Category Archives: Guitar Repair

Some More Work on the Martin

Got a little more work done on this. To date I have fixed the back braces and the binding. Next up I have to redo the finish on the neck and repair some areas on the top plate where friction has worn the finish down to the spruce.

First I tried to blend the old finish with a new finish but it turned out poorly. So my next option was to take off all the finish and redo the neck in its entirety. Here I have taken off most of the old finish.

Then I applied some water based stain. I am using a mix of 50/50, black walnut and red mahogany. I read that this is the color strategy for most of Martins.

After the stain dried I gave it a light sanding with 600 grit paper. This knocked the raised grain down. I then applied a couple of more coats to darken it a little more.

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Martin 000-1 Back Braces

Ug! The back braces are difficult at best. A very cramped space to work in and getting the glue under the braces without making a mess of things makes this a challenging fix. And all four of them to boot.

The fist step in this is to vacuum the dust out so you are only putting glue underneath the braces.

Next I rigged up a glue bottle with an extended spout so I could get into the tight spots.

Laying some tape down to keep the glue from getting all over the place.

Once I laid down a glue line I used a 0.015mm feeler gauge to shove the glue under the brace. Then I came in with an expanding clamp I made and put it in place. Here I have removed the tape to expose the squeeze out glue. These braces were done one at a time to keep clamp pressure on the top plate to a minimum.

Some small tools for a tight space. I used these Micro Leatherman to cut the tape.

Here on the back brace in the furthest reach I had to use an expanding clamp in the inside as well as these wide-mouthed F-clamps on the outside.

The next day after all the braces were fixed a tap tone on the back and top plate revealed no vibration. Also after each brace was done I checked to make sure the feeler gauge could not get under the brace.

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Martin 000-1 Binding

The first order of business was to repair the binding. A simple repair so I thought I would do that first.

This binding is plastic making the bind plastic to wood. Difficult. So I chose CA glue for the adhesive. CA glue has the nice feature of a quick set time. Just don’t glue your fingers to the binding.

This is a dry run to see where I needed to apply the pressure.

With the CA glue I didn’t want to do a full wrap with the surgical tubing so I held it in place until the glue set.

Then I did a wet sand with 500P grit.

A trouble free repair.

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Repairing a 1995 Martin 000-1

This guitar belongs to a friend of mine. It is a Martin 000-1 made around 1995. It has seen some playing for sure and it it is need of some attention. When I first checked it out I did a tone tap on the top plate and could hear some vibration from inside the body. I could tell immediately it was a loose brace. Further to that the finish was completely off in areas of contact and the neck was down to bare wood. I told my friend it needed repair.

When I got it into my workshop closer inspection revealed all four back braces on both sides of the center spine had come loose. That is, the glue had become old and cracked and came loose from the wood. I checked this using a 0.01 mm feeler gauge. The neck as I said was down to bare wood. Some of the finish on the body had worn away to due abrasion. And a small area of the binding had broken free in the waist. All totaled it needed some serious attention before it got any worse.

Doing the job myself, I thought it was worthy of being fixed. However if my friend was to take it to a guitar repair shop I would have to say the guitar is not worth it. Yes it is a Martin but in my opinion that doesn’t raise it to godhead status that many like to think about this brand. This particular model is a very basic kit with laminate mahogany sides, solid mahogany back, all spruce top, select hardwood neck, with a plastic nut, saddle, and binding. A mortice and tenon neck joint. No inlay and the Martin logo is just a decal. A basic entry level Martin.

But I am up to the challenge of bringing it back to life.

Here is the guitar. It doesn’t look so bad just sitting there.

Here is a picture of the back brace and the center spine. All four on both sides of the spine had come loose.

Picture of the neck. You can see the finish has come off and it is down to wood.

All the way up the neck.

And the binding that has broke away in the waist.

So that is a breakdown of all that is wrong with this guitar except the finish that had come off the body. I will begin to fix this one item at a time.


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