This is about an 1977 Ovation "Balladeer" (solid wood top & neck). A working horse that has spent most of it's musical life outdoors, assisting a street artist.

It came to me with string buzz problems. The top cracks I noticed were of no interest to the owner, the buzzing strings did. So I explained that the cracks wouldn't stop expanding if they weren't fixed.


By now I re-humidified (??) it for about 48 hours, resulting in almost totaly closing the smalest crack. I have to get some glue in (I think CA) and have to later re-enforce using patches.

The problem however is that some of the -verry thin- braces cross with the cracks. I checked (and re-checked) these braces and am sure they're not loose. I have tried opening the cracks up, pushing outward on one side and inward on the other but that didn't do it and I am concerned that using more force will result in more damage.

So, what to do? Just work some CA in and clamp the top flat and after that glue in the patches or

would it be wise to remove the braces first (of course after I have marked their positions) expecting that that enables me to do open these cracks, and re-glue them later on?

I know it would be ideal if I could apply the glue from the inside (no clean-up and touch-up on the finish) but strangely there is no evidence of these cracks on the inside. (inspected with light and mirror, endoscopic camera and with my hands/ fingers).

A second problem area is the FB-tongue: it has a hairline crack in it too. I would just fill it up with CA (then scrape the exess off) or would it be better if I  would try to clamp that crack close?


I know you all like pics, so I'll add some.

Tags: cracks crossing braces

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Paul my friend to me you will always be the CEO!!!  ;)

PS:  Simply removing the top and leaving the neck on makes a pretty good bed pan too....:)  Or leaving the neck on and you have an excellent tool for removing dog poop from one's yard too....  Using a the Jack Nicklaus video "Golf My Way" one may also learn to swing the Ov*tion with a golf like swing and launch the dog poop back into our neighbor's yard.

It's all good.... ;)  Sorry again Bart - couldn't resist... ;)

Thanks for all your responses!

You all did a great job trying to stay serious while discussing this New Hartfort device...

( "It's a "guitar" Jim, but not as we know it!)

I'm pleased to read that taking the braces out is not needed.

I'll be using CA on the small crack and will go for HHG on the other (after I have cleaned the gime out).

The smaller crack is closing flat, the other one isn't so I'll have to clamp that flat.

The patches are already pre-shaped.

I've tried mixing CA and sawdust... It just wont work: within 4 seconds I have a lump of glued sawdust. I only have access to "standard" CA and to a thinner version. Never came across separate accellerator...

But: for filling the FB it will do.

The acetone-test was a succes: nothing happened to the finish so I could be using that to clean off any CA residue.

One question comes to mind though: If acetone helps removing the surplus CA, wouldn't it also "bite" into the CA filling the crack?

One piece of advice I find verry usefull, though the author seemed affraid of offending anyone... That price goes to Hesh for his simple remark of washing ones hands. I too prefer "natures 10 high-tech devises" to get the glue where I want/ need it, that is glue, not dirt!

How long before Frank will add the Claymore-method to frets (dot) com...?

Thanks for the great sense of humor Bart.  I didn't want to offend You or anyone else - that's not my way....  So it's great to see that You too have a great sense of humor!

Claymores also work very well for bridge removal, heck top removal.... too... ;)

Regarding acetone you are correct in my humble opinion in that acetone will dissolve CA which is yet another reason why we won't use it, generally, not always.... (there are no absolutes in this trade it seems...) for repairing cracks.

You might also get a kick out of the poetic justice that happened to me yesterday...  After being a jerk in this thread and making fun of Ov*tions I walked into our shop in Ann Arbor and had to work on an Ov*tion myself...  And to make it worse it was an Ov*tion bass as well....  What goes around comes around they say....;)

I keep invisible tape on hand just for CA glue, for whatever chemical reason it doesn't wick under invisible tape. If I'm trying to get Titebond into a crack I lay a good bead of glue over the crack and then seal packing tape all around the glue, then I can push it through the has no where else to go. The finish needs to be robust enough to have packing tape put on and taken off, so don't use it on a flaky vintage guitar finish.

What a great idea John......thanks.

i will second several recommendations by hesh and others/


first, with an old crack like this one if you don't clean it you will simply create an unstable dirty line when you add glue. the dirt and skin oils etc will prevent good glue bonding which ever glue you elect to use. deionized water will often serve to remove grime. in many cases i have used hydrogen peroxide (obtained from beauty salon suppliers, not the drug store/supermarket stuff) with success.


once cleaned, gluing can be considered. i don't like ca on spruce as it tends to discolor leaving a blackish line. tite bond or lmi white are better than ca in this regard, but hhg gives the most natural result, is the esiest to clean up, and wicks in fairly well too but not so well as ca. you will still have to work it in as hesh says.


and given the quick geling nature of hhg warming the top will increase your working time.


it should be needless to say, but rehearse your gluing/clamping sequence several times to make sure you have your tools and materials organized and sequenced to ensue completion before the glue sets up/




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