Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hofner Colorama II restoration project (part 12) - repairing the metal tremolo cover

In between coats of paint, I worked on fixing the metal tremolo cover.

As you can see above, it's being held down by a washer, since it is in fact cracked completely across, as seen here:

In fact, if you look closely at the first photo, you will see that a lot of the surface chrome close to that area has cracked too and is only held in place by magic or something.

Anyway, firstly I bent and hammered it down to something resembling flat:

Then I roughed the surface of it near the crack with a view to trying to solder it together. Remember that the chrome plating in this area was close to flaking off anyway. I figured this was also the least intrusive way to join it without discolouring the surrounding chrome too much.

However, I could not get the solder to stick to the metal cover, so tried a different route.

First of all, I set about cutting a piece of aluminium into the shape of a somewhat oblong washer.

Just as I was almost finished, I discovered I had a much thinner piece of aluminium I could use, so I started cutting that out:

And here it is all cut out and polished up.

However, even the thinner piece looked out of place (don't believe how nice it looks in the photo) and I just wasn't happy with it.

I decided to just try gluing something onto the back of the cover to keep it structurally sound, but found that I couldn't get anything to stick to the chrome plating, even after heavily scratching the surface (going through to the brass in some places) and using Arardite Rapid Steel Epoxy (which is the closest thing to JB Weld I can find over here). So I figured this thing was getting so screwed up already that I would file a big chunk of the chrome plating completely off the back and try gluing again. Once I saw the bare brass, I thought I would try just one more time to solder it. This time, though, I spread quite a bit of flux over it too. I heated up a test area, and lo and behold, the solder took to it.

So I flipped it over, filed off some of the chrome and soldered the top. It's a really obvious repair, but I don't care. I'm very happy with it. I may try to polish it up a bit more, but apart from that, I'm calling it done.


Anonymous said...

I came across this blog by google'ing "broken screw in a guitar body" and I'm fascinated by the amount of work and "love" you put into a vintage, albeit not very valuable guitar.
You've done a great job to make this guitar a player again!

stu said...

Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

I thought the alloy washer was a neat solution but full credit for persevering with a proper join.