if choosing to humidify the guitar before gluing, and how much to humidify.

At any rate, the crack must be levelled when gluing, and a crack of this nature would be well served by a few cleats.

It is certainly a diy possible repair, but a few special clamps are needed, chisels, spare spruce, etc. So, most people take it to a competent local repair person and have it glued. It is less expensive in its early stages.

If it is done sooner rather than later, there is less chance of the top peeling or peeling further from the braces on either side of the crack, which must be glued at the same time as the top repair. The longer time elapses, much of the time the greater the sides of the crack ripple upwards. Also, the longer it is left, the more gunk and oil can penetrate and line the edges of the cracked wood, which can weaken the adherence of some glues.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:35 PM
acme97 acme97 is offline
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Personally...I wonder if you will not also need a sliver of spruce...if the crack does not entirely close. That would be the tricky part, particularly with the finish on that line of guitars. Something to consider. And yes you will need special tools because of the crack's location.

I'm sorry you don't have the extra money at the moment, I have been there myself. But honestly, I would call around and see if you could get a reasonable price for this particular repair, if only to satisfy your own curiosity.

Last edited by acme97; 04-27-2015 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:23 PM
lucascantelle lucascantelle is offline
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Hi guys!

Sorry for the delay, I have been busy this week.

- I sent emails to guitar shops with pictures and description, asking for repair. The price range was $75-$200. Some of them said that it is necessary remove the bridge, others said no. Ok, tomorrow probably I am gonna visit 2 or 3 of these guitar shops personally.

- Since my first post here, without time enough to go to the shops. I've decided start humifidy my guitar. The first day was 4/26 (the same day that I took the pictures) and today, after 6 days, 5/1 I took new pictures to compare. The only thing that I did was, removed the strings to avoid unnecessary tension on the guitar.

Take a look at the pics, I made a comparison:







At this time, I think the crack is superficial. The most critical part is in the end of the body (probably 1-2 millimeters deep).

Analyzing the new pictures, comparing with the old ones. What do you guys think about it?
Is it a easy repair crack?
Should I keep humidifying the guitar?
Could I try to fix it at home, using tilebond after 1 or 2 more days humidifying?

I hope the pictures could help you to understand the problem and have a better view.

Thank you so much folks!
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:35 PM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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Once you stabilize the humidity (neither too little or too much) to close the crack, a reputable luthier would simply cleat that crack on the underside ... and then admonish you to watch your relative humidity. It shouldn't cost more $50 to get a pro repair. I'd expect less. I would NOT attempt to put glue into the crack itself nor would I worry about the finish.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:38 PM
lucascantelle lucascantelle is offline
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@RustyAxe

Thank you. I'm thinking that form now it will be easy to repair and low cost, also.
I already bought a hygrometer and i'm monitoring the RH inside and humidifying.
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:22 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Re-quoting some of my earlier post:


QUOTE: If the guitar is over-humidified, then repaired, the same sideways forces will be put on the guitar top when it reaches its target relative humidity which may over time pull another crack in the soundboard. Consideration of the target ambient relative humidity in which the guitar will be stored will be important to consider if choosing to humidify the guitar before gluing, and how much to humidify. ENDQUOTE

Further explanation: You are over-humidifying the instrument at 70%. So, if in the natural target humidity you are at 45% RH average, you or overhumidifying 25%, so the resulting repair with leave the soundboard wanting to shrink as much as it gained with the extra 25% humidity. Again, this is NOT a good idea. The guitar should be repaired with consideration to the


QUOTE: If it is done sooner rather than later, there is less chance of the top peeling or peeling further from the braces on either side of the crack, which must be glued at the same time as the top repair. The longer time elapses, much of the time the greater the sides of the crack ripple upwards. Also, the longer it is left, the more gunk and oil can penetrate and line the edges of the cracked wood, which can weaken the adherence of some glues. ENDQUOTE

The crack should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the instrument. It is NOT superficial.

I don't believe the bridge needs to be removed for the sake of the crack repair.

Regarding humidity, see my notes about humidity above. $200 sounds expensive.
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:26 PM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyAxe View Post
Once you stabilize the humidity (neither too little or too much) to close the crack, a reputable luthier would simply cleat that crack on the underside ... and then admonish you to watch your relative humidity. It shouldn't cost more $50 to get a pro repair. I'd expect less. I would NOT attempt to put glue into the crack itself nor would I worry about the finish.
Are you a professional guitar repairer?
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