Acoustic bridge repair

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by stjimmy1990, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. stjimmy1990

    stjimmy1990 Member

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    I recently took on a job to restore an old classical guitar and need to glue in a new bridge. Is Elmer's wood glue a good choice? Or perhaps the titebond wood glue on stew Mac?
     
  2. JohnSS

    JohnSS Member

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    I think that Titebond or yellow wood glue are what Dan Erlewine and others have suggested in the past.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    titebond is available at any hardware store, by the way.

    the right stuff to use AFAIK is real hide glue, the kind you have to mix and melt; titebond can "creep" under pressure with heat, like the kind of heat you'd get if it was left in a car in the summertime.

    titebond is great for all kinds of guitar-related stuff, except where the joint is under constant pulling pressure, like on a bridge, especially a classical bridge where there are no pins to transfer the pull.

    here's what you need to know about glue.
     
  4. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    Many, many guitar bridges have been solidly glued with Titebond for 4 decades now.

    Doubt you'd get much creep on a classical guitar bridge.
     
  5. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

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    Walter's right, Titebond is not the best choice for bridges.

    Titebond-like glues are used by many manufacturers to glue their production bridges down, for which I'd personally like to thank them. I reglue plenty of new-ish bridges that were attached like that, and I'm not talking about Yamahas here (no names, but you might be surprised which manufacturers don't do a great job in this area).

    If everything is perfect - temperature, humidity, etc. - then Titebond might have a chance over time. But how often in real life does a guitar get to avoid all of life's little challenges? One session in the trunk (pleasant night after the gig, "oh, it's not too warm, I'll just get the guitar out tomorrow morning", next day is 88 degrees in the shade and you forgot to get your axe - it happens) and your Titebond bond is doomed utterly. I've also spent hours cleaning Titebond "icicles" out of a formerly-secure peghead repair with TONS of gluing surface, just with lousy glue.

    Given a choice, hide glue is vastly superior for both bridges and peghead repairs.


    Rob

    p.s. Meanwhile, Luthier's Mercantile sells an instrument maker's glue that is superior to Titebond for everything else. I mostly use Titebond for building jigs and fixtures.
     
  6. mistafeeze

    mistafeeze Member

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    How do you intend on clamping the bridge down while it sets?
     
  7. Schroedinger

    Schroedinger Member

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    This is probably the best advice you're going to get. Hide glue is the best choice, but it also takes practice to get the technique right. And you'll need special clamps and cauls to properly seat the bridge. Short story, if you care about the guitar then either a) spend the money to learn the right methods and get the right tools or b) take it to someone who can do it properly.

    Any good guitar repairman will tell you they spend 10x more time un-doing poor repairs then they do fixing broken instruments properly the first time.
     
  8. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    Agreed. If you're not at least familiar with working with hot hide glue either take it to a pro or use the Luthiers Merchantile Instrument Makers glue. That stuffs great and as easy to use as Elmers. Newbies and hot hide glue on critical parts is usually asking for trouble.

    No guarantee if you take it to a pro that he won't use titebond rather than hot hide glue, so if that's important to you ask before leaving it.
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    sure, but ironically, a botched hide glue repair is no biggie, as it will release with steam and can be cleaned out and re-done (new hide glue melts and sticks to old just fine), while a botched titebond joint is a disaster. new wood glue won't really bond that well with old, it needs clean wood.

    there is some stuff that purports to remove aliphatic glue like titebond (it's like syrup-thick vinegar) but i haven't had good luck with it. (i'm not as far up the glue learning curve as some others here, so there may be a trick to it.)
     
  10. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    You just put a brick on top!! :bonk:bonk:rotflmao

    I love when customers share their repair "methods".
    From a customer who just bought a bag of pre-cut frets: "You just pound 'em in, right?"
    "yup".
     

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