Hey all. Got a LG-2 here. Neck angle is good, bridge plate is good. Top crack down the center and bass side wing lifting. The rest of the bridge is sitting down great! It needs a new nut and saddle too. Tuners need some love (straight though!). Customer is on a budget but, is interested in the work. I know that if a bridge is lifting the proper repair is to remove, refit, re-glue. As usual I want to give at least a couple of options, if possible. The wing goes back to place with finger pressure, looks really good. Can I use hide glue to re-activate the old, use a syringe to get it as far in as I can and clamp? My thought is that it shouldn't hurt any future repairs and it is a cheaper option. It is real dry and that is what caused the wing to lift. Am I off base here or is this acceptable?
I disagree, as long as the glue doesn't feel stringy and crunchy like it got hot enough to soften at some point. If the rest of the bridge is tight there's no harm in working glue under there with an artist's palette knife and clamping.
That is a good neck angle? The saddle is cut really low, and then cut through to make it lower, with little break angle. But then again, perhaps the strings are sitting right on the frets and could stand being raised up.
I would say fix the center crack really well, and do no other work until the customer can afford it. Then later on, fix and reset as needed. The center crack is the major structural issue.
I would ask myself why that part of the bridge is up - is there a bad glue surface there (perhaps finish that should have been removed) or some other problem? Unfortunately, the only way to know is pop off the bridge and reglue it properly. Anything else is something you cannot guarantee. I would hesitate to clean out that area, knowing that I would probably make the bridge less than flat in the process.
I guess my attitude towards this is only do what you can do correctly, and don't do anything in a half-assed manner.
The action is way too low. Saddle is notched out, action is .045 across the board at 12. Mark, I understand what you are saying. There could be something going on and I won't know until I pop the bridge off. I like to give a couple options, if possible. I don't want to do anything half-assed but, sometimes you need to talk your ideas out some. Whether it is for or against the idea. I always am learning. Will it affect future repairs or possibly cause damage? All the positives regarding hide glue makes me wonder is all.
Well there's two bolts under the pearl dots holding the bridge on.
I would not hesitate to just glue down the wing.
Obviously got a few different approaches here. Jeff tips the discussion in a particular direction but in doing so he perhaps identifies the problem with not removing and reinstalling the bridge. The bolts holding down the back of the bridge may be all that is holding the bridge on (give or take a lick of glue).
The lifting of the wings is biased towards the back of the bridge which is expected - it also indicates that the trailing edge of the bridge may well be held down only by the "belt and braces" setup of bolts instead of the principle glue bond which is in the process of failing. My approach is to act in a proactive manner and fix the problem before it gets worse. Popping a bridge is not a major thing and it's not a big ticket cost item.
You have said you know that the proper repair is to remove and replace.
+1 as to what Rusty said!
I see no value in shoving glue under a lifted wing especially when the type of glue has not been discussed either.
HHG is not a gap filler and requires a decent wood-to-wood contact area to bond successfully. Titebond original, which I won't use for bridges regardless of the varying opinions regarding cold creep, also benefits from a decent wood-to-wood contact area.
And then there is the issue of clamping as well..... and freshly scraping..... and simply cleaning out the old stuff so it's not interfering with decent wood-to-wood contact.
Anyway in my opinion the bridge needs to be carefully removed, the gluing area under the bridge expanded (as per what ever one personally does here) and the bridge bottom cleaned and scraped just before the reglue. In addition these things have a really bad habit of splitting the bridge plate between the pins and I have to believe that this occurrence can be hastened by not having the structural advantages of the plate, top, and bridge all working as a system adding support to each other. As such there are important reasons to not let a lifting bridge go unaddressed.
Lastly from the very good pic of the piece of paper very nearly 25% of the trailing edge of the bridge is no longer glued to the top. The trailing edge of bridges is where the heavy lifting is done as evidenced by how they fail. Ever see a bridge's leading edge lift....
So in my opinion this puppy needs a proper bridge removal and reglue.
Nathan's remarks below about doing quick fixes got my attention too and I completely agree. I read a post once on another forum where one Luthier was bashing the work of another Luthier. The topic was that a quick and dirty repair had been done prior. What always bothered me about this was the willingness to judge when we, the readers AND the second Luthier could not possibly have all of the facts. We can't know if the circumstances of the original repair dictated either by request, budget, time, even skill level the quick fix that was done.
I'm not defending quick fixes by any means and tend to never do them myself exactly because of what Nathan said. But we have no control over the willingness of others to adulterate a perfectly serviceable instrument with a quick fix. As such the best that I can personally hope for is to only have to undo some of these less than stellar previous repairs while keeping some of my suspicions to myself about why the approach was taken in the first place. And, here is the important part, we all have full control over if we are willing to take shortcuts that may make our work.... unsound.
If a client can't pay for the proper fix I personally see it as I have two choices and only two choices. Choice number one - discount as need be and do the proper fix. Choice number two - turn the work away.
And really lastly... when the bridge is off remove the metal hardware, plug the holes even making composite plugs with a spruce top layer and maple bottom layer (just like the rest of the area under the bridge), don't use end grain either instead turning some plugs so that they will have the same grain orientation as the top. We do the composite plug thing so that come plate removal time we aren't called every name in the book by the next Luthier who can't get his/her pallet knife between the plate and the top. It's also part of always doing serviceable work in my view too but does add another layer of complexity I admit.
Anyway removing that metal hardware which really is not necessary once someone actually fits the bridge and top well and uses a decent glue and clamping methodology may, I say may, reduce the mass of the bridge enough that the thing may sound better - what ever the word "better" means to others.
Ok, I have decided to tell the customer that we should do these repairs in stages starting with the top crack. I have thought about what all have said and my conclusion is that the bridge should be re glued and the screw holes plugged. No point pushing a repair that could make a mess for the next person. Sometimes you just gotta talk it out. Thanks for all the help everyone! This site is such a great tool!
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