I have been challenged to repair a Martin DXM (HPL top back and sides) after exposure to some excessive heat while under tension.  Imagine what would happen and you'll have a good mental picture of the result!

The bridge is lifting and requires removal and reattachment, but the big problem is the newly created shape of the HPL top plate.  Depressed or caved in at the sound hole and gently rising at a 10-15 degree angle beneath the bridge nicely curving through a maximum and falling to the tail thus creating a very nice belly below the bridge.

Any thoughts or experience on how to reshape an HPL top after undergoing such an event?  I should also note there are no tone bars in the lower bout and a quick look revealed a rectangular stiffening plate attached to the underside of the misshapen top, presumably in place of tone bars.  

Any experience on a repair process or knowledge of the adhesives used by Martin to attach the bridge and the stiffening plate is welcome.

Alternatively, a confirmation of flower pot or wall art status would also be welcomed.

Thanks in advance for any assistance or recommendations.

Tags: DXM, HPL, Martin, top, warped

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Some discussion already here:

The X-brace is almost certainly pulling away from the top by the sounds of things.

The same type of plastic laminate is used to make counter tops, Formica is a familiar brand. Plastic laminate can be, whats called post formed, where it is heated and can be bent into a shape such as a bull nose counter edge or the small rounded cove at the base of a counters back splash. As far as I know it is a thermoset plastic, meaning it can be heated and shaped once. Not 100% sure on that but if it got that hot, it may be toast.

Good luck!

Thanks Paul - the x-bracing was re-glued by the owner.  I agree - toast.

Treat the guitar as if it were an Ovation. Search the archives for 'alternative uses'.

The formica Martin's are not guitars. They're guitar shaped objects (GSO's) and an embarrassment to the craft :)

But would be best to make a counter top out of it.

Thanks Paul -

I doesn't even make a good counter top.


I've been staring at the screen for a few minutes now (trying to think of something helpfull, or even something mild/ not so nasty to say about these HPL guitars)

But all I can think of is.. don't do it..

Give it some more excessive heat, take it some place high and throw it down. (you get the idea)


It's kind of like taking this...

to a Rolls Royce dealer, and tell them you want it completely restored


Thanks Jelle -

Like the car - get the message.

While I am not a fan of the HPL Martins (and declined to sell them when I was a Martin dealer) they do serve a purpose. In this case it's analogous to a child's first pet- something expendable like a goldfish or hamster. It's a lesson learned.

If you decide to take this project on, it will be a learning curve that you will only use once in your life. These instruments are disposable, and I would not think twice about handing it back to the owner in the same shape you got it in. 

Thanks Kerry -

Excellent advise.  I'll give back to owner and give a very sympathetic and sad look when I deliver the news.

Thanks Greg - goldfish would be better - doesn't cost as much.  These are kinda pricey for an expendable.  

I have used epoxy to reattach lifting bridges on these models. Wish I could give you some advise on the top deformation. A customer brough one in that had been exposed to high heat and very low humidity (his furnace malfunctioned and ran on max heat for two weeks while they were on vacation). The top sunk and no amount of rehydration or coaxing helped to restore the top to an acceptable condition.  

Thanks to everyone for the great advice and comments.  I appreciate the quick feedback.  Most have pretty much confirmed my inclination to take a pass, however, wanted to check if anyone had a repair process.


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