Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:45 pm

I say repair the back Barry - unless it is as brittle as the sides.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:48 pm

Chuck Tweedy wrote:I say repair the back Barry - unless it is as brittle as the sides.


+1
Some building codes require you to leave one wall standing in order to call it a rebuild rather than new construction. (and didn't you say that neck wasn't off a OO-17?)
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:19 pm

The reason we originally had doubt about the neck was that one of the "experts" it was shown too said the Martin decal on the headstock should not have a black border around the gold lettering. But I now think the neck is original. It certainly looked original to the guitar during disassembly. But you are right about me violating building codes ;-)

To display my concern about the back, I took a wax pencil to show the cracks and the wrong species patch on the lower bout wing. And the straw that breaks the camel's back is the binding that must be removed and filled in with a blank mahogany strip.

My client was very supportive of the modified plan so we are proceeding with the body graft.

Edit: If the original top was here, this would have been completely different. I would have repaired the body to the nth degree. I hope that doesn't come off as a questionable justification. But I just keep thinking that there is not much value in an original back if the rest of the body is replaced.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:09 am

"But I now think the neck is original"

I suppose it could be, if either I am seeing it wrong or the fretboard was replaced. The fingerboard should be BRW with small dot inlays. At least it was on the instruments I had.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:50 am

The neck looks like it might have come off an early style 28 or above guitar. It may be more valuable as an original replacement neck to someone who needs one than as a neck for your project guitar. Might be a way to recoup some of the original investment. Just a thought.....
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:59 am

Clay, the original fingerboard was BRW and it was original to the neck and it had never been removed. The inlays were slotted diamond shape BUT they were crudely shaped, which leads me to think that the original inlays were replaced by someone trying to "improve" the guitar, which is consistent with some of the other work (i.e.; the spruce top for the original mahogany, and the wood binding where there was none).

Interesting thought about the neck maybe being off of a style 28. Would there be any way to know for sure?
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:32 pm

Hi Barry,
If the fingerboard was BRW and the inlays were replaced then it could very well be original. Style 28 and above of that era had the fancier inlays and an ebony board. From the original pictures you posted the board looked like ebony to me - but pictures can be deceiving and if you say it was BRW i'm sure it was.
Once the fingerboard is off the neck I don't know of any way to determine the style. The style numbers indicated the level of trim the guitar had, which was subject to change at any given time (originally style 17 had rosewood sides and an ebony board). So depending on the fingerboard wood and level of ornamentation I believe that neck could work on any "style" of that era it would fit.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:59 pm

keeping the back was just my $0.02 - you guys covered my same thoughts very thoroughly in your discussion. in the end - it be what it be - and i'm sure Barry will do a great job.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:07 pm

The fingerboard was definitely BRW and it was very dark. Also, one thing I did not mention was that the fingerboard originally had bar frets which were almost cut completely through the fingerboard with only about .030" left. A previous repairman had filled the bar fret slots with glue and installed T-frets, which moved around considerably, both horizontally and vertically. Unfortunately, I could not get the fretboard off the neck without it breaking at several of the fret slots.

Yeah, the inlays really threw me off at first, but closer inspection revealed a fairly sloppy shape and a few were installed a bit crooked.

Thanks for your support Chuck. I am trying my best but I definitely lost some sleep last night feeling like I failed a bit here.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:13 pm

Here are a couple of close ups of the original fretboard. Take a look at the diamonds at the 12th fret. No way those are original.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:34 am

I think you are right Barry.
Martin didn't do sloppy work like those inlays.
There are times when I have felt I got myself in water that was deeper than I am tall. I think we have all had a few jobs go South on us. At least it's just lutherie and not surgery. You can patch up the back, add some sides and a new top, attach the old neck and make a tribute guitar with a few original parts, or offer to build a new guitar around the old endblock, and again the person walks away with a serviceable instrument. Worst case scenario you take a loss on some labor. How much tougher it must be for a surgeon when they do their best yet the patient dies.
Sometimes knowing when to stop is knowing when not to begin, but sometimes knowing is only by doing, and then it's too late.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:24 am

Wise words there, Clay. Thanks for putting that into perspective.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby David King » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:50 pm

We're all waiting for that additive 3D printer that can spin out endless quartersawn Honduras mahogany in whatever shape you want.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:28 pm

Really. Last week I saw Adam Savage on his new TV show and they made an IronMan armored suit out of 3D printed titanium that used a laser to bond powdered metal. The armor was strong enough to stop 45 caliber bullets, and it was fairly light. I think the whole suit was 25 pounds.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:10 pm

good thing adam savage is rich because that would be an expensive suit!
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:54 pm

Might as well keep posting even though this is fairly common techniques from here on. First up is to setup the old resaw and cut up some old mahogany that has been in my shop for a few decades. I went ahead and cut up the whole board which turned into 6 sets. This stuff is very stable and also has a surprisingly good tap tone for mahogany. There is also a bit more character to the grain than the average mahogany. I think this board came from Panama so it might be a slightly different species.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:59 pm

Spray some SuperSoft on it and let it sit overnight. Then next day break out the Foxy bender and make some toast.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:02 pm

The photos of original 00-17 show a very thin 5-ply rosette and I made that out of two pieces of fine fiber BWB purfling from LMII. I scraped one black layer off one of the strips so it would come out to 5 layers.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Bob Francis » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:22 am

Just keep these coming!
So, is the scraper wort the investment? It seems like a logical purchase with minimal care required.
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Re: Restoration of a 1931 Martin 00-17

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:31 am

Yes, the scraper is great. I have the square one also. However, you need to have a fine grinding wheel in order to sharpen them.
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