I have an Ovation Balladeer 4861 (transitional, Korean made Balladeer, similar to 1861) in for a refret and bridge repair.
Bridge has already been reglued with PVA and secured with three screws. The guy who did that didn't realize these guitars with string-through bridges don't have a bridge plate so he was lucky enough not to drill through the braces that easily go past the bridge location.
I wanna ditch the screws and just reglue everything with epoxy. What boggles my mind is that I see finish on the guitar top right where the bridge should go on. I have watched the Ovation factory tour video on youtube and I was surprised when I noticed they spray the tops completely and then glue the bridge directly to the finish. The finish underneath the bridge looks slightly foggy/milky, exactly like the chemical reaction you get when using epoxies. Luckily enough the guy in the video said they either use Titebond or epoxy for gluing bridges.
I already cleaned all of the glue underneath the bridge, softening it with an iron and a little steam. There was old and new glue, the guy before me obviously used regular white PVA, but there also was some gunk left on that was really solid and hard. Didn't have problems with removing either, but I noticed two different glues right away.
Is it okay to roughen up the finish and just reglue the bridge back with quality epoxy? These finishes are pretty thick, they spray polyester with the last coat being polyurethane. I can see the thickness of the finish at the piezo hole and mounting holes (uses two plastic dowels to set the bridge in place). I am afraid that the bridge will sit considerably lover if I sand and scrape to bare wood, since the finish is so thick. Not worrying about action, but more about appearance. I would literally have to inlay that thing in. Plus the bridge is already very skinny on the sides.
I don't want to use screws again because they thrust directly on the top itself since there's no bridge plate. Plus there are so many braces on this location it would be a pain to make a support plate to reinforce the area where the screws go.
Any help much appreaciated!
A refret and bridge reglue would be more expensive in our shop than this instrument is worth to replace.....
These are a bit more pricey here, if you even find one. This guitar is playing oberkrain and these guys love Ovation and Framus. Ovations aren't abundand here.
What Hesh said.
In addition, most of these I have dealt with for lifting bridge issues have had the finish pull from the top with the bridge.
Wood to wood is the best bet, along with your adhesive of choice.
What I did is I have roughened up the finish on the top and epoxied the bridge back on. I will also install two screws, this time in correct spots, for extra security.
I cleaned the old glue from both surfaces and had it clamped for a full day. I made a clamping caul for the underside with high density styrofoam (=Styrodur) glued to a piece of thin plywood. As you can see I have traced out the bracing pattern just to see where can I put the screws on this bridge. The guy before me drilled three holes but all of them were too close to the braces so you couldn't fit a nut and a washer there. None of the screws had a nut on it, they were held in by glue only. I have plugged old holes with dowels and some clay dot markers on the top of the bridge and made new holes between A and D / G and B. This is how they apparently solved it on newer Ovations.
I also converted to a cartridge type epoxy gun and it makes it so much easier. I got tired of mixing, remixing and then applying the epoxy. It's just too much hassle. My supplier offers mixing tips so everything can be done with one hand. Really saves a lot of time and frustration. If I was mixing it by hand I would use a 30min epoxy for sure. But bear in mind faster curing epoxies are usually stronger because of the hotter exothermic reactions. More heat when catalysing means stronger cured resin and stronger chemical resistance. One more thing I really liked about it - it mixes to a perfect clear transparent liquid. Whenever mixing by hand, epoxy always appears slightly milky. This one was clean and clear like glycerine.
Sorry if this is not your average "1910's Martin found under the bed" thread. I think every guitar deserves some attention, no matter what the price range or built quality.