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Toothpicks and superglue are your friends.

Hey there folks! Its time again for another handy dandy repair blog. Today I want to cover how you can use ordinary toothpicks and superglue to fix common problems with guitar strap buttons and cracks in clear finish.

First, lets address those pesky strap buttons. I cant tell you how many guitars I have seen come through my shop with loose strap buttons. It is a pretty common problem in the repair world which can lead to bigger and bigger problems, damage or guitars being ruined all together. A strap button usually is loose because the threads on the screw holding the button in place are too small, the wood is very soft and wont hold a screw with small threads, or because of excessive strain on the screw, causing the screw to pull out of the hole.

This can result in a lot of problems INCLUDING the strap button popping off during a long set and slamming your guitar neck onto the stage. This is bad, especially if you own a Gibson.

A good and cheap quick-fix for this problem is to:

  • Remove the screw and strap button.
  • Next, find a common household toothpick, preferably made out of wood. Coat a part of the toothpick in wood glue and stick the toothpick into the screw hole until it stops at the end of the hole.
  • Next, break off the toothpick in the hole, wait for the glue to dry and try to re-thread the screw into the hole.

If this does not work, try another toothpick. If that doesn’t work, call me. I can fix it. NEVER try to crank on the screw to the point of where it takes thousands of pounds of force to get it back into the hole. You may end up breaking the screw head off in the hole. This is bad. If the screw does not go back into the hole with a modest amount of effort, stop and call me.

Next, Id like to cover how to repair minor cracks or chips in clear coat finish. I like to use very thin superglue to repair small cracks, chips, indentations or imperfections in thick POLYURETHANE finish. For other types of finish like Nitrocellulose, you can use a reactivating agent that will help the finish re-run into cracks, chips or dents. Superglue is NOT a good solution for these soft types of finish.

It is very important that you lay the guitar down on a flat surface with support for the neck so it does not wobble all over the place. You need a level surface so that the glue with stay where it is applied and not run to other parts of the guitar where you did not need to apply it. Also, if it is running all over the place, you are probably using too much glue. DO NOT OVER GLUE!

  • First, I start by applying a very small amount of very thin super glue to the crack, chip or dent.
  • Next, I wait until the glue is dry and then apply more glue until the imperfection is filled in and moderately level with the rest of the finish in that area.
  • After this, I would finish by sanding down the area with progressively finer and finer grits of sandpaper until the desired sheen is achieved.

I usually start with around 3-400 grit sand paper and work my way up to 1500-5000 or more to take out any left over scratches or to polish the area to a glistening shine. This has worked for me very effectively. It is much easier than trying to get the right kind of poly or epoxy to match the application. If you have left over poly or epoxy finish and you need to match a color, products are sold that will help with that. I find that this is an alternate quick fix for smaller imperfections.

That’s all for now! I hope this information was useful to everyone. Take care and enjoy your instrument!

~Caleb

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