Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 80
COLUMN Dan's Guitar RX
hollowbody" guitar. This block also gives the
top great strength, supports the bridge and
tailpiece, and keeps feedback to a minimum.
Installing the plug was tricky because it had
to be done before the glue set, and there were
six steps. The first was to pull the plug (wet
with glue) into the hole with string. Then, I
pulled the interior caul over to the hole with
string. I then wiggled my 3/ 8" threaded rod
into the caul and pulled the caul upward
6) Step four involved sliding an outer caul
(made from the same 1/ 8" acrylic and waxedoff so as not to stick to glue) over the 3 / 8" rod.
This outer caul had a 11/ 8" diameter hole in
it, which was larger than the plug diameter,
so the plug could protrude up through it.
Note the small hole drilled in the plug for
the string - it wouldn't work through the
jack hole since the 3 / 8" bolt fit too snug, plus
the string was in the way.
7) Next, I installed a large-diameter
"spacer" (from a one-ounce plastic measuring cup) to make up for the missing thread,
and tightened it home. Finally, I had to
remove the outer caul and clean the excess
glue that had squeezed out around the plug
and from the caul and re-clamp. I used
TiteBond glue, which cleans up with water
and has a reasonable "open" or working
time - but I still had to move fast to do this
extra cleanup step.
8) After the plug dried, shaving it to match
the top and the finish was the fun part - but
only with sharp chisels. I sharpened a couple
just for this job. The customer and I agreed
that no matter what, the plug would be visible, and that a lot of lacquer work would
be a waste of time and money - I sealed the
wood with shellac and that was it.
9) Because my plug added thickness to
the underside of the top, I replaced the jack
with a long-shank version.
10) To hide the work, I turned a "jack-ring"
from Gibson pickguard material that was
a good match for the pickguard. However,
even with the longer-shank jack, the ring was
too thick to get the
washer and hex nut
on. Then I turned
a second ring from
thinner b/w/b stock
- sti l l too t hick.
T hat wa s a l r ig ht
by me because the
b /w / b l a m i n at e s
called attention to
the jack, and didn't
11) So, I turned a
third one - a simple
bl a c k r i ng f rom
material. And not
only did I like its
looks, but it gave me
room for a washer
under the hex nut.
I enjoyed working
on this guitar - it
was a challenge, and
I did more than 20
dry runs to be sure I could do everything
and not screw up once glue was involved!
Dan Erlewine has been repairing guitars for more
than 40 years. He is the author of three books, dozens
of magazine articles, and has produced instructional
videotapes and DVDs on guitar repair. Since 1986,
Erlewine has lived and worked in Athens, Ohio, as
part of the R&D team for Stewart-MacDonald's
Guitar Shop Supply. You can contact Dan at dan@