Repairing Acoustic Guitars with Superglue
Repairing Acoustic Guitars with Super Glue
It doesn’t matter whether you are a new player who just bought your first guitar, an experienced player that already had several guitars or you are a band player with access to several guitars. Sooner or later, you will discover that your beloved favorite acoustic guitar has small tiny cracks or gaps on the sound board.
One of the frets lifted a little, an ugly scratch by the side, the bridge got unseated a tiny space from the board and so many such challenges. Well, you get the picture by now, with daily or continuous usage, you will be facing an imperfection in your wooden instrument on a long enough timeline.
Super Glue for Guitar Repair
The good news is that fixing these kinds of issues is not very hard and is also fairly cheap. All you need is superglue.
Super glue, also known as CA Glue, is an acrylic resin that rapidly dries when exposed to normal levels of humidity that exists in the air. It strongly joins the bonded surfaces together. Therefore, all we need to repair those small damages on the guitar is super glue.
Common Safety Tips When Working with Super Glue
Before starting your guitar repair, the following are some common sense rules that must be followed.
1. Work in a well-ventilated area. Asthma and breathing problems may arise in poorly-ventilated areas. An ideal place would be near an open window or in a porch.
2. Wear safety glasses. Even a tiny drop splashing onto your eyes would be very dangerous.
3. Open the container carefully and only after you are ready to work. Before opening it, hold it a safe distance from your face.
4. Don’t wear cotton and wool. All product indications state this because cotton and wool clothing may react with cyanoacrylate and cause a fire.
5. Wearing gloves is highly recommended. However, with or without gloves, never touch your face when you have glue on your fingers.
6. Always have a good solvent near and ready. You will need to clean your fingers or quickly clean any surface that the super glue may splash out.
Where NOT to Use During Guitar Repair
It is very important to remember that the use of super glue is for fixing or repairing parts that are not intended to come apart. It is very difficult to remove two joint pieces. For instance, in the case of the bridge, it may need to be replaced and if you previously used superglue because it was unseated a little bit, it may shred or rip the wood, damaging the guitar on the sound board when removed.
With time, a non-gentle use or the continuous usage of a capo can produce cracks in the fretboard. Replacing the whole fretboard may be the only way when a large crack is present. However, small, not compromising cracks can be easily fixed. With a clean handkerchief, remove thoroughly all dust around the crack. To remove dust from inside the crack itself, use a pin to reach the accumulated dust.
You may use a small piece of sandpaper to lightly sand the edges of the gap if needed. Insert super glue with the micro tip, squeeze softly and remember, you don’t want to spill it over. After 10-20 seconds, the glue should be hard, filling all the crack. Use again the sandpaper to layer the glue.
Another technique is to mix some sawdust with thin super glue super glue and then do as before. Brush gently and continuously and keep layering until the glue/sawdust mix fills the crack.
A very common small damage is unseated frets. As before, begin by gently cleaning or removing any dust that may be on the fret. Have a toothpick at hand. Place one or two small drops the closest distance possible to where the fret is unseated, right beside the gap air. Don’t use the container tip to extend the glue because another drop may come out and you don’t need a mess of glue around the fret (once dry, is hard to remove it).
Use the toothpick to extend the super glue around and below the fret. Gently tap it down using a fretting hammer. If you don’t have one, press from the eraser side of a pencil as gently as possible. As soon as it is well seated, clean up the excess glue with a soft tissue or a cotton swab. If some glue is already stuck, you can use a cutter blade to gently scrape the dried glue.
Every guitar has inlays of some kind. This is probably the best use for thin super glue super glue in your guitar. Whether it was a factory default or a previous owner’s child wanted to rip the inlay, weather conditions or even as a result of adverse weather conditions, inlays sometimes pop out. Inlays are found on the fretboard, headstock, and sides of the neck.
If on the fretboard, you need to remove the strings and if possible, remove the inlay completely. Then the same process follows where you remove the dust and play it a little without applying glue yet to see that the inlays fit adequately. Place one or two drops in the slot and gently place the inlay.
Now that the inlay is properly in place and glued, you will probably end up with a small bump or bumps of glue. As previously mentioned, the best way to get rid of this dried excess glue is to sand it down. After all the glue has been sanded off, you may use some oil wood to polish the fretboard.
With proper care and use, your acoustic guitar will last for years. Repairing those small imperfections will ensure that its sound is always delightful and professional. A love guitar enthusiast used to say: a new acoustic guitar is a great investment and a well-used old one is a treasure.