I have an instrument in my shop that's absolutely befuddling me right now. It's a Weber Sweet Pea mandolin (I've attached a photo), and there are some peculiar things about this instrument. The sides, back, and neck are all one piece of wood, with the body cavity actually routed away. In place of kerfing, the sweet pea has a slightly thicker ledge at the top of the ribs (sides) where the router didn't cut them quite so thin. There is one brace on the underside of the top, spanning laterally across its entire width.
Now here's where things get tricky. There is a crack in the top right where the treble bridge foot ends. It follows the grain for a little ways, and is about five and a half inches long. I've glued up the crack fine, and haven't left any stepping, but the real problem now, as you might have guessed, is the tone bar that ran under the bridge. It was pulled off of the top by whatever trauma caused the crack (it happened while the owner was moving, and he had the instrument in a gig bag). Towards the center of the instrument, and along the entire bass side, the bar is still glued securely to the top. Past the crack on the treble side, however, the bar is lifted off the top, and is caught on the underside of the ledge that acts as the instrument's kerfing. No (reasonable) amount of pressure can lay it back flat against the top.
So I need a way to reach into that tiny soundhole and shorten the tone bar, or find some other way to get it past that ledge which the winter seems to have shrunken inside of the bar's length. Right now my best idea is to use a turnbuckle to spread the ribs ever so gently wider until I can push the bar up. But this seems like the sort of idea that works better in my head than it would in reality. I have small hands, but it's still a tight fit in that soundhole. Any ideas, please?
--D. Scott Nettleton