1936 National Trojan Guitar
Re-Build
Nearly 20 years ago my sister brought to me an old National guitar that had  been in the family for many years
. I remember seeing it some time in  the 1960s.
What she brought was a sad sight! The guitar had been left strung and stored in a wet basement for decades! The neck was loose, the wood had been "refinished" blond under a brushed-on coat of polyurethane, and the wood was still soaking wet! The case falling apart and was so rotten that it went straight into the trash.

I had done some luthier work in the past but didn't think this guitar was a candidate for major work but, before scrapping it, I thought it wise to find out what it was. After considerable research I determined that it was a 1936 National Trojan. Because of the date, I  realized it must have been in the family since new and was a gift from my grandmother to one of her sons. It made sense since the Trojan model was distributed by Sears and that's how it ended up in rural southern Ontario.

After allowing the guitar to dry naturally over a couple of years, I repaired the loose neck and refinished the guitar in closer to factory original colour. I had the tuning machines gold plated and nickel plated the resonator cone.


After this work I found the action was too high so I reset the neck with wedges to provide the proper action height.

 It was at that point that I found the body itself was distorted! From being in the damp over decades and left strung, the body was concave between the neck and the heel and was wider across the bottom course. The mount for the resonator was supposed to be 9 inches in diameter but was 1/8" compressed along the centerline and 1/8" expanded across the width.

There would be a LOT of work in attempting to restore this guitar and it would have little re-sale value, even if restored to original condition so I debated long and hard about investing further work. In the end I decided in had no value as it was,  only sentimental value. Since it is worth nothing as-is, I decided to take it on as a challenge.

After some correspondence with National Guitars I confirmed the body was assembled with hide glue so heat and humidity should get it apart -  with much determination, it did!








.... to be continued ....










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