Hi all, I haven't posted here for a while, I've been too busy earning millions as a successful guitar repair ace  ( joke :-) )

I took this job on although I hate repairing Ovations. It has sentimental value for the owner, and he's prepared to pay more than the guitar is worth to get it back in one piece. He doesn't mind if the repair will be visible, he just wants to be able to play it again.

My basic plan is to warm the binding to get it stretched back to where it was so I can glue it back onto the rim. After that I'll glue the top back onto the rim, and then cleat the cracks from inside. After that I should be able to clamp up the cracks in the top, and glue them. 

Before anybody says just make a new top: that would be even more expensive, and he said he didn't mind if it looks a bit beat up.He said it would remind him of how it happened ( it's a long story concerning a nightclub, a

woman, lots of alcohol etc etc, you get the drift :-) )

My main question is: What glue should I use for glueing the top back onto the rim? My gut feeling says West systems epoxy, but it's messy and the cleanup is a PITA. Are there any alternatives?

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Hi Grahame.

Good to hear from you. 

You have a mighty big heart, taking this one on. :) But then again, the 'allure' of the back story is too good to pass up. I bet "El Kabong" makes an appearance somewhere in the story. Clubs+women+free-flowing alcohol = El Kabong....always ;)

How about epoxy to secure the top to the bowl and Titebond Original for the cracks in the top? That should make it solid and the Titebond cleanup on the top will be a breeze.

I had NO idea that Ovation tops are that thick. It explains a LOT!!!!

Best of luck and, of course, we'd love to see post repair pic's :)

Hi Grahame, 

Too long between drinks bloke, hope yr travelling well.  Ah - the equation for a meaningful and well executed life: Wine women and song (or so crudely put by our colonial cousins: alcohol, women and Clubs).........however:

I did one of these a while back.   Go in through the access port - do the top with titebond and a series of cross grain laminate cleats along the length of the break after first regluing the edge with epoxy (stiffened west system) and a carbon fiber (you could use fibreglass mat strips) mesh  tape formed into a fillet to connect the top to the side.  The West Systems site shows a typical fillet application to both connect and strengthen joins like this but its just basically a strip around the bowl edge connecting the top with some thickened epoxy (to stop it running everywhere).

Also, something that came to mind, you may also wish to lay a strip of CF tape and epoxy over the laminate cleats all the way to the bridge area and then further blend/reinforce that area with a bit of carbon fiber to strengthen what is a bad break in that stressed area. This will give some extra strength and stiffness to the top and shouldn't impact the tone much (they are pretty thin in the tone department anyway).  Lay the guitar flat and face down and use standard free flowing West system and that will further flow into repair area and fill any voids as well.  I haven't done that one but I now wonder why I didn't given the big access port on the back.

Pity there wasn't a big open fire-place in the Club that this occurred in - "and then she threw the guitar into the fire along with a bottle of Whisky and all the country and western records in the juke box"  which would have been a nice ending to this story. 


 It may be easier to just cut the binding and make up a piece to put in. The rest of it looks pretty straight forward. Most of us know what lengths we would go to to get a guitar that we adore back in shape after something like this happens. What a huge drag for him...

West System also sells colloidal silica which is added to the epoxy as a thickening agent. It works well for this, I have used it many times.

Good luck...

, yeah, I have that in the shop, I've used it often. It works really well and is easy to mix to exactly the consistency you need for a particular job.

My main problem is how do I clamp the rim while the expoxy sets?

The bowl is round and normal clamps won't work. Maybe with a go-bar deck? ( joke? )

If I can get the top glued back onto the rim, the rest is relatively easy, I can work through the soundhole to glue the top, and cleat the cracks from underneath.

And to Russell: It's a USA-built Ovation without a pickup system, and has NO access port :-)

I'm loving this job more and more, I'm begining to understand why Ovations are so well-loved by repair men the world over :-)

Hi Grahame, 

Sorry bloke, "no port - oh dear!"......but as to gluing the top to the bowl last time I recall I used the thick heavy "brown" tape used for doing bindings to go around the separation.  The top is finished in thick poly so its less likely to lift lacquer when you remove the tape.   I edged the break with shiny thin brown plastic packing tape to stop the epoxy flowing on to the outside surfaces and put a heavy book on the soundboard to urge it to sit flat.

Yes, Grahame, I agree;   its remarkable just how much love and affection we repair dudes have for these wonderful instruments......


always knew deep Downunder Rusticuss was an Ovation man......!!! @U@

Well, here it is,finished it yesterday.. it aint purdy, but it works :-) I'd like to apologise to all the luthiers in the world for repairing it, instead of destroying it by fire ;-)


Looks like ya did a good job on fixing it up -- !!!Y Y!!! applause-


I'm thinking that you just became the "go to" guy for Ovation repairs. You may have just condemned yours self to epoxy hell.

hi Grahame-- I had one of those flat tops like that once in bout in the same shape and took the top off and made a planter out of it because I didn't want to fix it  --- 

Peace, Donald

Looks good and, better yet, it probably doesn't sound any different! ;-)


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