Surprising Cosmetic Damage!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MJS888, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. MJS888


    Dec 17, 2015
    I just received my ESP LTD B-50 from Amazon. It was a "warehouse deal" marked down about $85 from the regular $250 price due to "cosmetic damage." This damage is worse than I expected, however. A chunk of the head stock is nearly splintered off, and I fear a somewhat larger section could come off when that tip inevitably bumps into something. I've attached pics from my low resolution phone camera.

    I don't know whether glue would be sufficient to stabilize the area since there are multiple fractures and fraying; I can't quite squeeze it together. Is glue worth trying? Or should the damaged section be sawed off and refinished? Do most luthiers do this sort of work? What could I expect to pay for someone to saw off the damaged part, smooth it out, and put some sort of protective finish on the area?
    ltd_211549.jpg ltd_211550.jpg
  2. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    Do you have a clamp that you could try clamping it closed with just to see if it will close all the way? If it does, then wood glue should be fine.
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes but by the time you drop the bucks, your deal is no longer a deal. I say either return it or do the work yourself. With my limited skills, I'd probably amputate, re-shape, and zap with rattle-can. Given the extent of the damage, $85 is not much of a discount.

    "Just talk to the man, Bea!" IOW, shake 'em down for a partial refund. The damage is structural and cosmetic.

    AltGrendel, Duder and pcake like this.
  4. aaronious


    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    Call Amazon, they are really reasonable about stuff like that. I bought a speaker once, when I got it the dust cap was smooshed in. They gave me the option of a full refund or 70% off. My $80 speaker then became a $20 speaker. They might do the same for you.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    On a $165 bass I would just cut it off, sand it, tape it, and hit it with some model paint from the craft store.
  6. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    If the wood will fit back together with clamping pressure, it can be glued, and will be stable enough.
    The black can then be touched up with nail polish, or model paint brushed on. When cured, it can be sanded and polished. If the fit is good, the glue will be barely visible in the natural section.
    It would be good to see about a compensation, first, tho, if you're up to doing the repairs yourself. 'Cosmetic damage'? this is more than a paint chip, or scuffing/scratches.
  7. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Send it back. Life's too short,and it will always bug you unless the repair is pretty seamless.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  8. MJS888


    Dec 17, 2015
    Thanks for the responses. I do plan to contact Amazon about compensation. Could someone estimate what a luthier (in Los Angeles) might charge for a repair? It could help my case with Amazon.

    I don't have a clamp and am not sure what kind would work. As for a self-repair strategy, I am leaning toward amputation. I would not mind losing and inch or more of length (my practice space is tiny) and would not be bothered by a less than perfect repair.

    I also do not have a saw. What type would you recommend that I buy for this job? When you say "tape it", are you referring to taping the undamaged part to avoid getting paint on it? What type of paint should I look for?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  9. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    I would assume a luthier would charge at least an hour labor to try and repair that, so $50-75...

    Personally, I would use a fine tooth saw and cut the damaged section away, use some sandpaper to sand the area smooth, then use blue painter's tape to tape off the bare wood on the back, then use either Testor's model paint and brush to "repair it" or if you are handy with rattle can paints, hit it with some gloss black
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  10. MJS888


    Dec 17, 2015
    Thank you. After hearing back from Amazon, I'll probably head to Home Depot for a saw and sand paper. I also found "Testors Gloss Black Enamel Paint" on Amazon for under $2.00 Is that the stuff I want?
  11. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    That should work
  12. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cut? Shape? Sand? Paint?


    1. Open up the fracture.
    2. Realign the fibers.
    3. Clamp.
    4. If it mates, open up and apply glue and clamp. (If not, realign and refit.)
    5. Clean up squeeze out.
    6. Next day, remove clamp.
    7. Consider touch up options.
    This is a quick capsule. Search the various steps here and you'll find all the detail you need.
    bassrich, Roxbororob and salcott like this.
  13. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    That point, with everything at an angle will be difficult to clamp. I would see if it will all go together by squeezing it together with my fingers. If it goes together good, find a place to lean it on edge with the damaged point on the floor. Place some wax paper or plastic on the floor where the glued section will rest.
    Gently open the damaged area back up to allow glue to get in between the fibers and squeeze some white glue in there. Hand squeeze the point back together and lay the bass on edge with the damaged point on the waxpaper or plastic, and try to get a weight to lay on the opposite side of the headstock which will keep the repair together 'til it sets.
    After the glue sets, file and/or sand the excess glue to the original shape of the headstock (should be easy). Use 'drop-n-fill' CA glue to fill any remaining spots, then sand those to shape.
    Tape off the rest of the headstock, neck, and body (just wrap something around it and tape at the headstock). Use the Testors Enamel w/a brush, or rattle-can gloss black to paint the black to match.
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It will take more than the weight of the guitar to close the crack.

    Yes, it's not an easy clamping situation. But not that difficult if you know how to do it.

    He will need to make cauls to get the clamps on straight. However, that might be as easy as laying a straight piece of hardwood on the treble side of the headstock and using a bunch of string rubber bands to close the joint. That's not a recommendation, necessarily. Standard operating procedure is to make a dry run first.

    Personally I would copy the shape of the headstock, cut proper cauls and clamp straight across. Two or three should do it. One or two to stabilize the cauls and one to close the gap.

    The glue is cleaned up while the clamps are on. That is during the first ten minutes after the crack is closed. Then just walk away. Final clean up in twenty four hours. If white or yellow glue is used clean up is with a damp rag.

    A guitar at this price point doesn't warrant the time to touch it up. But if the OP desires, he can touch up with black paint and CA glue.
  15. MJS888


    Dec 17, 2015
    Are you implying that your procedure would be easier for an untrained person to execute than sawing off the damaged area? It does not really seem easier to me.
    gln1955 likes this.
  16. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    True- that's why I recommended a weight. Something like an exercise weight can add more pressure than most rubberbands.

    Clamping with cauls would be a much better method, but the OP didn't have a saw, sandpaper, or paint, so I was guessing (perhaps wrongly so) that going the clamp/caul route may not be feasible.
  17. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    I think a slight re-configuring of the end of the headstock with a pencil, coping saw, sandpaper, and a little black paint to match the black layer, followed by clear gloss over it all (will also seal the natural wood) may be the best solution, as the OP said that would work for him.
  18. MJS888


    Dec 17, 2015
    I believe I could do that. Regarding the clear gloss, would something labeled "clear coat ACRYLIC" paint fit the bill? Or would "clear top coat ENAMEL" paint be better?

  19. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    The rubber bands can be manipulated like a tourniquet, putting literally tens of pounds per square inch of pressure directly on the repair. The weight of a fifty or hundred pound plate cannot be concentrated on the repair area without constructing a Rube Goldberg rig which would probably make cleaning squeeze out difficult at best. Which means using a heavy weight will likely put very little pressure where it is needed.

    This is why that using heavy weights as clamps is never recommended in standard woodworking texts. Or luthiery books, for that matter. Trust me on this. I can't tell you how many times someone brought in a failed acoustic bridge reglue using the heavy weight method, usually because they couldn't find clamps with a deep enough throat.

    On the other hand, he doesn't have a clamp. Which probably means he doesn't have much in the way of tools.

    That is more work than standard gluing procedure. The end result is usually lacking visually from both a design and finish standpoint.

    Riis has the right answer. Get them to send some dollars. Then either have a pro do the work properly or just remove the offending chunk and live with it.
  20. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Acrylic would be fine. Make sure that the color and clear coats are the same product.
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