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I've just acquired a prewar Washburn with some parts in good shape.
I've been trying to date it to determine how best to restore the bridge. It has no logo other than the Washburn stamp on the spine and the word NEW MODEL. It also had, over those words, a Beuscher Band guarantee label with the serial # 219494. There is an ink stamp on the neck block with the number 13700. No sign of interior signatures.
Its biggest problem is the hack job of a bridge replacement. Someone chewed the heck out of the top getting the original bridge off (I assume it broke) and then replaced it with a cheap and badly glued -- probably not clamped at all -- classical bridge. This was peeled up at the bottom about 1/8 inch when I got the guitar (it did have nylon strings on it), and it took part of the lower bout with it. Even with all that going on, it still had a sweet sound.
I think it needs a pyramid bridge -- ebony? -- and I thought I'd make it slightly larger than the original (about 1 1/4" across) to cover the worst of the damage to the top -- where it's gone, I mean. The bridge plate is also damaged, torn out where the peg holes have merged and been chewed up.
Is the original plate maple?  This has a fairly small plate, only slightly wider than the bridge. The guitar is V braced, with two diagonal braces converging on the treble end of the plate at the side.
Back sides and neck in pretty good shape. Still has one side of the original ivory tuners, other side has poorer quality broken replacement. Neck -- offset wedge -- slightly warped.
I'd love to know more about the instrument.
And yes, I plan to use hide glue. Put sliver replacements in the two top cracks below the bridge, patch the plate, patch the top and add a bridge plate overlay -- probably maple w the grain parallel to the top. Make a replacement bridge. Not sure how best to deal with the cracks as they extend above the bridge.
Yrs,
Barbara

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Thanks, Bruce. Here's what I'm looking at. I think the longer bridge plate probably doubled as a brace. Fortunately I have quite a bit of the spruce left from the top of a similar guitar I built. However, the maple bridge plate block I have on hand is too short. I'll have to check and see if I have an adequate length of spruce to make both the plate and the patch.

If you need, I have plenty of very old spruce in a billet that I had planned on using for bracing some day.
It's wide and long enough to produce any length you might need, just let me know..
I have used Thomastik Plectrum #111 strings on guitars such as this. They have very light tension with a steel string sound. They make these guitars sound great in my opinion. The inside of this guitar is the same as the Montgomery Windsor I repaired earlier this year.
Bruce, I would appreciate that. I don't have anything 11 inches long with the grain going in the right direction. I'll send you my address in a message. I need 11" x 1" x 1/8". When I get it back together, I will probably start with the lightest nylon strings and see what I've got before trying others. I do have a slight warp in the neck now, and I hope to get rid of it before reassembly.
OK, no problem, I'll look for the details and cut a piece to fit that.
Here's an update: I took most of the bridge plate off, leaving about two inches on the side where it goes into the kerfing. I replaced that with a strip of spruce the same dimensions as the original and then overlaid the plate with a thinner narrow strip of maple where the peg holes will be drilled. I extended this strip of maple past the joint where the new plate and the old come together.
Then I cut patches to match the holes in the top, and then overlaid the whole sunken bridge area with a veneer like patch of spruce. I also splinted and cleated where the top cracked when the old bridge lifted. Pictures below.
I am now carving a pyramid bridge out of ebony.
My understanding of the hide glue vs titebond issue is that if the two bits to be glued line up snug, I use hide glue. If I'm patching, and have uneven surfaces, I use titebond.
Bruce, I never did hear from you after I sent you my address for the bridge plate material, so I got some from another source.
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I don't understand the white in the 3rd picture.
The area under the bridge was pretty ripped up. I filled the deeper places with thin small patches and then overlaid the top with a veneer type piece of spruce. I haven't added the veneer to the sides yet. The center was more deeply chewed up so I put a thicker piece in there. The color is off -- the white areas are in fact fine grained spruce.

Here's the follow up.

What I did:

Removed the classical (wrong) bridge that had been badly glued to the top (contact cement?).

Splinted the top where it was cracked -- from tail block to rosette on one side, tail block to bridge on the other.

Removed the back.

Glued and clamped the tail block where it was cracked through.

Cleated the splints and superglued any other cracks I could see from the inside. (applied patches and glue to interior)

Replaced the existing bridge plate with a radiused piece of spruce, then added a thin (1mm) piece of maple

Patched the holes where the pins had torn through the top, then added a thin layer of spruce to bring the top up flush.

Sanded and radiused the chewed up area of the top where the bridge had been.

Made a new bridge of ebony, radiused to match the top

Made a new saddle of ivory..

Cleaned and refinished the top.

Cleaned the insides.

Straightened the neck using Jim Bancroft's suggestions about clamping and then wrapping the whole deal in a heating pad, which I only left on 24 hours, and checked several times.

Replaced the tuning machines with Stew Mac's Waverly vintage repro ones

Shaved the bottom braces to Martin standard, or at least until I could get flex out of the top.

Slipped the block when gluing on the back so as to regain the right neck angle.

Strung it up with Savarez reds -- I plan to use yellow next time, but red was what I could get my hands on.

I did take it into Gryphon and talk w Frank about the whole thing, and in general I'm pleased with how it came out.

Frank did say that I did a couple things wrong from a collector's POV -- I cleaned the top up too much, made the bridge the wrong one -- it should have a flattened pyramid on it instead of the full pyramid (an easy fix if I want to do it) and I shouldn't have made the bridge oversize (very slightly). It also has a slight ripple in the neck on the treble side at the 12th fret that affects its value but not playability.  All that being said, it played well and handled nicely and I am delighted to listen to it come into its voice as it has been doing for the last couple months since I strung it up Dec 24.

Here are pictures:

Thank you all for your shared knowledge and suggestions. I'm still curious about the bracing in this, when it was made.

I'm hooked. I'm looking for another one to restore.

Barbara

 

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Great looking guitar, Barbara. It may not be completely original but, to me, good sound and playability are higher priorities. Keep us posted on the next one.
Really appreciate the update/followup.This was a great story!

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