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Old 12-06-2020, 01:56 PM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Default Harmony Stella H942 Repair Thread

Hi all,

I figured I'd start a thread here showing repair work on this 1970 H942. Given the condition that it's in...I probably overpayed for it at $71 haha. Oh well. Here was the condition I received it in:



Braces floating around the box, cracks, belly bulge, bridge lift, bad neck angle etc. However, all of the braces and bridge plate on the top were secure. The back braces were the ones that came loose. It also appeared that nobody had attempted to repair this guitar so the bridge isn't shaved and there isn't a horrendous neck repair with screws

All I've done so far is remove all hardware and nut, and humidify. Since this is an all solid wood guitar (birch body) - the cracks responded extremely well to the humidification. Here are some before and after shots:

Top crack before:



After:



After with pickguard laid in place:



Back crack before:



After (yes another brace popped loose during the humidification lol):



I have almost zero experience repairing steel string guitars but I do have plenty of experience repairing Spanish-built classical guitars. I've removed and reglued bridges, repaired cracks, refretted, corrected neck angles, performed nut and saddle work, french polish, etc. I also have general woodworking experience.

I'm hoping some of these skills will transfer over - I'm also looking for some guidance here on the forum

I believe next I will tackle the back. I have brace jacks to reglue the braces but I don't know how I will even reach the one that's furthest back...I'm open to suggestions. I'd be fine taking the back off too - this guitar has no binding (just a fake painted white one) so that would be easier than usual. But I'd still prefer to do the repairs through the soundhole if possible. I'm thinking I need to glue the back crack first, then glue braces back on, and finally cleat the crack. The reason I'm thinking that is I'm afraid if I fix the crack and cleat it before gluing the braces, when I finally glue the braces back on the wood could take more of a radius/curve and pop the cleats off or break them. If I cleat with the braces already on then I can match the curvature of the back on the cleats and they should stay in place.

Last edited by tateharmann; 12-13-2020 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:48 AM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Default Back crack glued

I got the back crack glued and stable last night. Next: four back braces to sort out!



Before:



After:


Last edited by tateharmann; 12-12-2020 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:19 AM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Cleaning up the braces:



One brace had popped off with a chunk missing:



So I carefully extracted the piece out with a palette knife and glued it back on:



Not perfect but some leveling and sanding should make it good enough:



Back scraped and sanded as clean as possible:



Layout...the deepest brace in the LB is going to be a real challenge...if I can't get it, I may just take the back off:


Last edited by tateharmann; 12-12-2020 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 12-11-2020, 07:26 PM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Doing a bit of a dry run on the closest brace to see where my homemade brace jacks line up (I think I will need to cut the dados deeper and the blocks shorter for this guitar).

Also pictured is the deepest brace towards the back set in place - this one's going to take some creativity. I've got some ideas involving a coat hanger, double sided tape, and rare earth magnets (plus brace jacks, obviously).






Last edited by tateharmann; 12-12-2020 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:39 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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No photos are showing
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Old 12-12-2020, 05:02 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
No photos are showing
Welcome, Tate. I can't see the photos either... maybe others can. You're using Google-user content which has to be the most difficult photos on the planet to try to use with forums. Google makes them forum-unfriendly.

Take a look at this post. Right now, you're a registered user, so you have two choices. You may use the Tapatalk app which is very easy to use. Or you may utilize a third-party hosting site like Imgur. You may also support the forum by becoming a charter member and you'll be able to upload photos directly from your computer.

If you have any troubles, send me a PM.
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Old 12-12-2020, 07:28 AM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Oh shoot...sorry about that! I can see them on my devices. And I tested the links to the images in an incognito window and they worked so I assumed everyone could see them. I'll get this fixed up asap.

Thank you for the tips, Kerbie!
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:20 AM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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OK got these all fixed up now - thanks again!
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:33 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tateharmann View Post
Oh shoot...sorry about that! I can see them on my devices. And I tested the links to the images in an incognito window and they worked so I assumed everyone could see them. I'll get this fixed up asap.

Thank you for the tips, Kerbie!
Yep, it often works that way. Congratulations... perfect job. Less than 10 posts and you're now a professional picture-poster!

You're very welcome. Tapatalk works great... very easy to use. If you become a charter member, you may use the AGF app which is built on the same architecture, but has a different background look. Let me know anytime I can help you. Enjoy the forum.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:26 PM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Some more dry testing today. I've got the wood blocks dialed in on my jacks for this project. This is the second farthest brace slid into place. On this one the jacks will be anchored above on the bridge plate (which is as long as the width of the top on these Harmony's!). On the next one back it will have to anchor above on a top brace.




Last edited by tateharmann; 12-13-2020 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 12-18-2020, 08:48 PM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Doing some dry runs on that furthest brace back. Was able to place two jacks after pushing the brace into place. Also working on external clamping solutions. I'm getting close to comfortable enough to do the final wet run with glue! Hopefully once this tricky one is out of the way the others will be a breeze lol.




Last edited by tateharmann; 12-19-2020 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 12-19-2020, 09:58 AM
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Nice work, thatís really coming along!
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Old 12-19-2020, 06:33 PM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Thanks and thanks for checking it out!
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Old 12-21-2020, 04:11 PM
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Default Watching Your Progress

Great work. I've had to reglue a some top braces on a few flat-top guitar repairs, using long, skinny luthiers "C" clamps, through the sound-hole, which is pretty easy. However, I have yet to reglue any back braces, through the sound-hole like you are doing in this project (I've removed the backs to get access), so I am interested in how you manipulate the turnbuckle jacks at the far end?

Some luthier tool suppliers sell remote, cable actuated, scissor jacks to perform this job, which are way too expensive for a repair hobbyist like myself, so,
watching you use inexpensive hardware store parts to make repairs is very cool to watch.

Thanks .
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Old 12-21-2020, 08:05 PM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchtopLover View Post
However, I have yet to reglue any back braces, through the sound-hole like you are doing in this project (I've removed the backs to get access), so I am interested in how you manipulate the turnbuckle jacks at the far end?
They are manipulated with the very tips of my fingers and great difficulty! Hahaha

This brace is only 3-4 inches from the bottom of the guitar so it's a very long stretch.

But, yes these little turnbuckles were something like $1.49 a piece. If you are in the U.S. you can get them from Grainger, I think they were called "midget turnbuckle". You just hack off the one end and make a little wood block with a hole to accept the size of the bolt. At least that's what I did - I'm sure there are other good ways to get a usable jack from this cheap hardware.

Thanks for watching!
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