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Headstock crack will not open for glue- too small?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by RBrownBass, Oct 4, 2010.


  1. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I had refinished a Fender Jaguar Bass neck and when I went to insert the tuner bushings, there was too much paint in the holes and the headstock cracked in two places. I could see the tiny lines thru the paint. The clearcoat was applied too thickly anyhow and had never cured, so the whole neck (re)finish was removed. When I sanded down to primer, I could see the tiny crack lines in the primer so I knew they were cracks and not imperfections in the paint. I kept going. Now I'm down to bare wood, but I have another problem. The cracks aren't visible anymore and no matter how I try to flex the headstock with my hands, I cannot get the cracks to open so I can insert a glue syringe. FWIW, the cracks are about 1/2"-3/4" long on either side of the tuner hole, two thru the G hole and one thru the D hole. They do not go anywhere near all the way thru the headstock from to back. I'm certain that the bass will assemble and play fine without any repair at all, but I don't know when/if these cracks will start to run. Right now, they don't open enough even for me to see them- I know where they are only from remembering where the cracks in the color finish were. I know they're still there, but if they won't open, how do I fix them? I have cleaned the paint out of the tuner holes and will be extra careful when refinishing so that paint doesn't get into the holes and the bushings don't force another crack. Should I just wipe some glue over the area, hope it soaks into the cracks and wipe off the excess? Headstock will be repainted to match body color, so no worries about lacquer or poly matching the glue or anything.

    Thanks for any help anyone can offer.
     
  2. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Use thin CA glue.
     
  3. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Super Glue? Are you sure? Will it seep into the crack before it dries? Is it safe for wood that may need to be repaired again (possibly professionally) at some point?
     
  4. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Builder,mcdcustomguitars
    If you reinstall the bushings do you think the cracks will appear? If so, let the CA wick down into the cracks and then remove the bushings. The CA will not harm the wood and will be the best glue for the job. When you sand after gluing it should be invisible IF you ream the bushing holes for a better fit.
     
  5. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Many thanks to you and mikeyswood for the answers!

    I don't have any CA right now, but I'll get some tomorrow or Wednesday and try it. I'll let you know how that works.
     
  6. DaLoCo

    DaLoCo

    Jun 16, 2010
    South Africa
    Make sure it is the thin CA, exactly the same thing happened to me, and I fixed it like Rocky McD suggests
     
  7. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Okay. The Gotoh reverse '51 bushings I had planned to use to find the cracks are too big for me to even try to fit them (I risk finding the crack again by enlarging it, and that I don't want), and the old ones slide in with the perfect amount of resistance with the neck unfinished. So I still cannot find the cracks.

    New option: What are the chances, if I make sure not to get too much paint in the holes, that the cracks will stay shut on their own?
     
  8. Lizooki

    Lizooki

    Feb 24, 2008
    Are you positive it's cracked?
    It's possible the finish was the only damage ... even more so when the cracks disappear when all the finish was gone.

    I've installed bushings that were tight enuff that I had to tap them in with a rubber mallet and not crack the headstock.

    Matt
     
  9. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Yeah, it was/is cracked, all right. The thin line I mentioned earlier ran into the inside of the tuner holes. No way that would be finish only- it would have cracked differently. These cracks are with the grain. But now that I've cleaned the tuner hole out, I can't find the crack there, either. This is beginning to piss me off because I know they're there and I don't want to disassemble and strip the headstock again 2-3 years down the road because they magically showed up one day and ran.

    These will have to go in the same way- I put them back in to see how easily they'd fit, and they had to be tapped just a bit.
     

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