In the door arrived an older Ovation Ballader with a smashed top.  (and just because the stories are always interesting, it seems the owners knee gave-out at an inopportune time and he actually "kneeled" down onto the face of the guitar... ouch). 

Anyway, the top needs to be replaced, as well as a portion of the kerfing. 

The question is: What sort of glue would be appropriate to secure a new section of kerfing to the plastic (ABS?) body?  I could always use an epoxy, but I'd like to "stay original" if at all possible.... any ideas on what was "original" or what may work well?  thanks!

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Hey Mike,
I would assume that a model cement or airplane glue would be what ovation would have used back then. They might have even used a little acetone to soften up the plastic of the body then applied some good old yellow glue to the kerfing.
Off hand I do not know what glue they use. I do believe they use epoxy, model airplane glue is not strong enough. But I had this same repair come through my shop a few years ago so I gave Ovation a call and they were happy to take it in and replace the top. I do extensive repairs and restorations but in a case like this if you can get a factory replacement that is the way to go. We handled it for the customer, did some fretwork, and the final set up, so there was money it for us as well. It was flawless in the end.
Oh, oh, oh, Ovation.........had a Ovation in the other day with a separated top - and yes, the purfling was split and separated. Now, history - the plastic they use for the bowl is not a thermosetting plastic - airplane glue is not suitable although it will glue wood to ABS (binding type) plastic. We use an expanding polyurethene glue for this job (cleanup is a bear but such is life) which fills in the gaps and sticks to everything OK. It is untidy however, and won't be original.
But, background here: I recall the Karman company which makes aerospace stuff, including helicopters was the original business that started up Ovation - high performance plastics and carbon fibre/graphite fibre are used extensively in the industry and they glue those things together with purpose built glue and sometimes autoclave them. We use West System epoxy and poly glue to do the same sort of things without heat curing...but I doubt if these glues perform as well as the purpose built stuff.
plastic and wood Duco cement lol?
I have 2 with smashed tops and don't think they are worth fixing. Maybe I am wrong. One a mad wife took to smash over her husbands head and the other I don't remember.Maybe I should eBay them.

Make em into pot plants Ron.
Kaman Aircraft also used high grade spruce for helicoptor blades which became guitar tops in the 60's plus
fiber stuff for the back.I visited the plant in 66 and they busted a back w/a sledge hammer just so they could repair it before I left.My first Ovation was a classical,.serial#00025.It wasn't intonated very well....but the company would be the way to go for a top replacement.Did I ramble?Pot plants?
All excellent thoughts. It' wouldn't be a huge deal to make a new top, but I am intrigued by the idea (from Bill & Tim) of having Ovation do the work in this instance.

The customer (now in his late 50's) was given the guitar as a 40th birthday present so there's an amount of sentimental value attached, and a factory perfect job would be tailor-made for him. In the guitar case are all the hang-tags and receipts, so he'd probably appreciate the "official factory route".

So, Bill... do you have any names or numbers of who to contact at Ovation to start the inquiries? If not, then I guess some blind calls to a website number or two would be in order. To be continued!
Hi Mike- I had a thing where an ovation top was not and good any more- here's what I did --
The kerfing was replaced along with the top and I used a two part epoxy that is made for securing wood to plastic.
I then made a new top with a new sound hole (rosette included) with new "X" bracing ect.
The top was then glued with Hide glue to the kerfing. Trimmed the top to the sides and put a new binding to the top like you would to a common dred.
It came out looking rather nice and the client was happy with the out come.
normally the tops that come on Ovations are laminated -- however I used sutka spruce for the new top.
It was quite a bit if work, however it was all worth the effort.
Best to you on the repair --
Peace, Donald

I did one of these same projects. I use epoxy, the good stuff with std. drying time after a lot of research. The original 'plastic' kerfing' was installed with epoxy. Then hide glue as in normal projects after I had a good base for the soundboard. I didn't even attempt to match the cheap plastic kerfing I found inside. I used std. kerfing and decided to add a tailblock after I saw what wasn't inside for support.
I'd be tempted to line that bowl w/super thin red cedar.......
Hey Mike,

Ovation's Customer Service # is 1-800-552-4681

Speak with either Kim Keller or John Budny....Both guys are top-notch

Ovation's Customer Service is second to none....They can rebuild the guitar back to factory fresh for probably less than you think!

Tell 'em "TRboy" from the OFC sent you!


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