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I just accepted this project to restore an old potato bug mandolin. I plan to simply clean it up, retain original finish. Tuning machines are good, just need to replace one button that is missing, or all buttons, depending on what I can find. The separated section is all there, just needs to be glued back in place. Clamping will be the trick. Has anyone had a similar odd clamping project?

Jerry Ryan

Inland Nebraska

Tags: Potato, bug, mandolin, restoration

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Jerry, I've been kicking this around all day and the only thing I can come up with besides gluing blocks to the outside on either side of the separations and using them as clamping points is to make a set of body forms that can be cut in two and used as to clamp the body into shape. I don't THINK you need  will need to support the inside too much,based on the little bit of experience I have with these but you should definitely ( as I'm sure you will) do a careful dry run to insure that things stay in alignment.

I think I would make a board to support the body, face down with a wedge to support the lower face so that I could concentrate in the back and not be concerned about distorting things too much. If you did this, maybe you could use some straps to pull the body joints tight. 

Ned:

Thanks for the input!  Good points to consider and will post the outcome!\

Jerry

Before you stress out working on a complex clamping arrangement, it would pay to spend some time with a roll of masking tape to see if  you can align and dry clamp it all back together.  By pulling the tape tight, you can often accomplish a seemingly impossible job in just a few minutes.  Those glue joints usually aren't under a lot of stress so gluing and "clamping" with tape can work quite well.

Thanks Frank! good point. I have also had small miracles happen in applying pressure in odd places with rare earth magnets.

Jerry

The bowl back shares several characteristics with wooden barrel construction so when moistened it creates its own clamping pressure. My process is to apply a liberal amount of hide glue to the joints, clamp with tape, and then apply boiling water with a brush through the soundhole to the inside of the joint. Let it sit for a day and then clean up the excess glue with hot water on a cloth. Haven't had one fail yet. 

Thanks!  Will post the results!   Jerry

Totally agree with Frank. I've just completed a job on a bowlback where about 30% of the joints were separated. HHG + Stewmac's binding tape did the job perfectly. Just one caveat: if the joints have been apart some time, it's usual for distortion to have occurred. It's a good idea to do careful dry runs before finally glueing.

Good luck!

Thanks! With the advise from here...I have a plan.  Jerry

Finished it!

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Very nicely done my friend. Looks sweet, I must say..........

Jerry, what a terrific job you did! So how did you do it? Were there any pictures taken of the process?

Only this one of using linen to reinforce the body after fitting the separated body sections back together...shd have taken some of using magnets (one inside and out, moving about 1/2 inch at a time on each seam) to pull the body back together. Using hide glue to hold each piece in place until the interior was reinforced, then removed the glue with a damp cloth before refinishing with a shellac french polish. Oh and the missing pieces of tortoise on the sound hole inlay were replaced by searching my pick collection until I found the color and thickness I needed to make the pieces.

Jerry

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