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Wood Filler For Seam Repair

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bassist1962, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. Is it possible to repair a seam using wood filler/plastic wood, along with hide glue? At least til I am able to get to a luthier, to properly fix it. Once I put tension back on the instrument what am I in for?
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    John: NO!! If you do this, it will make the job of your luthier more difficult and exoensive. If you have to DIY, hide glue only.
  3. As a luthier who has had to fix many cracks and other problems that were directly caused by using plastic wood to fill open seams, I urge you to keep that plastic wood as far away as possible from your bass. Regluing the seams (with hide glue) is considered a minor repair. Fixing the damage that can result from plastic wood in the seams often is not minor and can, in fact , get rather expensive.
  4. Thanks guys, That is what I needed to know. I will use the glue only.
  5. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Don't use the liquid hide glue, it won't hold. Use granualted hide glue two parts water with one part glue. Let it sit for awhile like this and then heat it to the melting point. You want it about as thick as half and half, so add a little water if necessary or let it cook off the extra water if it's too thin. It should be about 130 degrees. If you don't have granulated hide glue, go to the grocery and get some Knox Gelatin, it's a cousin of hide glue, and use it with the same formula as noted above.
    Do you have clamps? How open is this seam ? Gluing up an open seem is not that expensive, so think about having your bass luthier do the job right the first time.
  6. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    I'm looking at a bass top now that has been removed previously, with a fair amount of wood lost at the gluing surface, but rather than replacing the wood properly, someone has bogged it with some putty compound that is now crumbling away, taking more wood with it. The whole top now needs half-edging. yep, that's going to be expensive.
  7. That is the other part of this project. Clamping. Where do I clamp, and how long do I let it set? And are you saying that I can use Knox gelitan in leiu of granulated hide glue, because the glue is only $5.00 from Upton.
  8. While Knox gelitan may be fine in a pinch, most professionals use flake or granulated hide glue.

    Martin's suggestion that you take your bass to a luthier the first time is good advice. If you ask ahead of time, most luthiers will be happy have you watch (and ask questions) while they are doing the gluing and clamping. While it is not difficult to learn how to glue seams, it's easier to do it right if you have observed someone else doing it before you try it.
  9. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    The hide glue from Upton's might be cheaper than the Knox?
    But then there is shipping. You also have to clean out the old glue.
    Clamps too? It's starting to sound like it'll be cheaper to take it somewhere. Even making your own clamps is expensive. How many do you need, how long is the opening. You want to clamp all of it with each clamp butting up against the next one; no spaces in between clamps.
  10. koricancowboy

    koricancowboy Ausberto Acevedo

    Jun 10, 2003
    I don't mean to step on any of the luthiers toes, but I have to say that, at least over here in Chicago, closing seams is maintenance and not really a repair. I find akin to changing your own strings and putting the bridge back in place when it starts to creep up or to the side. I do agree you should take it to a luthier the first time and have him show you. If he or she doesn't want to, find a different one.

    I do see what your saying, but what about next time. Or the time after that. I went ahead and invested in clamps, a glue pot, a knife to spread the glue and an old toothbrush and have saved a bunch of cash but more importantly time away from my instrument. YMMV, IMHO, etc...:D
  11. jimmyduded


    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    knox doesnt adhere to the wood well, im speaking from experience here, the gram strength is very low
  12. I think this is my point. The nearest luthier is 30 miles away, and so it would cost me just as much or more in gas to get there, as it will to repair/maintain the instrument. Upon further inspection, there are other things that my be needed, so I am considering getting this done right the first time.
  13. While Knox would not be my first choice, it should be strong enough for gluing a seam together and is certainly better than any of the commonly available glues when hide glue can't be obtained. You don't need or want the strongest glue for seams on on a bass or any other violin family instrument. The glue in the seams should act like a safety valve and hopefully will release before a crack occurs in the wood around the seam.

    I heard about Knox being used by musicians on the road back when I was getting started some 45+ years ago. I personally have never used Knox as a glue, but Martin Sheridan has been in the fiddle business for quite few years too and if he says Knox is good for this use, I believe him.
  14. Honestly, as a kid I remember a box of Knox in my dad's tool box. I could never figure that one out, but then again, I didn't ask either. Mom remembers him shoving glue in the cracks of his bass on a regular basis. Makes me wonder now if that is what he used it for.