Stay in Tune vol.68
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
Hello Spring time! It's the beginning of May and my new garden is almost finished. The grass is growing and things are in full swing. I love it!
I just started out the festival season last week by going to one of my favorite festivals at the Riverside Inn. I think it was a huge success this year. The music was good and I had a very good attendance at my workshop for bending sides. To see some pics go to my web site ( http://www.wood-n-strings.net/ ) and look around. Make sure you put this music festival on your calender for next year. You will be glad you did.
This month is going to be another very busy time for me . I will be participating in another fun filled music fest called the BlueSky Folk Festival in Kirtland on May 19th. (http://www.blueskyfolkfest.com/ I will be setting up a booth to show the patrons of the festival about the types of repairs and the instruments that I build. I will also be demonstrating a workshop on general maintanence and showing some techniques of some of the common repairs that are done at Wood-n-Strings.
There will be two stages packed with great musical entertainment . A lot of fun things for the kids to participate in and a good variety of food to tease your pallette with. A gauranteed Good Time!
Instruments have been flowing in and out of my workshop at a good pace too. I have mentioned before how certain repairs tend to come in bundles and it seems that the past few weeks have been crack repairs. A few of the cracks can be attributed to humidity changes, but the other ones are accidental mishaps, such as dropping or being knocked off the stand. Either way , I have had my fill of them lately.
I approach the repairs in different ways, depending on the length and size of the crack . In one instance there was some damage done to the wood fibers when the guitar was dropped on it's side. It crushed a small section of wood on the top and made it difficult to hide the repair. Luckily when I had pressed everything back to where it was supposed to be and used a very flat acrylic caul , the repair came out remarkably well. Of course there was some new finish that was added to level out the repair , but all in all it was a success. Other cracks had to be delt with in another fashion. On one crack it was not really seperated , just cracked down the grain line of the wood. On these types of cracks I can actually work some glue down into the crack by pressing back and forth on either side of the crack. I like to use yellow Titebond Glue for this, but have been known to use “hyde glue “ too. This method allows the glue to creep it's way into the crack and will hold it together . With a mirror and a small light, I check inside the guitar to see that the glue has worked it's way all of the way through the crack. It's important to make sure that each half of the crack is absolutely level because once the glue sets up it is impossible ( or very difficult ) to realign the wood . After the glue is dry I go back and add small wooden patches to stabilize and stop the crack from ever opening up again . It's not always neccesary , but I like to take the extra step so I can gaurantee the repair. The patches are small diamond shaped quartersawn pieces of wood about 1/16th thick. I align the grain of the patch so that it is perpendicular to the grain of the top.When these “patches are added they are usually quite small and have no effect on the tone of the top. I try to use the same species of wood. Spruce for a spruce top, cedar for a cedar top,, redwood for a redwood top, etc... This insures me that the crack will never open up again. Some cracks that are a bit wider are dealt with in a different manner. I will sometimes widen the crack with a special tapered file and inlay a tapered piece of wood making sure that the grain is running parallel with the top. I have to remove any excess wood and glue from the inside to make sure the new cross grained patches will sit properly. I then touch it up with either lacquer or shellac to protect it . If the top has a sunburst finish or a solid color I do my best to match it for good aesthetics. It is nearly impossible to perfectly match certain sunbursts. I always ask the customer to allow me a little “leeway” on these type of finishes. The important thing is that the crack is stable and there is no unwanted buzzes from the top vibrations.
Side cracks are dealt with much the same way except for the realigning of the wood can be a bit tricky. Sometimes its better to approach a long crack in smaller sections to insure that you have the proper alignment. These type of side cracks must always be reinforced with a cross grained patch for stability.
Before you leave this article, I would like to share an event for my dear friend Dennis Roeder. In late Jan. Dennis passed of an incurable disease that resulted in him leaving the planet way too early and before we could all say a decent goodbye. His Dear Wife Ginny, and many friends will be hosting a “Celebration of Life” party for him at Cebar's in Madison on Rt. 20 about a ½ mi.east of Rt.528 on Sun, May 20th . It is open to the public and will be held from 2:00 to 8:00.
Dennis was always so generous with his musical talents, so we decided to share some of that back with his family. It will be set up as an “open mic” so please bring your instruments, good stories, a food dish to share and the rest will all fall into place! Please keep a look out for for more info that will be posted on facebook, around town and on my website at http://www.wood-n-strings.net/home/community/events/viewevent/1-celebration-of-life-for-dennis-roeder.html Hope to see you there!
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings / Liam Guitars