This little guy came-in a couple of weeks ago and it's a labor of love. It belongs to a neighbor who's mom owned it when she was much younger. She's quite old now (not in great health) and the owner would like to get it "barely playable" so he can strum a few tunes for his mom. Pretty sweet, actually :)
There's no brand I can determine and it sat in an attic, next to a heater pipe for years.
Anyway, aside from the usual issues (cracks, unglued braces, et al) the biggest problem seems to be the back, which has opened at the bottom and taken quite a set over the years.
Thus far, I've clamped it and set a bowl of water inside, sealing-off the soundhole. It's been sitting like that for a week now and, while it closes nicely with mini-clamps, it pops right back up when they're off.
I'm thinking-of suspending it, in a plastic bag, with a bowl of water underneath but figured there's probably better ways to address this. Or maybe just glue 'er up, hope for the best, and get on with the rest of the rehab?
I would not hesitate to use a wet rag to soak the bottom from the inside to really get it wet before clamping and letting it dry to alter the shape. The way you do it is more careful and will probably work too, just not as fast and not as effective.
When the bottom is dry and before it remembers it's old shape, hot hide glue will keep the bottom in place!
Thanks Roger... that had briefly crossed my mind but I was afraid to "go overboard"! In any event, you gave me the courage to try, so now it's sitting with a soaking-wet cloth baby diaper inside and all clamped up!
You can overdo it you know. Having a soaking wet diaper on the wood for a long time is not the way I would do it. I would just get the wood really wet, maybe leave the diaper some 10-15 minutes on the wood, and then let it dry completely with clamps on.
One thing to be expected are blue colored spots in the wood where it was soaked (on the inside). I think it's fungus spores that comes to life with the added water. These blue spots goes deep into the wood, but hidden away deep into the guitar they are no big issue.
Exactly... I had it in & soaking for about 1/2-hr, now it's sitting on a shelf, all clamped-up, and there it can sit for a week or so.
This poor thing has many issues, including appearance, so if there's a few blue-colored spots that appear they could only serve to distract! Appreciate the info, Roger.
If the current strategy doesn't straighten it out - could you easily remove the whole back? That would give good access to fix the loose braces and the those top cracks. And the separated back might be more responsive to moisture/heat/steam and weights to push it back into shape.
Thanks, Mark... yes, that was one option but, fortunately, the "big smile" was tamed pretty well with a couple of days of clamping after being dampened.
I removed the clamps and found the open section had laid-down nicely so it was a matter of gluing and re-clamping.
Just glued the loose braces last night so ..with any luck at all... this patient's on it's way home soon.
OK, good outcome. A technique worth remembering.