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Question about attaching top and back

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 261
I'm about ready to put the back and top on, but can't decide which way to go.
I have the sides inside a mold. Will long rubber bands stretched across the back and connected to hooks on the mold be enough to hold it down?
I have carboard inserts to make an inside mold, but have to finagle them past the kerfing to get them in (bending, unbending). If I use the inside mold, I can use spool clamps that I'm making. I don't have enough big clamps to secure the top or back using any other method.

Jan 03, 10 | 11:18 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Bob, I always use rubber bands to hold down tops and backs when gluing. Occasionally, I'll add a clamp if needed. I guess the answer depends on how sturdy your mold is and how big the rubber bands are.


Jan 03, 10 | 1:46 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
If your joinery was done well , any technique will work. I use a my luthery disks in a press but again , anything that can hold the top and back on and close the joint will work.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Jan 04, 10 | 3:47 am

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks Ken and John.
I've got a ton of rubber bands, and 48 J-bolts (I call them) to secure the bands. With any luck, the top goes on tonight!!

Jan 04, 10 | 6:52 am

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
fwiw - I make a caul out of 1/4" MDF that is about 1" wide at the rim (it is cut out in the middle to compensate for the domed top and back). leave the guitar in the mold and put the whole thing in the go-bar. If you make a second caul for the other side you do not have to use radius dishes (don't do it on a flat board without the caul)

Ken's method works but notice the cutouts to anchor the rubber bands to the backing plate - you can't put your J bolts directly into the mold or it will slip on the sides.

Also if you have done the prep work well you shouldn't have to apply a whole lot of clamping pressure - if you need to force some part of the top or back down go back to the sanding

Jan 04, 10 | 11:19 am

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Yeh, I thought about the mold trying to slide up the sides. Thought I'd put some clamps down to hold the mold to the table. I ran a few of the bands over the top last night, just kinda looking at it, and they were very good, had plenty of downward pressure, but not too much.

Jan 04, 10 | 11:26 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Yep -- you need to keep the rim stationary to prevent the rubber bands from pushing it out of the mold. Most guys/gal screw (clamps just get in the way) a base to the mold. Shimming the sides level is also good too, and its not a bad idea to have the wasit clamped so the sides don't tilt. The rubberbands are not really going to distort the brace contours, but if the top or back needs a little a clamping force a perimeter ring helps and prevent the possibility of the rubberbands splitting the plates along the grain ---- There are dozens of pictures on the KMG web site showing how to clamp using rubberbands --- I find it to be the most effective and versatle methods. In the (bad) olds days cloth strips were used.


Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 04, 10 | 2:46 pm

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