Jump to content
Hamer Fan Club Message Center
Jeff R

Fixing a Hamer with a ... scented candle

Recommended Posts

Jim made reference to a lack of bench reports around here lately from the handful of us who are fortunate enough to work on/with guitars for a living. I shared this unusual fix on a Hamer on my shop's Facebook page a couple weeks ago so a few have seen this, but here's a recap for the non-social media crowd.

You may recall about a month ago me picking up a '93 Archtop GT Standard with its share of age- and wear-related issues. One issue was binding separating (gaps) at the body waist.

Bindings tend to shrink with age. Binding adhesives tend to fail with age. The two happenings linked cause separation and gaps. Martin acoustics are notorious for this type of binding separation. The gap(s) will continue to spread and eventually the binding will either break off in pieces or potentially come off in one big hoop. More often than not, it's going to create finish issues too, either during the separations or during the fix. Easier to nip it in the bud early in the game.

Here's the Archtop GT's waist gaps ...

 Image may contain: guitar

No photo description available.

Treble side ...

No photo description available.

Martins that do this have thin, narrow binding that is usually easy to stretch back into place and reglue. This Hamer binding, however, is thicker, taller and stiffer in addition to slightly shrunken. Squeezing as hard as I could with my fingers, I could barely get it to close the gap. No way binding tape was going to hold it in place while glue set. We were going to have to gently soften the binding. Key word being "gently," because we don't want to deform or discolor the binding, or melt or discolor the urelac clearcoat on the binding. Or ESPECIALLY mess up the original goldtop paint -- for all practical purposes, you can't invisibly touch up bullion gold.

I need gentle heat. Heat gun, not the best tool. Hairdryer, better choice, but I'm either going to rush it and get a heat gun effect, or sit there forever as it slow heats, like a crock pot. Wait, that's it ...

I need a heated pot with a diameter roughly matching the circumference of the waist cuts. A pot that will apply gentle, even heat.

I went through our extensive collection of scented candles and lo and behold, what do we have here ...

Image may contain: people sitting, guitar and indoor

57121070_2026903834278457_47904292901329

56980717_2026903807611793_34179038270539

57311564_2026903750945132_27129171276055

57247067_2026903770945130_39037069164795

The candle glass did the gentle, patient work as I did other stuff in the shop. After about 30 or so minutes on each side, the binding had just enough elasticity to go where I wanted it without distoring it. A modern binding-specific adhesive and a good tacky tape, and we're in business.

57049062_2026903850945122_72621243340874

57348133_2026903884278452_74439340750033

And the next day ...

57187602_2026910877611086_15403226111986

57124639_2026910857611088_16282694582230

57382337_2026910937611080_88972653577319

Added bonus: My shop smelt like patchouli and sandalwood for the rest of the day, quite refreshing.

  • Like 25
  • Thanks 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s awesome. Thanks for posting. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool!  A great example of a 'Rock & Roll' repair, by using something in a way it was never intended to be used.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting that!! 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cool idea - I would have never guessed that the candle would have got things hot enough to do anything.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bulk of the candle doesn't get really warm even ... but the lip of the candle jar that is not insulated by the wax does get warm to hot.

Look closely at this photo again, I failed to point this out earlier. The guitar body is sitting on a 2x4 wedge and the candle on a thin piece of laminate. It's intentional ... look at the "height" of the binding as it related to the upper lip of the jar, the part of the jar not insulated by the wax, just an inch or so from the open flame. It's not hot hot, but hot enough for the task if you give it that half-hour or so.

56980717_2026903807611793_34179038270539

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now look at that. You are such a clever man. That‘s really a great idea. 

How did you ink the glue?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant, Jeff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, gorch said:

Now look at that. You are such a clever man. That‘s really a great idea. 

How did you ink the glue?

I'm ignorant to that term, but if you mean how did I get the glue in the crack, I have a small palette blade akin to a thin butter knife blade.

Narrow Small, Guitar Repair Palette Knife

The binding adhesive comes in a toothpaste-like tube and has a very short working time, the tube says two minutes but it's more like one minute before it loses smooth ooze and starts getting stringy like cotton candy. PIA.

StewMac_Bind_ALL_Guitar_Binding_Glue.jpg

I'd squeeze a tiny dab on the blade tip, work it into the gap, fingertip off overflow, and repeat. About a half dozen of those in less than one minute and then squeeze binding into place, fingertipping off overflow again, while applying tape. My tape strips were already tore to length and hanging off the edge of my bench, I did that while the candle warmed the binding. Overflow glue residue was minor the next day and I could take it off gently picking and scraping with my thumbnail.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Addendum: Here's what she looked like about one week later after the fixed binding, after a new harness for her Rio Grande Bluesbars, after a full refret with Jescar 57110s (slightly taller, slightly wider than OEM), and after a bed-height-matching hand-cut and -polished unbleached bone nut.

58376593_2030648670570640_46830073949412

58430290_2030648730570634_86472903497749

57502934_2030649560570551_66774854014116

57578710_2030648950570612_16726675401841

57462816_2030648927237281_51607101373918

58442152_2030648893903951_88489569743357

57555476_2030648850570622_59719273982984

58375043_2030649350570572_69743236264639

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ingenious. That’s thinking outside the box!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meh, I still say this would have been a better scent

 

cites2.jpg

  • Like 3
  • Haha 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, binding separation is always annoying. I love the look of binding, but the eventual cracks that happen... not so much.

 

spacer.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jeff R said:

 

57462816_2030648927237281_51607101373918

 

No need to scallop that fret board.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's one size (barely) smaller than the largest available production fret. Like racing a dirt bike down the train tracks' cross ties.

Frets in most cases are like boobs in most cases ... the bigger the better.

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic thread.  Thanks for sharing.  

I have those frets on a few of my guitars and the 55095’s on my Shishkov’s.  Love the feel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, binding separation seems a pain years down the road if it isn't taken care of along the way.  Is this why someone started doing the masked binding?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Jeff R said:

Frets in most cases are like boobs in most cases ... the bigger the better.

You mean, it gives a better feel.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, scottcald said:

Yeah, binding separation seems a pain years down the road if it isn't taken care of along the way.  Is this why someone started doing the masked binding?

Possibly, but I'd suspect mask/faux binding is employed for reasons including it's relatively easy, relatively cheap labor-wise (binding and inlays are no-shortcuts labor intensive, hence the markups for it) and it showcases the natural beauty of the wood employed. Look at this double-faux-bound Gretsch orange swamp ash "double Thinline" (hollow on the treble side too) that Maestro Stike @Stike recently shot for a shop build. Hubba hubba hubba golly.

58376286_2032838440351663_46292792910985

58663939_2032838473684993_88610183162447

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool, thanks, Jeff.  It's funny, I seem to like the masked binding more and more.  Not that I don't like standard binding, but when I see the above photo, it wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, scottcald said:

Is this why someone started doing the masked binding?

I would think it's more to have "binding" which shows the figuring of the wood, which looks a lot cooler than standard binding, imo.

KIZ%20AVALON%20SIDE%207-22-09.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...