How to repair neck binding on '55 Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by jdmp, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. jdmp

    jdmp Member

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    I'm in Sydney Australia. I know luthiers that I trust for setups...nobody that I would trust for this...
     
  2. jimi55lp

    jimi55lp Senior Member

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    Acetone is what is used to attach the binding and it will hold and also melt the crack seams to blend. I'm not sure if nail polish remover will work since most I've seen are mild or toned down acetone content. Just mask off well and place fret board facing down to prevent drips from reaching neck finish. You just want to dampen the backside of the binding piece and along with the crack edges and quickly place it against the fret board for application holding it until set. The crack seam edges can be melted to the other binding by dipping a razor blade edge into acetone and quickly putting it in between the two pieces makeing it melt or dissolve together. It happens very fast and sets fast also. I've repaired many cracks in jack plates this way. The crack between the neck lacquer and the binding can be drop filed with lacquer not acetone!
     
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  3. jdmp

    jdmp Member

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    It took a long time, but I finally got this done. I decided to use Jeff Mallia here in Sydney based on some recommendations. I contacted him before Christmas and he was about to shut down shop for a while so I put it off til Jan. I got it to him in mid/late Feb and it took him about 4 weeks. Like a lot of little workshops, you have to be patient. Before I picked up the guitar he told me the cost was $275 but that included a fret crown and setup.

    Before I got the guitar I was a little grumpy. The whole process took ages, and I was being charged alot of money to stick a bit of binding on. When I got the guitar however, I thought the whole project was worth it. The set up was great and was completely worth the extra money. That guitar wasn't at the top of my list before, but now it fully holds it own against all my other guitars. The right setup can really make a difference.

    So, it took ages, cost a lot, but I can totally recommend Jeff Mallia for great luthier work in Sydney. Thanks Jeff!
     
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  4. jimi55lp

    jimi55lp Senior Member

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    I'm so glad you got it to a pro and all turned out well! I just wanted to give detailed instructions to your questioning "how to reattach a piece of binding". These repairs are not for everyone but pure acetone is the method most knowing luthiers would use to make this repair on a vintage 50s LP binding, guards, and jack plates. I don't believe you'll find glue residue under neck binding on these vintage models unless someone has been experimenting or re engineering.
     
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  5. DrSte31n

    DrSte31n Senior Member

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    Where are them pictures? :p
     
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  6. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    PICS!! PICS!! :facepalm:;)
     
  7. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    I think you did the right thing if you weren't confident. Although you're right it does seem expensive. FYI acetone from Bunnings will do the job. It'll stick binding to wood and also will re-attach broken bits by melting them together. However, it's important that the binding breaks are cleaned of any brown rosewood/acetone/glue residue otherwise you end up with an obvious join line. Also the binding on necks is so thin (and also this is super old) so it can easily start falling apart if it comes into contact with acetone. Not to mention you need to protect the inlays, finish, and hopefully he did a finish touch up for you if it needed it.
     
  8. jdmp

    jdmp Member

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    I just saw the requests for pics. Not alot to show really. Here is another pic of the binding problem...
    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of the repair. I've circled the ends of the broken section. You can barely see them. Pretty good work, but it is the set up which really won the day for this job.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    Looks sweet! Congrats on the fix and the setup, I think the cost will be worth it in the long run
     
  10. Thrill

    Thrill Senior Member

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    Nice. Glad you ended up going to a pro, and you picked a good one cause he did a really good job. Just starting reading this thread and seeing you say you were getting acetone and doin it yourself, I thought, damn, this guys got balls of steel lol.

    If it was a normal modern guitar, Id do it myself. But on an original 50s Les Paul? Not a chance. I remember the first time I did binding on a guitar, and trying to match ends using acetone or some binding melted into acetone as a glue, and it turned into a damn mess. I felt bad enough doing it on a cheap $200 Ibanez, I might have jumped off a bridge if it was a $50000 LP.
     
  11. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    Firstly, I’m also glad you had a Pro do this job.

    Secondly, I don’t understand the $275 comment because, in actual fact, you’re paying for a specific skill level to do the job correctly, along with a set up etc.

    Frankly I’d call that a relatively low price. In USD that amounts to ~ $211 which isn’t much for a Guitar like this.

    Great outcome IMHO. :)

    :cheers2:
     
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  12. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    I agree, you should see the price I just payed for a refret here in Canada..
     
  13. sws1

    sws1 V.I.P. Member

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    Did he relacquer the neck? The 2nd picture has alot of yellow up and down the neck. Not so much before. Could be the angle/lighting.
     
  14. jdmp

    jdmp Member

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    He did a little overspray around the repair. The colour difference between the photos is just lighting and a different phone/camera.
     

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