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When Em7 mentioned in the earlier JTaylor J50 conversation that my J50 could use some love and attention, I went to work.  Thanks for the push.

Using heat from a candle, exacto knife and dentistry tools, I decided to remove the bad putty job with the remaining original binding and start from scratch. The heated tools made it pretty easy and non-traumatic to the thin spruce. Of course, I have zero experience installing the BWB plastic binding, not exactly the correct pattern, but laminating and cutting the different strips is more than I want to grapple with.

The soundhole ring and channel was already in damaged condition, as the pawn shop I got this 1950 (3645 11) from had to sand the hell out of it to remove the bad Minwax Poly-shades finish some knothead slathered on. Sounds terrific, good bones, and plays comfortably, and I have a variety of binding strips from LMI to work with. I'll glue some thin spruce backing pieces to cover the punctures before installing the binding, but as you may be able to see, some of the ring from about the 7 to the 11 o'clock position is swinging a little wide.  Not sure, but I may have to fill any void sliver with amber tone glue or putty, perhaps even a sliver of wood.

After doing my best to level the base of the track, I still expect the height of the channel walls to be somewhat irregular, so I'm wondering if there is some type of viscous adhesive that I could use as a bed to enable me to adjust the binding level to achieve the closest to even with the top. Sanding it to even things out isn't really an option. Advice is always appreciated.

Hang in there, everybody. Dave
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Cutting an accurate and even rosette channel is an extremely specialized task. On newly made instruments, this is mostly done entirely by machine with something like a circle cutting fixture and a laminate trimmer. In guitar repair work, a certain jig in the form of a circle fixture would probalby have to be made first to fill and arrest the soundhole and to provide an even re-cut.

Since you will be fighting grain coming from all kinds of directions here as well as dreaded end grain, every cut into the channel needs to be well considered and well measured. Shellac can help to stiffen the wood for a cleaner cut. If you consider this guitar scrap, go ahead—I would probably use black filler to sort this out. If not, let a trusted professional do the job.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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Thanks, but all the cutting was done sometime in 1949. I have cleaned the abused channel sufficiently, and will be able to set in the new binding as soon as I cut it to the ideal height. I was looking for suggestions for an adhesive bed that might let me control the final height.

A 1950 J50, as you can imagine, is the opposite of scrap.

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Generally, I suspect the trim should be a tiny bit proud, and sanded down ( or preferably scraped with a cabinet scraper, for better control) to be flush with the surrounding area of the top after the glue cures. I would look for a video on stewmac about installing binding and trim, to see what they suggest for an adhesive. 

You may have to back-fill from inside after the trim cures, and before scraping flush, if I'm interpreting what I am seeing in the photos correctly. It looks like the routed recess goes all the way through the top in places. There is probably a risk of part of the narrow area of top between the trim and the soundhole breaking off otherwise.

Ross Teigen back-filled the damaged pinholes in the bridgeplate of my 1950 J-45 with epoxy filler that was almost the same color as spruce or maple. It would probably not have looked close enough in color on the top of the guitar, but it was fine for a back-fill on the inside.

You would do that back-fill with the guitar lying on its face, with the guitar supported by something  like a piece of ply with a  4"+ hole cut in it, set on sawhorses. It the epoxy is thick enough, you might not have to go through those contortions, and could backfill and then just lay it on its face to make sure the epoxy stays in place while it cures.

This is all picky work, but you can do it.

 

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Thanks Nick. I may glue in a little spruce reinforcement next to the two finger braces that run across portions of the area just beneath the channel, so I'll have a solid base to glue to. That is right where the perforations are.

The binding is plastic. I have tried sanding a sample but couldn't get anything off it, so I'm trying to cut it a bit short and float it up to level on a bed of adhesive. Here's a rough idea of the look, haven't decided whether to slip one more thin black strip in. Not looking for perfection, of course, but a fairly decent job will beat the former condition by far.
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Appreciated, Dave. It took a long time to think it through, but luthiers and specialty furniture guys in the area always seemed hesitant to touch it for fear of breaking through, or worse, trying to rout it and risk running a split across the top. I saved a couple bucks, for sure, with the candle and exacto. Hope I can finagle a decent looking fake.

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19 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Appreciated, Dave. It took a long time to think it through, but luthiers and specialty furniture guys in the area always seemed hesitant to touch it for fear of breaking through, or worse, trying to rout it and risk running a split across the top. I saved a couple bucks, for sure, with the candle and exacto. Hope I can finagle a decent looking fake.

It looks pretty decent with the new rosette taped in place. You can shape 1/8" thick pieces of spruce to reinforce the area under the damaged parts of the rosette before gluing it in. I would probably just use Tite-Bond (sparingly) for  that job.  If you want to go more "authentic" you could use Titebond liquid hide glue. I haven't used that, and my luthier turns up his nose at it, but it is hide glue.

 I suspect Gibson just used hide glue for everything back when your guitar was built. I might experiment with the liquid hide glue on some scrap to see how it handles, and maybe use it for the whole job if you like the way it handles and the color it dries to.  Experiment to see if it dries hard enough to sand well.  Regular Titebond doesn't get really hard, but it does sand OK after it is fully cured. Its glue line isn't a bad color.

