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The Guitar Medic

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Conn Early 1970's, F-11 Acoustic Guitar
Repair Hole in Upper Bout
Mark Nelson's father was a collector and quite a guitar player. He collected nice iinstruments, and Vox amplifiers. The Vox amps are another story in themselves. But this page is devoted to the restoration of Mark's F-series Conn guitar. The guitar was purchased by his father in the very early 70's--purchased brand new. The inside label was missing, but it was determined to be a model F-11. The senior Mr. Nelson passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at 57 years of age. But he left quite a musical legacy for his family. Mark took possession of the Conn F-11 acoustic but had no idea the quality or rarity of the guitar he had.
Somewhere along the past several years, the guitar experienced a hard life and ended up with a hole punched into the end of the upper bout (near the heel). It had spintered inward, then overlapped with the splintered portion to the outside--the opposite of how it should be. So this presented what I like to call (I do this frequently) a "UNIQUE CHALLENGE".
However, I was able to use just the right pressure in the optimal angles to return the wood to a position where the splintered break fit back together. I then made three separate fixtures to complete the repair. Below is the result. Unfortunately I forgot to take a good clear photo of the damage before I it is difficult to understand the challenge that I faced just in aligning the pieces together. Still, I was pleased with the final result.

BELOW LEFT: I made two cauls for holding the break outward to allow the wood glue to set while the break was aligned properly outward in its original position. The first of these is seen in the left picture. This part goes inside the sound hole and provides a curved surface to push againste the break from the inside. The second part is seen in the second picture and shows how the clamp held against the top and bottom of the bout--allowing the pressure of the inner caul to push the cracked pieces flush to the outer contour.
BELOW: After removing the cauls, the hole is now seen flush again. Missing pieces of the outer wood will be camouflaged as much as is possible. In a situation such as this, it is always the goal to completely hide evidence of the break, but it is almost never possible to completely hide it.

BELOW: After staining bare wood shown in above picture, filling low places with acrylic, and applying several coats of lacquer (light-duty fine sanding in-between), and buffing, the two below pictures show the final result. In the below-left photo, you can still see where the break was. It was, as suspected, impossible to completely hide it. But when viewed at an angle or from a distance, it is not even noticeable as shown in the below right photo.

BELOW: As one final finishing touch, I made a new truss-rod cover to replace the "ho-hum" original cover. I returned the original to Mark in a small pouch--with the original screws, but installled the solid cedar truss-rod cover--stained to match the dark spruce top wood of the guitar.

BELOW: Lastly, below see the Conn hanging just in front of my own Conn F-15 and my other guitars in my instrument room, in preparation for its return to Mark Nelson in Wisconsin, in about a week (photo date 5/7/2010).