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Monthly Archives: February 2014

  • Martin Backpacker repair

    This little guitar has seen some trauma.  Unfortunately a well-meaning roommate has done more harm than good trying to fix it.  Let's see if I can do a better job. This little guitar has seen some trauma. Unfortunately a well-meaning roommate has done more harm than good trying to fix it. Let's see if I can do a better job.
    Going in order from easy to ugly, this is what need fixing.  First is a simple top crack at the sound hole.  This will get glued and cleated. Going in order from easy to ugly, this is what need fixing. First is a simple top crack at the sound hole. This will get glued and cleated.
    The top is loose from the ribs on the bass side.  No big deal. The top is loose from the ribs on the bass side. No big deal.
    The end block is completely cracked in half and will need  some glue. The end block is completely cracked in half and will need some glue.
    And lastly we have the treble side, which is a complete mess.  This is why gorilla glue should never ever ever be used on a guitar, ever. Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue that foams up when exposed to too much water.  Worst of all it gets into the wood fibers and makes my prefered glue, hot hide glue, refuse to hold.  No worries though, this guitar will sing again. And lastly we have the treble side, which is a complete mess. This is why gorilla glue should never ever ever be used on a guitar, ever. Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue that foams up when exposed to too much water. Worst of all it gets into the wood fibers and makes my prefered glue, hot hide glue, refuse to hold. No worries though, this guitar will sing again.
    Nothing that I know of dissolves Gorilla glue, so it must be removed by force.  Some gentle persuasion cleans up the exterior dribbles with little added trauma to mahogany rib.  Nothing that I know of dissolves Gorilla glue, so it must be removed by force. Some gentle persuasion cleans up the exterior dribbles with little added trauma to mahogany rib.
    Now I need to reopen the crack so that I can relevel the two halves of the rib.  I do this with a sharp thin knife. Now I need to reopen the crack so that I can relevel the two halves of the rib. I do this with a sharp thin knife.
    With the crack open I can clean out the remaining glue on the inside.  Some sanding is unfortunately necessary to remove the polyurethane sodden wood. With the crack open I can clean out the remaining glue on the inside. Some sanding is unfortunately necessary to remove the polyurethane sodden wood.
    The hardest part is getting the rib halves to line back up again.  After a bit of wrestling I got it glued back together. The hardest part is getting the rib halves to line back up again. After a bit of wrestling I got it glued back together.
    In order to keep the rib from splitting again at that weakened spot I put in spruce cleats on the inside.  You can think of these as permanent sutures to hold the wound closed. In order to keep the rib from splitting again at that weakened spot I put in spruce cleats on the inside. You can think of these as permanent sutures to hold the wound closed.
    More cleats going in.  More cleats going in.
    While those cleats were drying I fixed the top crack.  Those are powerful rare earth magnets clamping the reinforcement cleats to the inside. While those cleats were drying I fixed the top crack. Those are powerful rare earth magnets clamping the reinforcement cleats to the inside.
    Heating up a fresh batch of hot hide glue to fix the last of the rib and block cracks. Heating up a fresh batch of hot hide glue to fix the last of the rib and block cracks.
    Here you can see the rest of the cracks are glued and clamped. Here you can see the rest of the cracks are glued and clamped.
    With the camps off, I cleaned up the excess glue and did a little filling in the large crack. With the camps off, I cleaned up the excess glue and did a little filling in the large crack.
    This is the final result.  It's all tuned up and ready to play. This is the final result. It's all tuned up and ready to play.

    Thanks to everyone who read the post.  Putting this old Martin Backpacker back together was a snap and I hope you enjoyed watching the progress.

  • Ariana's violin restoration

    This is a fun little restoration job for a really nice lady and her son.  Nothing major going on, but the owner's family wanted to see how fiddle went back together.  I hope you enjoy.

    So this violin came to me in two parts.  The neck joint failed some time ago and the whole violin needs to be set back up again. So this violin came to me in two parts. The neck joint failed some time ago and the whole violin needs to be set back up again.
    As you can see the neck angle was out a bit on this fiddle, so a little neck joint work will be called for.  We are shooting for 27mm. As you can see the neck angle was out a bit on this fiddle, so a little neck joint work will be called for. We are shooting for 27mm.
    There we go.  Perfect, let's get that neck glued back in. There we go. Perfect, let's get that neck glued back in.
    One clamp is all you need to glue a properly fitting violin neck. One clamp is all you need to glue a properly fitting violin neck.
    The fingerboard has lots of wear from previous use and the relief is too much, so a planing is in order. The fingerboard has lots of wear from previous use and the relief is too much, so a planing is in order.
    Much better.  The string wear is gone and the relief is set low for fast playing. Much better. The string wear is gone and the relief is set low for fast playing.
    New bridge time.  Fitting the feet. New bridge time. Fitting the feet.
    The bridge is all finished.  The string height has been set nice and low for fast fiddling and the bridge has been carved for tone. The bridge is all finished. The string height has been set nice and low for fast fiddling and the bridge has been carved for tone.
    Lastly the nut is lowered and dressed.  This violin is ready to ship off to Florida for Ariana's son to enjoy. Lastly the nut is lowered and dressed. This violin is ready to ship off to Florida for Ariana's son to enjoy.

    Thank you Ariana for letting me restore this wonderful old fiddle for you and thanks to everyone who read the post.  I hope you all enjoyed it and found it interesting.  Please feel free to leave comments and questions below.

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