Harmony H1457 archtop guitar repair - Projects - Audio Artillery

Harmony H1457 archtop guitar repair

  1. Intro
  2. Top triage
  3. Crack repairs
  4. Cleaning
  5. My back is killing me
  6. Stripping the top
  7. Putty problems
  8. Putty solutions
  9. Final finish prep
  10. Finish application
  11. Refret
  12. Buffing
  13. Reassembly
  14. Recording

11: Refret

While the finish ages a bit on the top I refretted the neck. Nothing special here, just the usual defret, plane, refret.

(click for full size)

Since this is a bound fretboard the fret tangs must be undercut at either end. Stew-Mac sells an expensive tool for this but I saw someone else online had modified a sheet metal nibbler to do the same thing. I think I got mine on ebay for $12 or so. The modification just removes a little material to give the fret a lip to push up against so that the tang is right under the blade. It works great on this normal sized fretwire but had a hard time with the jumbo wire I used on a previous project. A little cleanup with a file is necessary after nibbling but it goes quickly.

(click for full size)


12: Buffing

All I had on hand was 600 and 1500 grit sandpaper. So that's what I used. I wetsanded with 600 grit until most of the "orange paper"texture was gone from the finish, sanded with 1500 grit, and finished up with some rubbing compound. In a few spots I rubbed thru part of the finish along the grain lines. I think this happened because it wasn't perfectly sanded in that spot to begin with or some water seeped thru and caused the grain to swell. Either way, it's not really too bad because it makes the finish look just a little worn.

One of the cracks in near the bass F-hole re-cracked itself when I put a bit of pressure on the top during the sanding. I put a little cleat under the crack to make it more solid. When I clamped the cleat it left a really deep indentation in the top. I used the old wet paper towel and soldering iron trick to swell it back up. It worked really well. The top is a little wavy over that little spot, but it's not noticeable.


13: Reassembly

I didn't actually do a neck reset on this guitar. When I looked at the neck angle it seemed ok. So what I did was shim it so the neck joint would be tighter and glued it back on. The neck angle looks fine and the action can be adjusted lower than you'd want.

(click for full size)

The apparent high action on the higher frets is due to the fingerboard extension sloping down towards the body beginning around the 16th fret. It might have been better to plane that dip out, but not a huge deal as the higher frets rarely get played on non-cutaways.

(click for full size)


14: Recording

A brief youtube demo of this guitar.

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