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ply edges chipping away

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by yesdot, Nov 11, 2004.


  1. yesdot

    yesdot

    Mar 8, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    Not a hugely exciting topic, but... My 30's Czech ply is pretty beat up- the edges around the lower bout are worn away - in some parts back to the purfling.
    I cringe every time when removing bass from bag and can feel the exposed ply bits catching.
    There seems to be an early repair job made with some sort of filler. Local luthier suggested attempting something similar myself but couldn't suggest any materials (said he has never attempted such a job). I'm planning to invest in repairs/setup, so I'd like to try and get this sorted out first.

    Can anybody possibly suggest a filler/putty or other to use? Many thanks...
     
  2. I'm no luthier, but perhaps sealing and hardening the chips with CA glue would help to hold the plys together? I know CA glue is considered evil most the time, but it seems like it might work to keep the problem from getting worse, although it wouldn't really 'fix' anything...
     
  3. bassphase

    bassphase Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2004
    San Francico Bay Area
    It might work, but you'd have to careful. It could easily make it's way to the top glue seem without you noticing. Ca glue has a "capillary" action which why it can mysteriously show up on the other side of something you glued--I think it's voodoo.

    Somebody hear must actually know what can be done.

    bob
     
  4. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    First, this is a big NO-NO; and second if you used it, getting the shape to mach would be near impossible.

    A picture might help. How much or the lower bout overhang is missing. A quick fix would be to coat with a type of glue and sand it "a little" so that there are no jagged edges. But I'd wait for a opion from one of the pros first.
     
  5. yesdot

    yesdot

    Mar 8, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    This is what I was thinking. I will post some pics of damaged area in the next couple of days. Thanks for the ideas all...
     
  6. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    If you want to repair it yourself, I'd say glue any loose ply with araldite or other epoxy. Its a very hard, stable and safe glue. And unlike the belly/neck/fingerboard etc no-one's ever going to need to pull the ply apart to make repairs!

    I did some very satisfactory repairs to a school bass that had been badly knocked around; the top layer of ply was flapping in the breeze in places around the lower bout. I found a light wood veneer sheet of the right thickness (a bit thicker in fact) from a craft shop, then trimmed patches that neatly covered the missing ply bits, matching the grain direction. Then laid each patch over the damage and, with a scalpel, carefully trimmed the splintered edges to match the patch exactly. Then cleaned the old crumbly glue out and glued the new veneer in place with epoxy, clamping with masking tape and phone books.
    When it was set it was easy to sand the veneer back to match the original veneer height and edge and - even though the wood was a different grain and type - after a bit of attention with coloured shellac you can hardly see the repair. It'll never split there again.
    Don't use filler, that'd look horrible.
     
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    This is the most common way I've seen Kays and Kings and such redone. It looks really good.

    A lot of times, they'll refinish the whole bass when the repairs are complete and you can hardly tell the problem.
     
  8. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Well, it may be a big no-no, but I repaired the chipped edges of my 1949 Kay M-1 with wood filler. I got the kind that can be sanded and stained. After hardening, I sanded it smooth and level with the top and matched the color with oil varnish and pigment from a violin supply catalog. A little lacquer overspay for protecion and to match the semi-gloss finish on the rest of bass and I don't think it looks too bad. I tried using some wood veneer at first but I couldn't get it the match the chipped laminate and the outer edge and I wound up making the problem worse. It's pretty much a cosmetic thing so I don't worry about it much. Wood filler is probably not the best choice but I don't think it will hurt, at least not as much as the epoxy someone used between the neck and block on my bass. :eek: When I dropped the bass the neck broke loose and took half the block with it because of that glue, :crying: but that's a whole other story. :rollno:

    - Steve

    http://kaybass.home.att.net
     
  9. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo

    Feb 9, 2004
    Chicago
    How bad is it to use an epoxy to glue the bottom end of the top with an epoxy? I did this before I found out that there is a special kind of glue used specifically on string instruments that allow further repair.... :confused: It was an unglued corner of few inches that rattled, someone has stuck a paper inside -- I assume to stop the rattling -- so I figured gluing it will be the answer, but I used the wrong glue! :bag:
     
  10. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    How bad is it to use epoxy to glue an open seam? It's pretty bad, actually. Hide glue has been used to build/repair violins for centuries for a reason. It's water soluble and will allow repairs in the future if the top ever has to come off. If the glue used is too strong ,further damge can occur because the glue joint is actually stronger than the surrounding wood. If the previous repairman had used hide glue on my Kay bass, the neck would have seperated from the block which is a fairly routine repair job. Instead, the epoxy glue was so strong that the neck block splintered and pieces of it stayed attached to the neck. The repairman had to basically rebuild the neck block. He was very fair in not charging me an arm & a leg for a repair that could have easily exceded the value of the bass.

    - Steve

    http://kaybass.home.att.net
     
  11. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo

    Feb 9, 2004
    Chicago
    I guess this question is to people who work on bass repairs, is this somehow undoable, I mean before any complications occur can I maybe seek luthiers help on this subject? Thank you.
     
  12. yesdot

    yesdot

    Mar 8, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    A few different suggestions there. Anyway here are some pics of the problem areas... may be of use. I'm leaning toward investing in repairs/setup and worrying about this stuff later!
     
  13. yesdot

    yesdot

    Mar 8, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    Here are some more. Top right pic shows what appears to be remnants of a filler of some sort...
     
  14. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo

    Feb 9, 2004
    Chicago
    man... and I thought my bass was beat up! How old is this thing? 300 years old? :) Yeah, I said *** it, I ain't worrying about it now.
     
  15. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Oh dear that looks awful - a bit like the photos in my dad's medical journals.

    I don't think my epoxy/veneer advice is going to be much use to you - it looks like more than the veneer is missing. You did say "back to the purfling" but I didn't imagine that ...

    You'd have to somehow cut the damage away and graft on a whole new edge to the belly/back - and the only way of doing that neatly would probly mean taking the belly off. Filler wouldn't build up that whole missing edge - it'd just snap off again. Aaron's suggestion to just stabilize it somehow with glue and sandpaper might be your best bet.

    Is it a nice bass, worth the effort?
     
  16. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    The pic on the left shows how purfling did weaken the laminate wood...
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    GAHHHH! That looks like an American Standard! Run! RUN before the smell hits!!! :bag:
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Seriously, my old Standard had that "Chips Ahoy" thing going, and while that sound when taking it outof the bag was like fingernails on a chalkboard, I don't know that it really hurt anything. The only time I ever asked a luthier about possibly repairing the places where the laminate were missing, he said, "Why? If we do a cheap job, it won't be much stronger and it'll still be ugly, and if we do an expensive and detailed job, the edges will be pretty and the rest of the bass will be ugly". I couldn't argue with that, so I ended up just playing the bass and enjoying the sound. :)
     
  19. yesdot

    yesdot

    Mar 8, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    I agree...

    Thanks all, saved me a lot of bother!