Side separating from Kerfing on Martin

If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.

Side separating from Kerfing on Martin

Postby Michael Dixon » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:07 pm

I have a Martin DC-16RGTE that has the side pulled loose from the kerfing down near the butt plate where I can't reach inside the box. Any advice on how to do the repair would be appreciated. There is not much of a gap, but I can tell it is separated since the finish is cracked between the side and binding,and there is some movement when I press on it.
Michael Dixon
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:08 pm

Re: Side separating from Kerfing on Martin

Postby Phillip Lee » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:58 pm

First of all did you purchase the Martin new? This sort of trouble would fall under warranty.
If not you are looking at a pro repair job. This type of repair involves determining the glue joint fail point with an internal camera. Long reach tools through the soundhole while training this camera on the troublesome spot while viewing on a monitor and manipulation. Then powerful spot-magnets on the outside and in to hold the re-glued joint while drying.
Alternatives for the problem you described are scarce, though a fail at that point would not involve a major structural repair if you kept playing it she will develop "Relic" style issues in the future.
Phillip Lee
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:10 am

Re: Side separating from Kerfing on Martin

Postby Michael Dixon » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:46 pm

Phillip, Thanks for the reply. The Martin is used, otherwise I'd chase the warranty. I put a 90 degree bend in a small spatula tool, and I am able to probe the separation between the kerfing and the sides. So I'm considering cleaning the separation the best I can, then applying tightbond with the bent spatula tool. Then clamp with ratcheting tie down strap around the sides. Is this a reasonable approach?
Michael Dixon
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:08 pm

Re: Side separating from Kerfing on Martin

Postby Michael Lewis » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:18 am

First you need to determine exactly what IS loose. Tap with the back of a finger nail along the seam of the top or back plate in the effected area and listen for difference in sound. You will be able to tell what is loose and what is solid. Often by loosening the binding you can access the separation. Do a dry run with any clamping system you come up with to make sure you can put the parts where thy need to go BEFORE any glue is applied. Thin flexible sticks can be used to prop linings against the proper surfaces while glue dries. Trim them to length as needed, and they can be anchored at a brace if handy or against a block set inside. This is not rocket science

Is the lining loose from the plate (top or back)? Or just from the side? Is the lining cracked, split, or otherwise "interrupted"? My first thought when lining is loose in one of these guitars is that it took a hit in the area. I haven't seen any of these come apart by themselves, though sometimes it doesn't take much of an impact to loosen things.

Remember that any work on the surface of a "satin" finish will leave it more and more shiny. Any touch up to the finish needs to be sprayed to achieve the satin effect. Much more tricky than a gloss finish.

Impact would not be covered by warranty.
Michael Lewis
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:22 am
Location: Northern California USA

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