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Taylor Back Crack and Side Separation

2/18/10 This article was featured in a previous FLGR Newsletter.Sign up, it’s free!

1.0 taylor 312 back crack and separation from sides.JPG 1.1 taylor 312 back crack and separation from sides.JPG
1. Taylor Guitars manufactures some of the best factory guitars on the market today. This 312-CE is a cool guitar, but it had an accident… 2. This Axe Took a Header. Or maybe a footer because the back is cracked at the lower bout.
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3. Back and Side Separation is also occurring at the point of impact. Fortunately, the binding is still intact so the back of the guitar will be relatively easy to realign. 4. Inside the Box you can see the damage. Looks like the portion of the back that broke free from the sides took some of the lining with it. For better or worse, the cracked section of the back separated from the lining.
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5. Gluing the Cracked Lining with hot hide glue will repair the portion of the back that’s loose from the sides. Since the lining itself broke (rather than simply separating from the back at the original glue joint) this repair should hold up well. The break in the lining presents lots of gluing surface that’s free of dirt, oxidation and old glue from the factory. I’m moping up as much of the excess hide glue and squeeze out as I can with a paper towel dampened with warm water. 6. Gluing the Back Crack, also with hide glue. Since I glued and clamped the back/side separation first, I’ll have an easier time aligning the back crack as I use a thin probe to work hide glue into the battered Sapele mahogany.
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7. All Clamped Up. 8. Plexiglass Clamping Cauls are pretty cool because my hide glue squeeze out won’t stick to it. Also, I can see how well this crack closed up under clamping pressure.
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9. The Morning After. 24 Hours after the glue up session I’ve taken the clamps off so I can clean up the thin film of hide glue squeeze out with a paper towel dampened with warm water. 10. Repairing the Damaged Finish. Taylor uses a high-tech finish that isn’t compatible with old fashioned nitro-cellulose lacquer. So I’ll use some super glue to fill in the voids around the crack. Some masking tape keeps the glue right where I want it, making the following steps a lot easier.
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11. Removing the Tape before the glue dries is a must! 12. Removing the Excess Glue with a chisel speeds things up. I wrapped some tape around the side, extending it up above the back to keep the glue off the side of the guitar (like waxed paper around a souffle). Now I’m getting rid of that raised section with a razor sharp chisel.
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13. Scraping the Glue almost flush with the surrounding finish. I put a burr on this razor blade so I can use it as a scraper. A piece of scotch tape wrapped around 2/3rds of the blade lets me scrape the glue so it’s just proud of the back’s finish. 14. Sanding the Drop Fill Flush with some 2,000 grit sandpaper wrapped around a cork lined sanding block. This guitar has a satin finish so there’s no need to work through the usual micro- mesh sanding grits and buff to a high gloss.
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15. Not Too Shabby. The repair isn’t visible from afar. 16. Inside there’s evidence of the repair via glue squeeze out and a thin film of dried hide glue.
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17. Lookin’ Good! There’s just no way to completely hide the super glue touchup but it looks pretty good. More importantly, the hide glue repair is a solid one that won’t give this guitar’s owner anymore problems.