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Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Martin Reynolds




Harmony Guitar
Rebuilding a Harmony, Part 1

Step 1
After removing strings and tuners I clamp the neck firmly in my bench vise, My vise is a old Black & Decker Workmate and if anyone has one of these it's one of the best guitar repair vises you can find.

Step 2
The large palette knife can be found at any Art Supply. The small palette knife I made over 30 years ago and it is still one of the most used tools in my shop.

Step 3
To protect the finish I cover the top with foil covered masonite pieces. I leave only the end of the fingerboard exposed. The small rosewood block covers the last position marker.

Step 4
The 300 watt heat lamp is close but not touching. It only takes 4-6 minutes to heat the FB.

Step 5
No I didn't turn the lights off, the heat lamp is really bright.

Step 6
After loosening the corners with the small knife I start working the big knife up the FB.

Step 7
The FB is glued with hide glue and comes loose pretty easily.

Step 8
With the FB loose I'm ready to pull the neck. First I need a way into the dovetail joint. A 3/32 bit in my Milwaukee driver works great.

Step 9
I drill a small hole through the neck block just into the back side of the dove-tail.

Step 10
This small hole will swell up around the steam needle when things start to get cooking.

Step 11
The needle and hose are connected to a cappuccino maker/ steam nozzle.

Step 12
It takes a few good shots of steam to get the joint loose. The sponges help protect the finish from too much heat.

Step 13
When I think things are getting loose I will gently rock the body. Christine's neck block had a internal crack that could not be seen from the outside. When I rocked her body I got a crack in her top and side. More to fix.

Step 14
A little more steam and a few well placed clamps to keep her from cracking even more. The neck is out.

Step 15
I find it easier to clean the old braces and add the new ones with the neck off. I have laid a mirror inside so the top braces can be seen. Harmony left a whole lotta glue in there and I need to scrape it away before I can glue the new braces in place.

Step 16
These are the scrapers I use to clean braces.

Step 17
The new flutter braces ready to install. Somehow I lost the photo of the tongue brace, probably during late night editing after 3 Rum & Tonics. Like I said @#%$ Happens.

Step 18
Flutter braces, dry clamped so I could get a shot using the mirror.

Step 19
The white plastic clamping caul seen in the mirror is the same shape and size as the tongue brace.

My Glass is Empty.

Step 20
This is my neck-setting jig. The table tilts to create the new neck angle.

Step 21
The off-set base for my Moto-Tool allows for a lot of clearance around the cutter bit. The bit is adjusted so it cuts level to the table top.

Step 22
The white pieces keep the upper part of the heel level with the table during adjustments. Since the table is at a angle to the backboard the lower part of the heel will be above the level of the table.

Step 23
These clamps hold the neck in the jig.

Step 24
Adjustment pieces removed. Close to the upper heel the bit cuts very little wood.

Step 25
But as I get to the lower heel it cuts quite a bit away.

Step 26
The jig allows for wood removal only so close to the dove-tail, the rest must be removed by hand.

Step 27
After removing the excess wood around the joint I stain the bare wood. This helps show the high and low spots where the heel meets the body.

Step 28
Getting real close. Only very small gaps between the heel and body.

Step 29
Once I'm happy with the body fit I need to tighten the dove-tail again. Removing wood from the heel made this joint real loose. Wooden shims glued to the dove-tail will give me something to make up for the loss of wood around the heel.

Step 30
As I re-fit the dove-tail I need to keep checking the alignment, the strings are used for this, as I dry clamp the neck the strings give me a good visual of the alignment.

Step 31
I leave the strings in place during the early clamping phase just to make sure things don't slip. Only light clamp pressure is needed, the glue will swell the wood making the joint even tighter.

End of Part 1 — continue to Part 2

Repairs & consultation by appointment • Call or email: 763.398.9918 • mnluthier@gmail.com

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