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I didn't take any pictures of this vintage Gibson before I started work, but it had a crack on the top on the bass side, and a lot of the lacquer had flaked off, revealing a large patch of bare wood. Because Gibsons are very prone to lacquer checking, a crack like this than become very unsightly if not treated promptly. This one had been unplayed for some time. Additionally, it had been fitted with large Grover Rotomatic tuners, and the locking nuts had been tightened up so much that they had gone part-way through the headstock. Finally, a very nasty replacement pickguard had been fitted in place of the original firestripe one.
The crack was easily aligned, glued and cleated, but as it was just on the edge of the sunburst the missing lacquer was hard to match. It's virtually impossible to hide cosmetic damage like this entirely, but an 'honest repair' is much better that a large patch of bare wood. And of course it needed touching up to prevent further chipping. After about 35 airbrushed coats of nitrocellulose I was reasonably happy with it - and the owner was delighted.
The next task was to sort out the tuners. The existing holes had been reamed very unevenly, so they needed to be milled out. Matching mahogany plugs could then be turned on my Unimat modellers' lathe to match. They were tapered slightly to ensure that they would remain in place, and then glued in with coloured epoxy. I wouldn't usually use epoxy on a vintage instrument but epoxy is the best choice for a job like this as most of the new wood would have to be removed when cutting the new holes for the tuner posts. It's a good gap-filler too, so I was able to fill the dents where the nuts and washers have been over-tightened. The new holes were then cut using one of StewMac's milling cutters and a set of Golden Age replica tuners were installed. A light over-spray of the faceplate blended things together.
Finally, a new firestripe pickguard was cut from Greven Tor-Tis sheet. This is very hard to get, but is the best option for a vintage firestripe look. It needs cutting carefully, but buffs up beautifully.