Getting creative
A "Pot Hole"
© Frank Ford 2003; Photos by FF

This virtually new Larrivee dreadnought has a recessed pickup volume pot in an unusual off center location:

Who would do such a thing, and why?

I did it, and here's why:

Just after this guitar's owner made the decision to get a pickup installed, a metal framed photograph tried to commit suicide by leaping from the wall. Unfortunately, the Larrivee was on a stand just beneath and it became the soft landing place that broke the frame's fall.

That's a nasty puncture wound for sure! So, faced with an expensive repair that would, at best, always look like a big repaired hole, we conspired to outthink the situation.

After some discussion we all agreed that the nicest solution would be to opt for a Highlander pickup with a volume control placed right where the damage occurred. But, that happened to be at the very place the guitar came closest to the side wall of the case, and there was absolutely no extra clearance at all. So, recessing the control seemed to be the most logical thing to do.

I happened to have a piece of one inch diameter cloth laminated phenolic rod, which was just big enough to span the entire area of damaged mahogany. I chucked the rod in my lathe, trued up the outer surface, drilled a 1/4" hole through it for the volume pot, and ran in a 7/8" diameter Forstner wood boring bit:

The Forstner bit cut a perfectly flat bottomed hole, and my little recess cup was ready to cut off the rod and ready to go.

Before actually working on the guitar, I stabilized the crunched area with some medium viscosity cyanoacrylate. That way, the hole would be less likely to split out as I drilled it later:

I used a one inch diameter Forstner to drill the hole in the side of the guitar, supporting the shank of the drill with a makeshift v-block so the drill would stay centered and cut smoothly:

You can't see Brian's hands in the photo. He's holding the guitar steady on the bench, aided by a large Quick Grip padded clamp.

I buttered up the leading edge of the phenolic cup with some brown epoxy:

And, inserted it from the inside of the hole. The epoxy formed itself into a nice little filet to adhere and support it on the inside of the guitar.

Phenolic is mighty hard and tough stuff, so I chose a glass slide as my scraper and worked slowly to level the outside edge of the cup to the surrounding finish:

Some brown stain colored the phenolic very well:

And, after a quick trip to the buffer, it was time to install the pickup and volume control.

This was a nice loud guitar before the repair, but NOW it goes to ELEVEN!

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