Waldron Dreadnaught

waldron_dreadnaughtThis is a Waldron Dreadnaught acoustic made by boutique luthier, Goode Waldron, in the 1980’s or 1990’s. The guitar was expertly made in a style similar to a Martin D-28. However, the guitar’s previous owner stored it for many years in a less than ideal environment where it experienced extreme swings in temperature and humidity levels resulting in:
• The neck separating from the body
• The bridge lifting
• And a 5-inch “winter” crack on the back of the guitar.

The guitar’s present owner was a close friend to Waldron who passed away in 2008. The owner was heartbroken to find it in its current state of disrepair and wants to restore the guitar to playing condition in honor of his friend.

The repair is started off with rehydrating the wood by simply placing a small bowl containing a small, water-filled sponge inside the guitar. All openings were sealed using a balloon and some tape. After about a week, this introduced enough moisture back into the wood for it to close the gap of the winter crack. At that point, I glued the crack and installed some support splines so the crack will not open again in the future.

Getting the neck off the body proved to be quite a challenge. After steaming the interior of the neck joint, the glue dissolved easily, but the neck refused to separate. After many days of deliberation, I finally decided to remove the fretboard tongue; this revealed several wood screws holding the neck on.

After cleaning the old glue and make a few minor fitting adjustments, I found there was no way to achieve a clean, snug fit; the dovetail was just too loose. I attempted to glue some shims in place to help with the fit, but the gap at the heel of the neck was almost 1/4 inch. The shims would never had lasted the test of time.

So I decided to take a page out of a dentist’s handbook…using a straight bit, I routed away the angles of the dovetail joint on both the neck and the body. I then glued in freshly-routed, custom fitting, wood blanks to fill body’s neck pocket and cover the neck’s joint.

The plan is to now re-route the joints so they are again a snug fit.

Next up is:

  • Re-routing the dovetail joints and resetting the neck
  • Re-gluing the bridge
  • Leveling the fretboard and re-fretting the neck
  • Making a new nut and saddle
  • Set up & deliver :)
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