Claescaster

Tag: Canadian Fish glue

Fish glue

Fish glue
My newly glued Levin LT-16

My dad’s old Levin LT-16 has quite a few crack, well it had, because now most of them are fixed. I tried to figure out what type of glue would be best for repairing wood cracks and all the articles I read said the same thing, warm hide glue. The only problem is that I didn’t feel too intrigued by the idea of having to have melted horse hoves and other animals parts on the stove so I was desperately seeking for an alternative. Then my new found guitar building friend Roger in Sweden told me about fish glue. It has the same awesome properties as warm hide glue but can be used cold. It took some time to locate someone selling fish glue but eventually I found die-moebelwerkstatt, a German eBay seller specialised products for furniture restoration. I got myself some Canadian fish glue made from a recipe from 1870 and it’s amazing. I practised on my Francisca Montserrat and some other old guitars that had cracks in them before I dared to touch my Levin. It has gone pretty well so far, no major difficulties, but I wished that the glue pulled a bit more. I read that the special thing with warm hide glue, and apparently cold fish glue too, is that it is pulling the wood together when it dries, hence why it is so good for cracks and similar repairs. It might be my glue that is a bit old, or just the recipe from 1870 not being the best, but I wished it pulled a bit more. It still works really well, way better than I expected. I feel a lot safer now, not only when it comes to buying old guitars that might have a crack or two, but to dare to use mine because if I happen to crack them I can always repair them with my fancy new fish glue.

Goya T-18

Goya Model 163, Goya T-18, Levin Model 13, Levin LM-26, Levin Model 65, Levin LT-16
The Levin family, Goya Model 163 (1968), Goya T-18 (1966), Levin Model 13 (1950), Levin LM-26 (1959), Levin Model 65 (1941), Levin LT-16 (1966)

Last week I received my latest project, a lovely Goya T-18 made in Sweden by Levin in 1966. It sounds really nice and works great for cowboy chords but there are a few things that needs to be sorted before I can play her properly. First of all there are two dents on the back of the neck, it almost seems like the lacquer has melted or reacted with the the leather flap for the accessory department in the case. It came with what seems to be the original hard case and who knows, maybe she has been stored in there for decades. So these dents or groves needs to be filed with lacquer and evened out, let’s see how that goes. I also need to re-glue the pickguard, but that shouldn’t be too hard as soon as I receive my fish glue that I’ve ordered from Germany. The Van Gent machine heads looks almost new and it could be the original nut and saddle but not bridge pins. There is a few marks on her but overall she is in really good state for her age. The lacquer on the top has cracked a bit but that seems to be standard on these late 1960’s Goya T-18, but not on the Levin LT-18 so they must have used different lacquer for them. The big thing that needs to be done is to try to reset the neck. I have never done anything like it but since these are quite cleverly bolted on maybe it wouldn’t be impossible, if I just find the right square key to loosen the bolts inside. The Goya T-18 sounds a lot bigger and fuller than my dad’s old Levin LT-16 which could be down to the size more than the materials, I’m not sure. She sounds bright but still with a lot of bottom which I like, I actually think this is my best sounding acoustic after my Morris W-40. I’m trying to get the biggest Levin collection in Spain, well I might already have it, who knows.

Update: December 6, 2013
I finally managed to get my beloved Goya T-18 sorted and now it plays beautifully

Levin Goya T-18 Made in Sweden 1966

Levin Goya T-18 Made in Sweden 1966
Levin Goya T-18 Made in Sweden 1966