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This is the place for sharing Mark and Mary Ann’s creative projects. We make and refurbish things made from wood, wire and thread. Mark is an experienced fine woodworker and is focusing on restoring guitars and other wooden stringed instruments. Mary Ann has been a quilter for most of her adult life and also makes handbags and other interesting items from cloth.

Get your grandparent’s guitars, ukes, mandolins, quilts and coverlets out of the attic. We can make them live again! Inquiries are welcome.

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Bridge Pins

The first problem is non-standard bridge pin holes that are larger than expected. I ordered standard Taylor style bone and Ebony pins and they’re too skinny. I have some modern Martin style pins and they’re too fat. In the old days, we would just wrap gaffer’s tape around the too skinny pegs enough to keep them from popping out and not worry about the acoustic stuff that we do now. The pins were all plastic then anyway! I should do an A:B comparison when I get this sorted out and use a strip of carbon paper wrapped around the skinny pegs and record how much the sound is “improved” with these magic micro-thin Graphite sheets. Graphite is strong stuff and improves everything doesn’t it? Oh well…I missed my calling as a Snake Oil salesman.

What to do? What to do?

Option 1: Put the Martin pins in my drillpress and sand them down until they fit the holes.

Option 2: Plug the holes in the bridge plate with Maple dowels while the bridge is off and the bridge holes with Ebony dowels, redrill and ream out the holes to fit the Taylor style pins.

Salvaged Recording King Eric Shoenberg Model RP2-626 Guitar

Ad Pics Front

I couldn’t resist putting in an Ebay best offer on this very nice, all solid wood, Nitrocellulose finished, 00 Martin style guitar.  It had been relisted a few times and had very good photos showing its problems.

It had problems from the factory with poor bridge attachment and deep crosshatch cuts into the bridge footprint on the Spruce top and bottom of the bridge. The top had also been routed about 1/32″ deep inside the bridge footprint which along with the severed wood fibers from the cuts left a weak spot in the top, flexed under full string tension and lifted the bridge. The bridge came off at least once previously and was reattached without addressing the deep crosshatching under the bridge and thinning inside the bridge footprint on the top plate,

bottom of bridge - Copy

and most importantly, remove the thin 1/16″ X 3/64″ ridge of CA around the bridge bottom which RK thought was enough to hold it forever and created a gap under the bridge. The only place the repair held was on the bass side with no substantial attachment between the bridge pin holes and the treble side.  CA, yellow or white glue won’t bond to itself or fill a gap.

Top Under Bridge

All of this lead to a catastrophic bridge detachment causing a lower bout top crack between the bridge and end block,

Bottom Crack

The finish checks/cracks on both sides of the top bout leading out from the fretboard extension happened when it suddenly flexed as the bridge let go. Thankfully, there is no wood involvement. I’ll follow Frank Ford’s advice to repair them. http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Technique/Finish/Lacquer/CheckRepair/checkfill.html

finish cracks on top by fretboard - Copy

There are some deep dings in the sides where the bridge hit during this also.

Ad Pics Lower Bout Treble Side Ding - Copy

The first job is to round up a few items,  It will need a saddle, nut, bridge pins, slow lacquer solvent/amalgamator for the finish cracks (Frank Ford uses Cellosolve which is really toxic (it may explain his superhuman powers) so I’m using MAK (not MEK) and EEP in a blush remover per the tech at RPM (Mohawk/Behlen’s) who make nitro finishes…still toxic but not so many nasty ingredients and it comes in a rattle can…not quarts/gallons/5 gallons), Behlen’s Stringed Instrument Lacquer and toothpicks for drop filling.

Tool wise I will need a super sharp pointy knife to dig out the finish cracks, router with a flat bottomed bit, hot hide glue and a custom clamping caul for the bridge and top shim. For the top crack I’ll need thin CA, blood pressure cuff to inflate and gently push the top crack apart from the inside for cleaning, micropipettes with the tips heated and stretched for the thin CA, Dawn dishwashing detergent and Oxalic acid to clean and gently bleach any oxidation of exposed wood in the crack. Hopefully, it’s just dirt and finger grease accumulated from everyone rubbing their fingers over it.

Here we go!