Repairing worn wood around soundhole

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.
Post Reply
Keith Howell
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:54 am
Location: Cape Town South Africa

Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Keith Howell »

Any thoughts or recommendations on repairing this damage around a sound hole on a Taylor guitar?
The owners playing style has worn the wood out from between the inlay.

My idea is to route out the damage and replace the wood tinting it to match then cover the area with an auxiliary clear pick guard.

Image

Image

User avatar
Barry Daniels
Posts: 2756
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Barry Daniels »

I wouldn't do it. The repair will be difficult, time-consuming, and will never look like new unless you have mad skills.
MIMF Staff

Greg Steil
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Greg Steil »

that just seems to be a can of worms that should stay sealed. Protect the bare wood with some shellac perhaps..

Steven Smith
Posts: 193
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:01 pm
Location: East Tennessee

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Steven Smith »

I would try to clean the bare wood between the rosette rings with deionized water. Once it looks ok, and it's dry, coat the wood with CA to provide some protection. It's not going to look new again but you might be able to keep it from getting worse.

David King
Posts: 2689
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by David King »

Clean the wood as best you can with an eraser and a mild bleach solution. At that point you could put a colored shellac to restore the color and finally drop fill with a clear polyester resin finish or CA. Ideally the shellac would make any drop fill reversible. Certainly the CA would be reversible but the polyester would hold up a lot longer. This is a factory made guitar, might as well make it last. After the drop filling I'd probably add a mylar pick guard strip that could easily be replaced as it wore out.

Brian Evans
Posts: 920
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Brian Evans »

I was about to write exactly what David King wrote, so I won't... :) Gel CA glue would be trapped and held in place to some degree by the raised purfling strips.

User avatar
Bryan Bear
Posts: 1278
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:05 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Bryan Bear »

What they said ^^^

If you go the CA rout, definitely seal with shellac first. CA can wick into spruce endgrain and stain it yellow; the shellac will prevent this.
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Keith Howell
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:54 am
Location: Cape Town South Africa

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Keith Howell »

Thanks all.

The consensus is: Clean, seal with shellac and fill with CA and cover with an auxilary pickguard.

Now to get he guitar into my work shop. It is a hardworking pro's instrument which has very little downtime.

David King
Posts: 2689
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by David King »

Drop-filling with CA is a bit of challenge for me anyway. The medium or thick viscosities seem to work better but patience is the key. My best results come when I lay down a thin layer over the area at the end of the day and leaving it to set up on it's own over night. Multiple coats will have time to shrink down this way.
If you're in a hurry get the accelerator spray that won't cloud the finish, mask off the area carefully, spray a light coat, let it flash-off completely (10-20 minutes) then apply your medium CA from a pipette (you can toss it out if the tip gets contaminated from the accelerator). This assures that the CA cures from the bottom up and won't develop internal crazing or bubbles.

Since it's summertime in SA you might try a bottle of Solarez from a local surf shop. That should be quick, tough and won't shrink back. It's essentially what's on the guitar now.

User avatar
Bob Gramann
Posts: 992
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:08 am
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Bob Gramann »

When a customer asks me for a cosmetic repair, I often think "You can always make it worse." Many times, a cosmetic repair doesn't quite end as nicely as you would like and just draws attention to the problem. There's really no harm in a working instrument looking like a working instrument. If you use it, sooner or later, it's going to show. That's okay.

Keith Howell
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:54 am
Location: Cape Town South Africa

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Keith Howell »

When a customer asks me for a cosmetic repair
This is not really a cosmetic repair. Nick, the owner plays, amongst other styles, a very percussive style we call "Boland Bop" and it is wearing the sound board out around the hole quite aggressively. The edge is about to wear through and then the hole size will begin to change with, I reckon, all sorts of effects on the sound.

So it is a case shore it up now before the edge crumbles completely and it starts looking like Willie Nelsons guitar.

User avatar
Bob Gramann
Posts: 992
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:08 am
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Bob Gramann »

Can you simply replace the pickguard with a larger one covering all of the affected area?

Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1558
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Repairing worn wood around soundhole

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

You could carefully color match the spruce with pigment powders and then fill the gouged out areas with clear epoxy. The epoxy will build quicker than CA and be less likely to turn white. Or as others have suggested build up the area slowly with CA.

Post Reply

Return to “String Instrument Repair: Practical and Political Issues”