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Posted (edited)

Coming along OK. Patches went well. Some touch-up/clean-up left to go. A little heat will meld the seam. 
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What a headache, but gratifying. The ring still sits slightly above in spots. I'll cut a piece of very thin metal flashing and use it as a shield while sanding off the plastic. That'll be the weekend fun. Love the quarantine!

Edited by jedzep
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On 1/6/2021 at 4:57 AM, jedzep said:

Coming along OK. Patches went well. Some touch-up/clean-up left to go. A little heat will meld the seam. 
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What a headache, but gratifying. The ring still sits slightly above in spots. I'll cut a piece of very thin metal flashing and use it as a shield while sanding off the plastic. That'll be the weekend fun. Love the quarantine!

Looks good! 

You might try using a single-edge razor blade as a scraper, for better control than sandpaper. You can actually hold it with the thumb and index finger of each hand and use it like a miniature cabinet scraper. This is a similar technique to what I've seen in videos of Bozeman workers scraping lacquer off bindings after the bodies are sprayed, but they do it with one hand. Two hands gives better control until you get the technique down. Just keep the blade almost perpendicular to the surface.

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Thanks Nick. I'll try it. I've used my own larger cab scrapers, but never tried razor on plastic. I have extra pieces to play and get the hang of it. I just never thought plastic would shave off clean like that.

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1 hour ago, jedzep said:

Thanks Nick. I'll try it. I've used my own larger cab scrapers, but never tried razor on plastic. I have extra pieces to play and get the hang of it. I just never thought plastic would shave off clean like that.

Use the blade as a pull scraper, with light pressure, pulling horizontally, like a drawknife. You may need to tilt it a tiny bit at the top in the direction you are pulling. Use a fresh blade, and move it so you don't take more than a couple of strokes on one section of blade.

You can do the same thing with a utility knife blade, but they are harder to hold.

I do this so much I buy the razor blades in packages of 100 or more.

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Worked out fine. I can finally play the dang thing again. Went nuts and even put the orig guard back on. Sounds like a million bucks!
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Edited by jedzep
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1 hour ago, jedzep said:

Worked out fine. I can finally play the dang thing again. Went nuts and even put the orig guard back on. Sounds like a million bucks!
 

Looks absolutely great!!

Your patience and hard work have been rewarded.

These slope-Js from that period can be really, really good. My sunburst sister to yours has become my go-to guitar for almost everything. Big, balanced voice, great note articulation, a wonderful flat-picking guitar.

What did you put on for strings this time?

That pickguard is virtually identical to mine. They had some really nice tortoise celluloid that year.

 

Edited by j45nick
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Thanks a lot, Nick. I think I got a little impatient at the end and some of the finessing could have continued. I glued the binding with very little CA, but when it dried I filled in the rest of the space with Titebond, as it dries close to the color of aged spruce. Dumb luck, but I think you had suggested that. Certainly better than the pale putties I could have used.

Love these strings, as well as their 'Royal Bronze' (PB) line. I tune down a step, as you may remember, and still move dif strings around on different guitars. I never did settle on one brand for all. The RB's don't seem to live long though.

The guard was dull from eons of storage in the pages of my giant Webster's dictionary, but Jescar swirl remover brought the shine back.

Edited by jedzep
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12 minutes ago, jedzep said:



The guard was dull from eons of storage in the pages of my giant Webster's dictionary, but Jescar swirl remover brought the shine back.

I suspect you have the same Webster's I do: about 6" thick, and weighs at least10 pounds

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That's the one. It currently contains 2 Holter guards (for Martins) and the gorgeous Greven made for the L00 project.

I miss the signature feature on the old site which let us see what each other was playing. I've moved a few out and a few in since then. Got the two 30's L00s, a pre-T '92 Martin D-16H, more or less a D-18, built with early bracing and dovetail neck joint. Two 000 sized Martins, a 90's 000-15SM 12 fretter, and an '07 rosewood OM-21. Finally, two Guilds; a beaten up '63 F30, and my one electric, a '63 M65.

Think I'm finished buying.

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9 minutes ago, jedzep said:



Think I'm finished buying.

 

I suspect I'll be lying on my death bed thinking "wonder what's for sale on Reverb right now?"

In fairness, I haven't bought or sold a guitar in the last two years. I have sorted them in terms of who goes out the door if push comes to shove and I come across something I can't live without.

Not sure what that would be, however. But I'll probably know it when I see it.

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I came very close a month or so ago to buying this bucket lister that I had in my Reverb feed for two years, figuring it's rarity would mean I'd never see one anyway.  As I was staring at it, literally calculating which guitars had to go or how long it would take me to pay off, it sold before my very eyes. Hitting the buy button after my first read of the description instead of re-reading twice would have made it mine. I learned an important lesson though. He who hesitates...still has 3500 bucks in his checking account.

https://reverb.com/item/37421552-1959-guild-m-30-mahogany-ghost-label-mega-rare-hoboken-collector-grade-m-20
 

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