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Thread: Collapsed Washburn

  1. #1

    Default Collapsed Washburn

    I would like to fix this for a friend that is struggling with cancer. I don't think she will care if it doesn't look perfect after I'm done so I'm considering sawing the back off to rebrace it.

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    These photos don't really show it well, did the best I could.
    Richard Hutchings

  2. #2

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    I got a lot of views on this post but no one giving advice or trying to steer me in a different direction. I'll try to be more patient.
    Richard Hutchings

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    Dick, it's hard, for me at least, to even see the damage. To me from these pictures it appears you could just raise the bridge. If the top has collapsed and all I needed to do was make it playable I might consider trying to push a "soundpost" in there without opening it up. If I was looking to fix it forever then I think the back has to come off at least.

    The soundpost won't help the sound but it might keep the top from collapsing further or at least slow it down.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4
    Dave Sheets
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Buffalo NY Area

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    First, kudos to you for wanting to help a friend who is facing a lot of troubles.

    This is a bit of a daunting task I'm afraid. There are a lot of others on here better suited to tell you the details, but I think you want to take the top off, rather than the back, since the back is a key element in keeping the neck joint stable. That looks tough given the way the fingerboard is mounted.

    Is this a carved top or a pressed top? It looks like it might be pressed, meaning a lot of work to fix a pretty basic mandolin. The work may be worth doing, but it's something to think about. I'd be tempted to try to take up a collection and get her a replacement.

    Hate to be a downer when you have such a deserving mission here.

    Best of luck to you!
    Flatiron A
    Way too many other instruments

  5. #5

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    Yes it's a lot worse then the photo shows. The top is sunk on the neck side and has come away from the fretboard Florida. I don't know if it's pressed or not but I'm guessing it is. I guess removing the neck and taking the top off is best but once I get that far I'm liable to cut a new top for her. I like the idea of replacing the instrument if possible. I think it was like $600 new.
    Richard Hutchings

  6. #6

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    Just looked it up. Brand new M3EK $379.00. I think I'll pass that info on to her SIL that brought it to me. We should be able to replace that for her.
    Richard Hutchings

  7. #7
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    Except for violins, I consider it better to remove the back if I have to open an instrument, unless you are pretty sure that you'll want to replace the top anyway.
    Which might not be a bad idea on this particular instrument, except that you are working against the clock because of her health.

    Replacing the instrument sounds like the best idea in this case. You can find another instrument quicker than you can repair this one.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    She has talked the sisters and agreed to replace it for Christmas. Thanks for your input. Now what to do with the damaged goods.
    Richard Hutchings

  9. #9
    Registered User Pappyrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Williamsburg, VA

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    I work with a veterans wellness center here in Williamsburg VA, and I am an amateur luthier (of sorts). If you and the sisters would like to donate the instrument, I will try to make it playable and donate it to a veteran and provide some beginner lessons. Just reach out to me if this seems like a good idea to you.

    Eastman 305 mandolin
    Martin D16 guitar
    OME 11" banjo
    Pisgah 12" banjo

  10. #10
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    PTC GA

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    I think you made the right decision to replace the mandolin. I just went through this with a Rover mandolin that had a neck block failure, to get some necessary practice with cheaper Chinese mandolins. My rule of thumb is that if the mandolin's value is less than 700.00, you are better off to replace it unless it is special in some way. The back was bound. I chose to remove it rather than cut it off. The entire difficulty was dealing with the cheap finish after carefully gluing the back on and adding new binding. This problem may or may not have been reduced by cutting it off, because I found no way to effectively touch up what I think was a polyester finish. I couldn't find any guidance at all. There was some good practice completely refinishing the mandolin, but of course it doesn't look like it did to begin with. Total time in the shop was 4 months. Market value for my hours and supplies was right at 600.00. Pretty much everything I saw in this mandolin said that they are made to be disposable.

    More cowbell? Nah. More mandolin.
    Luthier Page: Facebook

  11. #11

    Default Re: Collapsed Washburn

    I think I would prefer to build a new one and these kind of things just take away from the little spare time I have for doing it.
    Richard Hutchings

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