Most guitar makers I've talked with feel experience with repairing and restoring instruments leads to a better understanding of design. What has worked over the years and what hasn't. While I no longer am able to repair instruments daily, I still have repair shop & get calls to repair something no one else wants to. I'm also always making sure as an instructor I'm up to date on current repair techniques and keeping my skills sharp.
Here is a guitar that, in a way, survived a house fire. The owner has had this guitar for a very long time and is attached to it. I wanted to help him out and get it back to playing condition and if possible, looking pretty good in the process.
The process involved disassembling the head stock and piecing it back together (and to dimension) with a spline made out of the same species of wood as the neck. The fingerboard was loose from the neck about half the length of the neck and that had to be cleaned up, heated and re-glued to the neck stock. Since a piece of wood was missing from the bass side of the neck a new piece was made, glued and shaped to match the original design. Finally a piece of figured maple was used to cover the face of the headstock a bit thicker than the original to further strengthen the repair. The final stages of repair were matching the color, spraying the clear coats, buffing, and completing the work with a fret job, a new nut and a set-up.
Not too bad in the end if you ask me.