Well, you don’t see too many of these… 1914 Gibson Style U Harp Guitar. This guitar came out of a long storage, during which time the celluloid tailpiece off-gassed and crumbled to bits. You commonly see this type of deterioration on old pick guards and binding, which are relatively easy to get, but where are you ever going to find a replacement for this tailpiece? At SF Guitarworks, that’s where.

It took me a little bit of time to get my head around it, but I decided to glue the old tailpiece back together with superglue, then fill and level all the cracks and holes left by missing pieces. I then made a mold out of SmoothOn Mold Star 30, which allowed me to pour a new tailpiece out of SmoothOn EpoxAcast 690, a very strong and clear epoxy.

I made a few test samples using a variety of dyes to get the color correct, and to be sure the epoxy was compatible with the colorant. I ended up using a mix of TransTint dyes to get the base color, then I swirled in a darker color while the epoxy was still liquid in the mold to duplicate the color texture of the original celluloid.

After it cured for a few days, I popped it out of the mold, gave it a sand and buff, and installed in on the guitar.

The finished product has the exact overall color and pattern as the original, is super strong and won’t degrade over time. I had never done any mold making before, so this was a really fun project, and I’m happy to get this 100 year old instrument back up and running. 

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