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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old '68 Kawai, sister grabbed this and a very nice Supro Super Seven for $20 each a few years back, gave them to me to clean up.

Supro came out fine, was in great shape,m original case even... the Kawai though, bit rougher.

Missing one of the screws for the tune-o-matic to move the rollers back/forth, and the string tree bar missing a screw cap on the back. Electronics need resoldered I suspect because although look ok, I get zero sound.

Headstock is split. Right up the side along the grain. Upside, it's pretty far from where the tuners are and strings go so, not a 'structural' part. The face of the headstock is a bit warped and concaved. Small trace of glue was in the crack, which I used a hooked xacto and cleaned out.

I had hoped that simply putting the face down on a flat surface and clamping over the crack would flatted the headstock and close the crack, but no such luck. It does flatten out with the big clamps and crack closed a bit but, not fully.

Could be that the previous person used a saw maybe? and that crack will never close... not sure. I tried clamping down and from the sides as well, no luck, and with that much force being used, worried as soon as I unclamp it after being glued and sitting for a week or so, it'll just curve right back up.

Any suggestions?


 

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There might still be glue at bottom of crack, preventing it from closing.

Once that figured out, I would build two jigs/claws to enclose each side of the headstock, that would provide two parallel surfaces to put the clamp to. Then you can add all the pressure you want and it will eventually close. Wood glue in the crack and let dry for 24 hours. It should stay closed.
 

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Yep, what he said. It's not structural so it's just a matter of getting it not look horrible.

It could also just be that the crack is old (and since not structural, previous owner didn't bother to repair) so it's dried out and stiff. I'd suggest steaming it a bit to make it easier to bend it back to closed position. If it wasn't for the binding/overlay I'd say snap the whole thing off and reglue if it wont bend back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I used one of the below to clean it out. The top/right saw and hook... I can't see there being anything left, I went over it until nothing more came out, but will give another go.

I was wondering also, rather than cut it off, if I cut it down further to the face, but not through, maybe will allow it to close?

My concern is that front face and cutting through the black, seems less like paint and more like a layer of something.

Glue wise, I was going to use Gorilla Glue for wood... maybe I should switch to epoxy?

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cleaned it out again, can shine a light on one end and see it the other, totally clear and free now... still no luck. Got 3 big clamps on it and really heaved them tight, crack closes maybe half way.

That curved edge is making it difficult to clamp from the sides.... just loosens and falls off.

Kinda glad it's being difficulty... good for learning from... but also annoying. :D
 

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Did you get my explanation for making jigs ?

Take a plank a few cm wider than the headstock. Trace the headstock on it and cut out the inside shape of the headstock, so you get two pieces of wood, that when wrapped around the headstock, will give you 2 parallel surface to put the clamps on.

I think steaming it would just make the wood swollen, not good.

If no wood was removed when cleaning up the crack, you should use regular yellow/white wood glue. If you think both surfaces of the crack don't match each other anymore, then epoxy is the answer. Better than Gorilla glue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@BFGood - I think I'll have to give that a try... not much access to tools at the moment but, guess they don't need to be cut too perfectly to work. Need to get a few more large clamps though.

Crack wise... it's fairly wide and not really too V shaped... I'd almost guess that someone used a hacksaw maybe? or just a bad crack and big. I Googled this guitar for more info... and I think half the photos have the same crack in the same place.

Given the amount of force needed to flatten the thing, my main concerns isn't so much the crack... epoxy and some colouring can fill in the crack no worries, but once I loosen up the clamp, I'm worried it'll just curve again and crack the glue. :S

I only have time to do this stuff on the weekends and well, 10pm, finish polishing the chrome and I guess tackle it again next weekend. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well... finally had the chance to do more work on it, and that is one reluctant crack.

Started to wonder though... when I was looking for images of the headstock logo to recreate, I saw quite a few of these guitars, both this and the bass versions... with the same crack. Looking at the neck I kinda realized, it's plywood. The grain is the same on all of them, and each line is perfectly spaced, etc.

Anyways... because the crack is in a spot where there are no strings, tension, stress etc... I'm wondering if maybe instead of paint, they used something on the headstock that over time shrank and the strain of the front surface shrinking, it cracked the back open. Would explain why so many have identical damage, and why the front is so curved.

Could the black surface be something like, vulcanite? or something that maybe with a bit of heat, may soften a bit and add some releif?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ya, that's why I was wondering about heat... won't flatten it but may stretch a bit and give it some relief, enough to clamp it shut.

I thought it had binding and painted black on top, but when I looked into the tuner holes, I can see the layers. It's the same as what's used on pickguards, black/white/black, about 1/16" thick or so.

There's a pic at the top of the front from the side-view... shows the curve, photo directly at the front shows nothing because well, black.

Annoyingly, the top nut is glued to the top of the veneer... I was thinking maybe using an iron and thin cloth, I could slowly heat up the face and maybe lift it off. Make it flat again and fix the wood, glue it back down again.

I do suspect it is the top that shrank and caused the crack. This guitar seems to have come with either maple or plywood for the neck and I've seen 5 images on Google with the same split in the same spot on all of them.

I want to keep it as original as possible... using the guitar as a learning exercise, else, I'd remove the nut, toss the veneer and replace both with new. :D Then again, maybe the lesson to learn is that THAT is the best thing to do.
 

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It'd be a delicate job, but you could cut the channel depth to the back of headstock facing material essentially taking out all the wood and then it would flatten easier, or if the tuner side is still aligned, not worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ya, that was my original plan.... cut up to the face/veneer but not into it, warm it with an iron and flatten it... then get the glue and clamps. Post#5 I think... I think I went from the simple solution to making it harder than needs to be. :D

Glue wise... I have white wood Gorilla Glue, debated between it and epoxy... but was also looking at Gorilla Glue that's a dark amber colour and apparently works with moisture? and expands? anyone have any feedback on that?

Otherwise, I suspect the gap will be a bit big even when the headstock is flat, I don't think it will close fully so was going to use epoxy and maybe a bit of brown colouring. It's essentially plywood, so the glue layers are darker.
 

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Don’t use Gorilla Glue. That stuff has no business anywhere near a guitar. It is polyurethane glue, it expands and foams up when it dries and makes a huge mess.

Some regular yellow carpenter glue is best. Titebond original if you can get it, or Lepage Carpenter glue is available at any hardware store / big orange box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ya, I was just looking and Home Hardware seems to carry Titebond II, III, Hide and Moulding... not Original, which is weird. But from what I've read, Titebond II is a bit stronger and I guess more weatherproof which is irrelevant.

Luckily, the Gorilla Glue I never touched, still got the receipt. I'll grab the Titebond II.

But, if I can't get that gap shut... I guess I need to switch to Epoxy anyways to fill in the gap.
 
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