Broken Les Paul Peghead Repaired
Bryan Galloup’s repair notes: A broken-off peghead really upsets the guitar owner, but can be surprisingly easy to repair so it’s just as strong as new.
This broken Les Paul peghead wasn’t so bad after all!
This Les Paul belongs to a retired working musician who dug it out of the closet and decided to fix it up to start playing again. This guitar shows the wear of years of use and abuse. Other than the broken peghead there are a few other things he’d like to repair, including the removal of an extra output jack that somebody had installed.
This peghead is broken clean off, not just a fracture like some of the simpler breaks. In addition, there are some sections of binding missing, and under the fretbaord the neck is cracked.
I first remove the tuners and truss rod hardware in preparation for repair.
I use West Systems epoxy for most of my broken peg head repairs (fig 5). This is a slow curing epoxy that gives me plenty of working time when realigning the broken sections.
I work into all cracks and both broken sections of the peghead.
I work both sections back together trying to feel when small fingers of broken wood fit back together like a puzzle.
Once in place, I use two flat cauls and two clamps to lightly clamp it together and watch to make sure it doesn’t slip.
When I’m sure it’s secure and straight, I finish clamping into position. This is a slow-curing epoxy that will need a full twelve hours to secure the peghead, so I’ll let it set overnight.
The binding slot is in good shape. To replace the binding and perflings I measure the width of each perfling and choose binding material of about the same width and height.
This material I chose was some Boltron strips I had on hand. They were about .005 wider than the binding I’m replacing, so I simply scraped them down to width.
I glue the binding into place with Duco cement. A piece of Teflon and tape holds them in place.
I file the binding flat so I can see that the joint fits well, then I tape the binding in place and float it with cynoacrolate.
I file the excess glue and binding flush…
…and scrape the binding to shape. I inspect the entire peghead for imperfections and sand it to a 230-grit finish—down to about the fifth fret.
In preparation for finishing, I mask off the fretboard and the binding on the neck to protect them from black spray during the touch-up. I chose to leave the peghead bindings uncovered, and scrape them clean after spraying.
The last step is to Scotch-Bright the area to prep it for receiving the new finish.
I spray black over the repaired areas, then pull the tape off the bindings and scrape the peghead bindings clean.
I spray 4 coats of clear lacquer to seal the black in and airbrush a golden tint to match the aged look on the body bindings.
Once I was happy with the color match I finished the spraying process with eight coats of clear lacquer.
After a one-week curing period I wet-sanded with 1000-grit paper and buff it to a high gloss sheen.
I now clean and polish the entire guitar and reinstall the hardware. Once I finish the new nut and set up the guitar, this repair is complete — and it looks great.
The binding looks so good I couldn’t even tell it was repaired and the back shows no sign of the fracture!