Sunday, July 9, 2017

(Broken) Pawn Shop Guitars, The Epiphone AJ-1-NA, Part 1

I was killing time the other day in a pawn shop.  Some folks may think they are sleazy, but I think they are like a mini flea market for a guy.  They have tools, musical instruments, odd ball items, DVD's and video games. 

As I was in this pawn shop, I noticed an Epiphone AJ-1-NA acoustic guitar with a broken headstock.  I wanted to ask the manager if it was on special since it had been broke.  When the manager came up and saw it, his words were, "MOTHA FUCKA!!!"  Yeah, he didn't know it had been broken.  I told him, "I didn't do it!," like Beavis used to say from "Beavis and Butthead." 

He knew who had done it.  Apparently a woman had been in just a few minutes before with two unruly children, and they knocked it down, thus breaking it's headstock.  I have to admit, he was a bit hostile. 

I tried to give him a few minutes to calm down before I told him that I was a luthier, and would buy it as is, and repair it myself.  He told me, "no."  I talked to him a few minutes later, and explained a little further.  I told him I would buy it for $20.  Again, he said, "no."  I then went on to say, "I understood, as he could write it off as damaged on the store's taxes."  A minute later he said, "Twenty-five dollars plus tax."  I agreed.  So the total was $26.75. 

When I told my tale on Facebook, my cousin suggested I show the progress of the repair.  I told him I would.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take some "before" pictures of the guitar.  We'll start with my gluing the headstock back together. 

 As you can see, here are my magic ingredients.  Titebond 2 wood glue, an old timey wood clamp, and two modern clamps. 

The wooden clamp held it nicely, but he edges weren't quite squished all the way down.  So I added the two metal clamps.  Once I put them on, nothing moved.  It was right where I wanted it.

Here's a view from the top.  In the lower right-hand corner you can see my butter dish filled with hot water.  It comes in very handy when working with wood glue. 

And here's another view. 

Once the wood glue had dried it was time to work on the break line.  I put some stain in to darken it some.  I think due to the wood glue, it didn't really want to stain.  Since the break and repair left the break line so fine, I used C.A. glue to fill in the gap.  Once it dries I will sand and buff it out.  That way, the neck will have a smooth feel to it.

I used a Gibson lacquer pen to fill in the black spots on the front of the headstock.  Again, I totally forgot about taking a "before" picture. 

Lacquer has to be built up.  So I will let this dry a while, and then add more and more lacquer with my lacquer pen as needed.  Once it's built up to the level I would like, I'll start filling it in with C.A. glue.  After that, it's time to lightly sand and buff it out. 

More to come in a week.  Stay tuned. 

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