FDP Forum / Weighing DIY to fix cracks on Martin D15M/ 27 messages in thread.

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tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:14 AM        

Great sound, good price, dim light, and dumb me. I now have a pretty 1997 Martin D15M...with at least seven side-body cracks that I failed to see before laying out $400.<br /> <br /> I have sent pics to a good luthier in the DC area (Steve Carmody) for a general estimate. There goes my "bargain." I will update this thread with his estimate when I get it.<br /> <br /> I bought this as a player for my Maine house. So, alternatively, I could try fixing the cracks myself. I recently used hide glue to fix a crack in the headstock of a Guild mahogany classical. It came out sound, but visible. In the case of this Martin, the sheer number of cracks, possible need for cleating and tricky clamping, and some associated dents all give me pause.<br /> <br /> A '97 D15M is not nearly as valuable a guitar as the cracked D18 Chris bought for $400, but it is well-regarded and would be easy to sell if it didn't look bad. Your thoughts on DIY vs pro repair?<br /> <br />



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:17 AM        

Here's another.



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:18 AM        

And another.



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:19 AM        

A couple more.



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:20 AM        

But there are no cracks on the top, nor the back, and it looks kinda nice.



Hammond101

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:26 AM        

I'd send it to a pro. Yes, the clamps etc. you will need to do it right will cost more than the actual repair would if you send it out I would thing.<br /> <br /> That this is pretty. It's a shame it got beat around.



Peegoo

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:29 AM        

Those are cosmetic cracks due to abuse; they're not structural. That's good, because the guitar can be tuned up and played with no risk of it imploding.<br /> <br /> Also, they are all closed cracks. All of them are easily fixed by rubbing glue into the crack from both sides, and backing it (inside) with a small, thin cleat of spruce or other light, stiff wood, glued in with the cleat's grain running at 90 degrees to the guitar's mahogany grain. <br /> <br /> It helps to first gently nudge the wood to get both sides of each crack flush with each other. If one side of the crack is depressed, try to pop it out without causing further damage.<br /> <br /> The most difficult part of the repair is leveling, sanding, and filling the finish to conceal the repair as best you can. On a $400 guitar, it makes no sense to spend a chunk of $$ on a refin.<br /> <br /> If that were my guitar, I'd glue and cleat the cracks, call it done, and play it with battle scars and all. <br /> <br /> It's a $400 Martin. That's not too bad a deal!



Peegoo

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:32 AM        

I see no need to apply clamps to close any of these cracks, because you'd have to crush the surrounding 'good' wood in order to close the crack. <br /> <br /> All the cracks are small and short, and none run to a joint or glue line that I can see.



Chris Greene

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:33 AM        

Where did you buy it that these cracks were unseen and undisclosed?



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:39 AM        

I confess I was dumb. It was in a very dimly lit apartment of a guy who was kinda down and out. He was nice and kept up a patter of conversation. I don't know why my critical brain wasn't on. I was also in hurry.<br /> <br /> I'm glad there weren't higher stakes involved than $400 in disposable income; and the guitar is redeemable.



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 10:43 AM        

Yay Peegoo, a vote for devil-may-care DIY!<br /> <br /> I'll see which way the repair estimate pushes me off the fence.



stratcowboy

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Nov 6th, 2017 12:57 PM        

Maybe this is one of Martin's new "Road Worn" series. LOL...



Peegoo

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Nov 6th, 2017 01:49 PM        

It's not so much devil-may-care; it's being practical. The guitar cost you $400. New, it's $1100 or so. Repaired, it will be worth $600-$800 or thereabouts. If you dump a bunch of $$ into it to bring it up to the best shape possible, it would make more sense to sell it for whatever you can get for it and buy a new one. <br /> <br /> The guitar will hold up fine and play and sound great with simple repairs. <br /> <br /> Also, that guitar has a very thin satin finish on it; it's not a thick glossy surface. That thin finish makes concealing a repair much more difficult than on a glossy finish because it's thin to start with, and the grain is visible in reflected light. Unless it's completely stripped, sanded and refinished, spot repairs will be very hard to conceal.<br /> <br /> On a thicker finish, it's easier to hide a spot repair: you build up the surface with clear finish to level out any surface irregularities in the repaired wood beneath.<br /> <br /> If you want real devil-may-care:<br /> <br /> 1. Remove the strings.<br /> <br /> 2. Rub some Titebond II glue into the cracks, gently wipe off the excess with a slightly damp cloth, and let it dry overnight.<br /> <br /> 3. Apply some racing decals over the repaired areas to hide 'em.<br /> <br /> 4. Re-string it and play the devil out of it.



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 02:02 PM        

Thanks Peegoo. You suggest Titebond II because of its gap-filling property?<br /> <br /> If I could gently squeeze the cracks closed, would hide glue be a valid option? Or Titebond I?<br /> <br />



Peegoo

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Nov 6th, 2017 02:56 PM        

I recommended Titebond II because of its extreme resistance to weakening due to moisture when cured. It's rated for exterior use.<br /> <br /> That means you can use it in the cracks to bond and seal the wood. No need for a finish over it.



tiller2

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Nov 6th, 2017 04:48 PM        

Good to know. <br /> <br /> FYI to fix basic cracks, including finish touchups, Steve charges $15-$30 per inch, depending on the type & thickness of the finish. My repairs might run $210-$420.



Peegoo

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Nov 6th, 2017 06:04 PM        

If you're willing to spend the $$ for a pro repair, get a description of how he'll repair the finish. A good tech can cover their tracks well.



hushnel

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Nov 6th, 2017 07:09 PM        

Once itâs all stabilized according to Peegooâs recomendation take a high quality photo of the grain, then print a couple lazer printer water slide decals and slip them over the repair. Wipe down with Tru-Oil.



tiller2

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Washington DC

Nov 6th, 2017 07:45 PM        

hushnel, you blow my mind :O



reverend mikey

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Nov 6th, 2017 08:06 PM        

Do not...I repeat, DO NOT put racing decals on that beautiful old Martin! Peegoo, what are you thinkin' man?!<br /> <br /> Hey, tiller2, you just bought yerself a 20 year old Martin for $400 - congratulations! It should be well seasoned and broken in already... and the wood may be higher quality than what they're using on these now.<br /> <br /> I say follow Peegoo's other advice - use some TB II glue on it and call it a day.<br /> <br /> Still ... hard to miss some of those cracks - you really were in a hurry!



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