I have removed a misaligned poorly repaired bridge from a 1260 Sovereign. The spruce under the bridge is cratered and gouged from the removal. It's a perfect surface for epoxy, but I'd like to glue on a 'new' bridge with hot hide glue. What is the best prep for the spruce? Can I fair it with epoxy and expect the hide glue to stick? or should I hide glue some graving pieces into the spruce to build up to a smooth finish?

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I personally would not use epoxy for this repair.
What I have done in the past with missing slivers of spruce under the bridge is, remove the slivers off the bridge and glue them back in place with hot hide glue, or make some slivers off a scrap piece of wood with a wood chisel, fit and glue these in place.
Or, if there is not much wood missing, I'll sand some wood dust into the grooves and apply superglue. Then level and flatten the area for the bridge regluing.

Thanks for that Jim. I'm ok with wood, but I'm new to guitars. I can picture gouging out the worst area, it is about 1 1/2"x1/2", and trying to carve a matching male plug from the guitar that sacrifices the bridge. The male plug would be the hard part. How about routing the bad spot about 3/64" and making a veneer of spruce to fit?
I try to make repairs as simple as possible, but yet solid.
I have never routed out miss wood under the bridge.
If I was repairing the guitar, I'd just fill the missing wood with some slivers of wood that fit as well as possible, but it doesn't have to be an exactly perfect fit. Then I would probably fill in the rest with wood dust and superglue, sand or scrape the surface flat and glue the bridge back on with hot hide glue(my preference) but titebond will work fine too.

OK Jim, thanks again. See if these photos help, and tell me if I'm being too fussy. I'd say about 40% of the gluing surface is compromised, and I could bring it back to flush and flat with superglue and spruce dust and a couple of slivers. Then my question becomes: is hot hide glue compatible with that puddle of superglue?
It's not really a puddle of superglue, its basically wood dust saturated with superglue, and yes hot hide glue will stick to it fine, just as if it was 100% wood.
Anyway that has been my experience.
Jim, that is the one answer that will change my strategy. I appreciate the benefit of your experience.
I did a gonzo repair on a d-28 years ago that had the entire top shear out under the bridge. Don't know how it happened, but I think the guitar was dropped or other wise shocked. It was a fairly new guitar and not under warranty.The owner just wanted it fixed without the time and expense of replacing the whole top. I installed an oversized maple bridge plate, glued in a new spruce plate to match the hole and then glued the bridge back on. You could not tell it had been repaired and the guitar played and sounded really good. As far as I know the repair is still holding 23 years later. Not my recommended plan of action, but given the circumstances, I did what the customer wanted.
I like things that last 23 years, as long as they are not handed down by a federal judge. I am hearing that clean woodwork and gluelines around the bridge won't affect the sound of the guitar. I am formulating a procedure where I chisel, not rout, a geometric shape into the top of the guitar, then cut an accurate male plug on the bandsaw. Thanks for the inspiration. is a Harmony. It won't ever sound like a Martin or Gibson.Not that it's a bad guitar, but it is what it is. I have a narrow-waisted Sovereign that I removed the top to re-brace it to see if I could coax more sound out of it. I haven't put it back together...and it's been about 15 years.

If it was mine, I'd replace the bridge with a pin bridge. I never have like that through-string design. I had a Gibson J-40(one of those 70's symmetrical-braced monsters) that had a bridge like that. Just one of my personal prejudices. Good luck with it.
I'd be interested to know what you think of the Sovereign when you finish the project.
Judging by the pictures, at least in my eyes, it seems to be a laminate top where only the top veneer is damaged. If so, isn´t it possible to make a spruce replacement patch, the thickness of the top veneer, which is finally hidden under the bridge itself?

I am shure it can be glued at the same time as the bridge, and I would definately use hot hide glue.

But I may be mistaken, it could be the bridge plate I see through the damaged top.
Thanks for weighing in with that Magnus. It is a solid top, and I have decided to do pretty much what you describe. I'm going to excavate the damaged area and use hide glue to glue in a patch. I've got lots of time, so I'll do it in two stages: I'll scrape and sand the patch flat for a perfect wood to wood joint with the bridge.


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