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Redo on a crooked center back brace
Chuck D

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 18
I glued the center back brace (the brace that goes along the seam inside the back of the guitar) earlier this week. I had glued the back braces first, then cut the center back brace into several sections to glue between the back braces.

I drew a line to use as a guide along the back before any braces were glued. This is what I used to align the center back brace sections when gluing them in my go-bar deck.

However--glue is slippery! And after the gluing/setting/drying was done I noticed one of the sections is not aligned quite right. It's not terrible, but it is off kilter and would be visible through the soundhole. I figure there is no functional reason to fix this, but I'm interested if there is a fairly simple solution. . .and it would be good practice on fixing an oops like this in the future.

If I were to apply heat to this particular center back brace section would it warm the glue and allow the piece to be removed, cleaned up, and reglued? Any suggestions on how to do this? Maybe a soldering iron? Or clothes iron? Also, is there any concern that heating this piece could have an effect on the joint behind it where the back plates are glued together?

Thanks for any advice.


May 12, 10 | 6:43 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Be careful here with general could cause seam separation on the back, as well as loosening of braces. Lately, I have been using a small boiling pot, got it at walgreens for $10. I fill it with water, then use 2-3 paint scrapers, the very thin and somewhat flexible ones.....let em get good and boiling hot. It also helps to round off the corners so they don't gouge your work. I get one under the edge of the wood, let it start to get about 15-20 seconds before it gets too cool. Pull it out, back in the water, grab one of the other hot ones and keep working at the joint. This way, it is the right amount of heat right at the glue joint, no chance of scorching the wood or anything like that. Keep cycling through with a hot knife, and it eventually comes loose. It seems slow at first, but as the glue heats and you have more direct access to it with the scraper, it comes up fairly quick after that. Removed a back that cracked with no damage to the kerfing in about 5 minutes.

May 12, 10 | 7:50 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554

You should be able to use a chisel to pop the reinforcement strip off then use a scraper and/or razor blade to clean it up. Due to the cross grain nature of these strips, they pop right off with a little help from a chisel. What's left on the back is easily scraped clean. No heat, no water, no fuss.

For future reference, I always glue my strip on as one piece. I then mark where the braces cross, and use a small Zona saw to cut the strip just a tad undersize. I elevate the back under the reinforcement strip, so I can hold each back panel down a bit lower than the strip, helping me keep the teeth of the saw from scratching the back. A 1/4" chisel easily pops out the piece and cleans up the slot. I usually leave the ends of the strip a bit long as well then go back and cut them to the correct length using the same approach.


May 12, 10 | 9:15 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Yet another Ken!

Chisel and scrap -- it will pop off with ease.

Here's a good method for the installation

Ken Cierp

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 12, 10 | 10:51 am
Chuck D

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 18
Thanks for all your advice. Definitely several suggestions I Ken-do. (Ahem)

I will try popping the brace off with a chisel. If that doesn't work I'll look into the boiling pot/scraper method which could be borrowed for other fix ups as well. I may try gluing the center back brace first next guitar. Seems like a good alternative.


May 12, 10 | 11:03 am

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 67
Apologies for coming in late but I had the exact same problem with #2. I used a hot iron to soften the glue and then used a heated scraper to remove them like Ken H suggested.

I had made up a caul to align the strips on my first build. It's pretty ugly but it does the trick. I didn't use it on #2 for some reason and that's when I ran into problems. The tape you see is holding on wax paper so the caul doesn't get glued to the back as well!

Here's the caul in action on #1:

May 28, 10 | 9:17 pm

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