Repairing a hole on maple top

Electric Guitar | Gibson Les Paul, 60s

image of Les Paul

An old guitar can tell you a story.
The three little holes shown here must have been for a Bigsby tremolo, but what are these two big holes for? They may have been for anchors of a tailpiece, but why were they needed? Maybe the person who did this had holes in his head!

One of the most difficult elements in the repair of a vintage guitar is that the application of a new finish has to be kept to a minimum. Also, it is hard to make new lacquer as hard as old lacquer in a short period of time. Another difficulty is dealing with wood grain, especially if there are some figures in it like this top. As you change the angle to look at it, the figure changes, so not just any maple can do this job.

image of Les Paul

After a few maple boards were selected they had to be finished. Then, after checking the figure from every angle, I chose the most suitable spot for the plug.

image of Les Paul

Simply speaking, first, I plugged the original hole with a maple stick. Next, I drilled a bigger hole and plugged it with the figured maple. Finally, I finished it with colored and clear lacquer.

This kind of repair may sound pretty straightforward, but it actually requires a huge amount of effort, patience, and skill.

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