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chips in top of guitar after removing bridge
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Author:  Conor_Searl [ Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

I removed the lifting bridge of an old Yamaki. When it came off it took some wood with it. I was able to get most of the chips off the bridge and placed back into the spots they came out of. What is the best way of repairing this? Tite bond glue, or super glue? Do I need to clamp them? do I need to worry about them at all? A couple of them are a little deep, I don't think I want to leave voids like that under the bridge.

I need to take the belly out of the top also, I'll be using the Thomson belly reducer so that part of the top will be seeing more heat. So should I glue the chips in after I take the belly out or before? Does this matter?


Author:  Hesh [ Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

Hey Conor. This is a huge topic and it gets even bigger with concerns such as why is there too much belly meaning loose braces, etc.

Anyway instead of reinventing the wheel have you searched for any relevant info using the search function.

I just did for you searching with the search key "regluing bridges" and found hundreds of posts that may be helpful to you.

Here is a link to one thread about how we reglue bridges, what we use, how we do it, why we do what we do, etc.

You can also search on the Thomson belly reducer, repairing chips in finish, glues, etc and on and on. This will get you started though.

BTW belly is not necessarily a bad thing unless there is an underlying reason for excessive belly.

Author:  Conor_Searl [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

Thanks for pressing me to dig a little deeper Hesh. I'm new to using online forums and I find the search function to be a little overwhelming, not to mention wading through all the different results that come up.

It turns out the real problem is a cracked x-brace, and a loose treble brace. at least...

This in turn seemed to caused a crack in the top that moves a little more than when I first looked at it, (there are several cracks but they all seem to be in the finish so I missed that one.) And the lifted bridge and belly.

I'm not too intimidated about re-gluing the braces and repairing the crack in the brace (it's really clean,) or the crack in the top for that matter. But I was curious about the best order of things. Get the top crack fixed first, then deal with the crack in the brace, and then finally re-glue the loose braces one at a time? Does this seem like a good plan?

I imagine the original problem I perceived about the belly'd top will likely be sorted once these brace issues are..

Thanks again,


Author:  Hesh [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

Good going Conor! It's usually the case that things such as lifted bridges have an underlying cause and you just likely found the cause of what's happening with your guitar.

As to the order of things it's always job dependent or more specifically what makes sense for the job we're doing. When possible I try to reglue cracks in the top and braces at the same time since a loose brace often spans, or should span an area of a top crack. We can't see what you are dealing with so I can't know if this "opportunity" is present for you. But I suspect now that I mentioned this you may be looking for where a cracked or loose brace also has a top crack associated with it.

In any event it does not have to be done at the same time just be sure that where you glue one thing does not prevent gluing something else.

Another decision that you will need to make is if it's prudent or even possible to close a top crack or instead glue it open and fill it. Cracks that have been open a very long time, over a year or so may not close without some brute force in the form of rehumidifcation. I don't like doing this because when I force a crack closed I create stress in the top and it's likely to crack somewhere else in time and when encountering a drop in humidity. A recent crack is fine to force closed and glue it closed.

Anyway fix the braces, top cracks, the reglue the bridge. FYI the bridge is just another brace and a very big and important one that happens to be on the outside of the box.

It's likely that your application for a belly reducer will go away, that's my guess when the box structure of the guitar is restored to it's former greatness.

Repairing chips in top finish, etc. is a can of worms and for now let's just say that no fillers are advisable. There are specific techniques for adding wood when we need to but I would like to see some pics before I offer any thoughts on that. Frank Ford is a member here and he is one of the greats of our time with guitar repair. He runs another site, where the emphasis is pretty much solely repair and there are some great minds on that site too if you want to pick their brains too on these repairs. We are happy to help here too this is just predominantly a builder forum with fewer pro repair people than FRETs. Running threads both places is a good idea IME.

Good going too, nice to see the discovery process that you are now making. It's always a concern for some of us the level of advice that we offer. My preference is to help folks look in the right direction and then hope that they do what you just did, look further on your own and notice things as you have. You've got some talent for this my friend! [:Y:]

Author:  Conor_Searl [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

Thanks for the advice again Hesh, I've looked at the Frets website before. I'll have to dig a little deeper.

One more thing, I got around to doing a really thorough examination and it also looks like there are spots on the edges of the bridge plate without glue. Otherwise the bridge plate is in great shape. Can I get away with gluing and clamping, or does it need to come out?


Author:  Hesh [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

As long as the spots are small and on the edges and not responsible for any of the top deformation that you've observed I would leave it be for now and maybe for good. Bridge plates, although we removed a big honking one from a 63 J-50 today are dicey to remove and you can inadvertently split the top center seam in the process. It sounds like the plate was never completely coated in glue in the first place, that's no surprise in our world and may not be an issue.

Also waxed paper with Titebond is your friend and can help you avoid gluing cauls and tools to the inside of the guitar...;)

Author:  Conor_Searl [ Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

Thanks again Hesh. For future reference without seeing it do you think the culprit for all these issues is too much heat, or too dry or cold of an environment. I've seen heat loose things, but I've also seen cold and dry shrink wood and cause cracking.


Author:  Hesh [ Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: chips in top of guitar after removing bridge

You left out one more possibility, all of the above.... ;)

Conor my friend my answer would be what I say to my clients every day, I will have to see it to render an opinion.... :)

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