1974 Gibson Les Paul Headstock Repair
This 1974 Gibson Les Paul came into the shop with a crack in the headstock that needed to be fixed. This type of repair is fairly common for LP-style guitars.
Here, you can see the crack where the neck transitions to the headstock. There are also a few vertical cracks leading towards the tuners from a previous repair that we will be addressing as well.
You can see that the crack runs all the way to the face plate of the headstock. We will need to ensure that we glue this properly to hold the headstock in position and prevent any gaps in the wood.
After flowing glue into the crack, we clamp the headstock into the correct position. The tuners have been removed as we will be refinishing the neck later but, this also allows us ease of access to the headstock and provides a better clamping area.
When a headstock cracks like this, it is not always a clean break. In this instance, a few chips of wood had broken off as well. We used wood filler to fill in those gaps,aiding in a smoother surface for the finish.
The finish around the repair is then sanded down to the wood and the rest of the neck is sanded lightly as well. This allows the new finish to apply properly and gives us better control over the coloring of the end result.
Here, we have begun applying the base coats. Part of this step is to ensure all of the minor cracks and holes are filled with finish so that when the neck has been fully refinished, it won't highlight those minor blemishes.
The color coat is now being applied to the repaired portion of the neck. This hides the evidence that any repair was done and gives a clean look. The heel of the neck will also receive the same color treatment to ensure a matching burst effect across the neck.
Once the color coats are done, we then apply 12 coats of Waterborne Acrylic Lacquer. This is a safer, more environmentally friendly option we use at the shop. This finish goes on with a somewhat milky appearance (as seen here) but, when fully dried is crystal clear!
Once the final coats of lacquer have dried, we wet sand and buff the finish. A question that sometimes arises in this process is about the serial number. The serial numbers on these guitars are stamped into the wood and, as you can see here, the refinishing process fills in that stamp. Not to worry! While you may not be able to feel the stamp anymore, looking at the back of the headstock straight on, will show the serial number is still fully legible.
Here, we have the fully completed neck repair and refinishing job. The repair we completed is not visible at all and, there is no longer evidence of the repairs near the tuning holes either.