Anyone ever figured out how to deal with ES335s with the notorious delaminating ply issue?

David Mccarroll

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
1,776
Reaction score
1,268
Well.... I got one. Been sitting on a '67 ES335 (metaphorically, not literally in case you suspect I can't tell the difference between an ES335 and a comfy chair) for a couple of years trying to work out how to approach a guitar where the top layer of the laminations is clearly split off from the layer below in a few locations (quite a few!) and has reasonably large logitudinal splits along the surface - the edges of the splits are a bit curled up so it's just all fun from here on in.

Has anyone ever had to deal with this, or knows someone who has done so successfully? At the risk of being boring I am only looking for proven results at this point, not suggestions, no matter how good they might be.

Any help offered would be gratefully received! Thanks :D

P.S. The guitar is languishing at a friend's place so when I finally get around to collecting it I'll post some pics.
 

ajory72

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,199
Reaction score
568
I’ve never seen this before…. I don’t suppose you have a picture or 2 on this?

(I have built a few guitars and do my own repairs etc, I have an es335 dot and you’ve peaked my interest)
 

the great waldo

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
437
Reaction score
248
This effect is caused by having the wrong side of the rotary cut veneer used for making the ply facing the outside of the ply. It's hard to spot but if someone got the veneers mixed up in the factory at Gibson this happens.
cheers
Andrew
 
  • Like
Reactions: E.X

BDW60

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,006
Reaction score
1,383
I had no idea this was a notorious thing at all. I gotta get out more.
 

Jim_E

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
329
Reaction score
350
This effect is caused by having the wrong side of the rotary cut veneer used for making the ply facing the outside of the ply. It's hard to spot but if someone got the veneers mixed up in the factory at Gibson this happens.
cheers
Andrew
There’s a wrong side to a rotary veneer?
 

pshupe

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
5,631
Have we been enlightened ?

Cheers
Andrew
Absolutely. Enlightened to the fact that this statement is mildly, to moderately, condescending. :rofl: just kidding!

But seriously, if you actually understand this information, whereas I read this as gibberish to my caveman brain. It might be nice if you could explain it in layman's terms. Also how you have observed this causing issues with similar guitars to the OP's. That would be much more helpful IMO. Thank you.

Regards Peter.
 
Last edited:

the great waldo

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
437
Reaction score
248
Right then
The basic problem with the wrong side off the veneer is that it has hairline fractures from the knife cutting into the wood. The logs are softened with heat and moisture before being turned. After the veneer is dried the fractures aren`t readily visible. If you have ever bent a guitar side at the waist with some woods you wil get compression on the inside of the curve (outside of the guitar) and tearing of fibers on the outside of the bend (inside the guitar) This is just to give you an idea that wood is not infinitely flexible. With the veneer the side with fractures should be used on the gluing face otherwise latter on the fractures will reappear and cause the hairline cracks along the grain in the finish. If you look at the second attachment I posted you can see a diagram of the lathe checks that should make it reasonably obvious as to whats happening. I hope it helps.
Cheers
Andrew
 

pshupe

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
5,631
Right then
The basic problem with the wrong side off the veneer is that it has hairline fractures from the knife cutting into the wood. The logs are softened with heat and moisture before being turned. After the veneer is dried the fractures aren`t readily visible. If you have ever bent a guitar side at the waist with some woods you wil get compression on the inside of the curve (outside of the guitar) and tearing of fibers on the outside of the bend (inside the guitar) This is just to give you an idea that wood is not infinitely flexible. With the veneer the side with fractures should be used on the gluing face otherwise latter on the fractures will reappear and cause the hairline cracks along the grain in the finish. If you look at the second attachment I posted you can see a diagram of the lathe checks that should make it reasonably obvious as to whats happening. I hope it helps.
Cheers
Andrew

Interesting. Thank you for the clarification. I actually gathered the exact opposite from "skimming" the documents. I thought they were saying that the fractures would contribute to delamination if they were placed on the gluing surface. It seems that the OP has noticed delamination though, not just hairline cracks along the grain. Hopefully some pictures will be put up at some point which may confirm or rule out this type of issue.

Cheers Peter.
 

the great waldo

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
437
Reaction score
248
If the original poster has air pockets under the surface veneer then it's just a case of badly glued ply laminations and in 40 years or so i've not come across that on a Gibson (that's not to say it's never happened and i've not had every Gibson semi in my hand) although I used to set up a lot of Gibsons with Peter cook for Rosetti who were the distributors in the UK in those days and camer across many a fine bodge Dots on both sides of the fingerboard on a Left hand LP custom1!! I've seen a fair amount of delaminating on far east guitars where the quaility of the ply matched the price of the guitar. Let's see if the op puts up some photos.

Cheers
Andrew
 

Jim_E

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
329
Reaction score
350
As a guy who owned a Paul Ott 4'x8' hydraulic veneer press and slitter and stitcher for many years, and who's bought many flitches of every conceivable type, who's stitched and pressed thousands of different pieces, no not really enlightened as lathe check has never been the cause of any deficiencies for me in more than 40 years, but I'll tell you what has when doing bent laminated work like a 335, simply not enough glue between the veneers resulting in the face not being fully bonded, then cracking opening up drying out and looking exactly like every 335 with this defect ever.
 

rockstar232007

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2008
Messages
17,701
Reaction score
15,676
As a guy who owned a Paul Ott 4'x8' hydraulic veneer press and slitter and stitcher for many years, and who's bought many flitches of every conceivable type, who's stitched and pressed thousands of different pieces, no not really enlightened as lathe check has never been the cause of any deficiencies for me in more than 40 years, but I'll tell you what has when doing bent laminated work like a 335, simply not enough glue between the veneers resulting in the face not being fully bonded, then cracking opening up drying out and looking exactly like every 335 with this defect ever.
Not really a "defect". More like and "inherent flaw".

I have and old, '60s MIJ Kent Americana, and have this very issue in both f-holes.

The only solution is f-hole binding, but it would be to labour-intensive, and would drive the costs through the roof...as if they're not alread stupid expensive?
 

lwchafin

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
89
Reaction score
49
As a guy who owned a Paul Ott 4'x8' hydraulic veneer press and slitter and stitcher for many years, and who's bought many flitches of every conceivable type, who's stitched and pressed thousands of different pieces, no not really enlightened as lathe check has never been the cause of any deficiencies for me in more than 40 years, but I'll tell you what has when doing bent laminated work like a 335, simply not enough glue between the veneers resulting in the face not being fully bonded, then cracking opening up drying out and looking exactly like every 335 with this defect ever.
Actual experience-based information, and a simple explanation that makes sense. I like it.
 

dspelman

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
11,485
Reaction score
8,117
I have a pair of '67 ES-335s, and this caused me to haul them out and inspect them carefully.

Nothing at all wrong with them.

One of them has been around the world with me several times and has been through every conceivable environment and it's still soldiering along.

Cool story, though.
 


Latest Threads



Top