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Bridge is pulling up
Author
Post
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 273
I just got a rude awaking about the reality of humidity and instruments, and kind of started getting sloppy about humidty and changes and what not.

The dread I built this summer is my main guitar and I've been playing alot of small gigs/cafes and what not and it goes with me everywhere. Almost ever day for the past like week+ has been 5 degrees or lower, and extremely dry, and I found that my bridge is pulling off the top, and drastic humidity changes is what I'm blaming it on.

Anyhow, what is the smoothest way to pull up the bridge, to try to glue it back down? It's about half way off right now, but the glue that is still holding, is holding on far to strong to risk peeling it off.

Would the heated butter knife approach work, or would I need to get the bridge plate heating blanket thing?

Dan

Jan 06, 10 | 8:11 pm
Laurent

Total Topics: 9
Total Posts: 109
That's a coincidence, I had the same thing happen to me yesterday!

I'm going to opt for getting it off completely, or else I wouldn't trust it evermore.

Jan 07, 10 | 1:20 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
I removed a bridge recently by using a hobby iron and artist's knife. The bridge came off without a tear in the top. Much easier than I was imagining. Almost too easily.

I haven't had a bridge pull up yet, but given how easily I removed that bridge recently, I started wondering how well mine are stuck. I mask the top before I spray, leaving perhaps 1/16" overlap. When I glue the bridge on, the outer perimeter of the bridge rests on the thin lacquered surface. As I sand the bottom of the bridge to match the radius of the top, this would imply that none of the bridge is really wood to wood, and that a thin film of glue, the thickness of my lacquer, has filled the space between the top and the bridge. I can't imagine this joint is as strong as it would be without the perimeter of the bridge resting on the top. The only solution that I can see is to not mask any overlap or route a small relief area around the bridge, allowing the center of the bridge to drop down to the spruce top. Would love to hear what others believe who have been doing this longer.

Ken

Jan 07, 10 | 4:35 am
Laurent

Total Topics: 9
Total Posts: 109
In the StewMac manual they have you finish the whole top, then remove the parts where the bridge and fretboard have to be glued on.
They don't mention radiussing the bridge, though.

Jan 07, 10 | 4:52 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
If you are not doing this stuff --- structure and sound quality will be compromised.

http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/bridgeprep.html

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 07, 10 | 5:35 am
Laurent

Total Topics: 9
Total Posts: 109
@Ken: hey, that's a good tip, I'll do that!

Jan 07, 10 | 6:09 am
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
Ken, do you believe part of the fact that both Laurent and my bridges pulled up because we did not contour them to the top of the guitar?

I'm 100% humidity abuse had played a part, but I'm sure not radiusing the bridge didn't help either.

From now on I'm definitely going to finished my entire guitar and go back and tape an outline and then strip the laquer to be sure I get a good wood to wood surface. With my bridge pulling up, It made me wonder if I had any leak through the masking tape considering I had sealed/sprayed laquer over my tape job. Next time this won't happen.

Dan

Jan 07, 10 | 6:18 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Ken, what is your view on the 1/16" or so overlap of the bridge onto the finish caused from having a mask slightly smaller than the bridge? In your experience, does this cause a weaker glue joint?

Ken

Jan 07, 10 | 6:20 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
There are a couple of very good articles by Frank Ford at frets.com on removing and regluing a bridge. Put some insulation around the bridge and use heat directly on it, prying with a very thing putty knife or painters spatula. Ken's tip is vital - any gluing surface surfaces should match perfectly - that would also include the bridge plate inside - I put a convex contour on mine before gluing it to the top plate (sand it in the radius dish or make a 25 foot sanding block).

I finish the entire top and scribe the finish around the bridge, then remove it down to bare wood with paint stripper, a scraper and sandpaper. I know that Martin leaves a very small ridge of finish under the edge of the bridge, but that seems like a very bad idea (I had the bridge pull up from my 1980 D12-28 and it had to be reglued). If you leave that ridge you are not going to get perfect wood to wood contact. If you are careful you can remove the finish right up to the scribe line (mask well).

If there is any place that hot hide glue should be used it seems like the bridge and neck joint are the ones - these are joints that you may want to take apart. AR will release with heat but hide is better. I used AR on my first couple and they are holding OK, but I did a lot of prep of the surfaces first.

Jan 07, 10 | 6:45 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Well I have to admit I do a little cheating (not in print until now) I knock the very edge of the bridge gluing surface down with sand paper very slightly around the perimeter to compensate for the finish on the top --- not so much as could be seen as a mis-match. However, I have instruments in the family with the bridge overlapping the finish slightly that are as many as 44 years old, none have had a bridge come off --- the above mod to the bridge gluing surface is a fairly new thing for me. I do know that Martin does allow the bridge to overlap the finish a tad --- I have not heard that bridges popping off is a major problem. Perhaps John Hall has some insight.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 07, 10 | 7:02 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Oh -- and yes if the bridge/soundboard were compressed with the clamp to make the surfaces match during the gluing process it could very well have affected the quailty of the glue joint.

Ken

Jan 07, 10 | 7:06 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
This also seems like where you want to build your best cauls - for both the inside and out. I fit the inside one to the X or fans while the top is off and make the outside one out of MDF padded with cork to fit the bridge (if I ever do a pyramid bridge again I'll use that StewMac plastic stuff). Three good deep clamps and you are set.

Don't do like I cleaverly did one time and stick the inside one to the brdge plate with a piece of double sticky tape. Damn near impossible to get off.

Jan 07, 10 | 10:57 am
Laurent

Total Topics: 9
Total Posts: 109
@Freeman: hahaha, I can figure how you got that last idea though, because it's quite a hassle to get that inside one in the right position, I found.

Jan 07, 10 | 11:05 am



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