The Workbench

Hofner 464 . Classic Hofner heel joint separation


I recently acquired a Hofner 464 in need of repair. It needed a neck reset, it needed 3 top cracks attended to (solid carved top..yay!), it needs some fretboard work.

I have the neck off and I've dealt with the body cracks. I'm cleaning up the neck joint and I'm pondering the heel joint separation. On the body side you can see it's open. I can slide a .25mm (.01")feeler gauge into it a short ways. Annoyingly on the body side it's still really tight. It doesn't move but it can't stay that way.

I was thinking the joint should come apart (hot water syringed into the joint, steam) and then cleaned up and re-glued.

I was also pondering softening the glue in the open [art of the crack, maybe adding more hide glue(I'm assuming it's hide glue. The neck joint seemed to be hide glue) and then clamping it well to see if the cracks closes. I think this is just a cop out on what should be done and likely might not even work.

Any other viable solutions ?


I’d inject glue from the tenon side the clamp it.


Forgive me for not understanding

Do you actually mean from the neck side where it's open the most or would you drill into the crack from the tenon side. The joint seems pretty well closed at the tenon. I've never had hide glue in a syringe before. Are using it watered down a little?

Or would you tiny drill holes into the joint from the tenon side?


If you can locate the separation from the tenon side I’d use an actual syringe using epoxy. If you dry clamp it does it close cleanly?


I had a beefy clamp on it with a goodly amount of pressure and it wasn't closing or moving at all, or at least not discernibly.


Be careful using steam around Hofners. I've noticed the lacquer they used in the late 60s can get very brittle and flake off when exposed to steam. You may end up needing to do some localised refinishing.


If you can’t get the clamp to close there might be some splinters that have to be moved or removed to allow the gap to close. On this cello I used this needle to align the fibers the best I could then shot epoxy in the gap and clamped it.


I must admit to being wary of using epoxy on guitars though I have used it a fair bit in making bows (G2 Epoxy handle laminations and recurve backings) and West systems in marine applications doing sailboat repairs. I can see how it would work in this application as epoxy is one of the few glues that likes a glue line. I guess in this instance , having the neck off the guitar one could repair this area that doesn't need to be taken apart, likely ever, and not affect the neck to body join.


I use Gougeon Brothers epoxy forever on sailboats, DN iceboats and guitars but only on headstocks and other places where they're never going to come apart again. You can tint it, you'll never see the line.


Thanks, I looked it up.They make West. I have some, somewhere.


I have to ask, because I forgot, If this is an old glue joint (likely hide) is it going to be a problem to fill it with epoxy? Thanks again for all the help


I have to ask, because I forgot, If this is an old glue joint (likely hide) is it going to be a problem to fill it with epoxy? Thanks again for all the help

– Toxophilite

It would be a problem with wood glue because it needs wood on either side but epoxy will stick to anything.


Hopefully this is my last question.

On the that cello heel depicted it looks like you have some epoxy overflowing the joint (as expected and to some degree probably desired ) How did you deal with the clean up on the finish? (whether cello or guitar (nitro)) Was if a firm wipe with a clean rag and then maybe a very quick wipe with acetone? I guess the cleanup is the other thing that gives me the willies about epoxy. Thanks!


The epoxy wipes off without any residue left behind. Keep some rags handy to deal with cleanup. It cures so slowly so you have a lot of time. You can use Dawn dish detergent if you get a stubborn spot.


Thanks again Dishwashing detergent to the rescue!

Hopefully this isn't too nuts. As I was clamping I noticed a gentle back pressure on the neck was closing the joint a little so I set it up so I could put just a little pressure on it. Nothing too crazy but just a little.

I think it will be helpful considering there was a bit of a ski jump on the board extension, which could've been, and was likely caused, by the heel joint opening.. It looks pretty flat now. Half of those clamps are just securing the neck to my 'bench' one of any vintage organ benches that litter my space.


Thanks for the advice Curt. It's looking good. i have a tiny bead of squeezed out epoxy to trim off but otherwise I'm pleased. Next step is is to reattach the neck and see how it all holds up under tension

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