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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5419
Location: Hegins, Pa
here is an article I just finished hope you find it helpful

This guitar was presented to me in June. The customer’s story was that it was a guitar that is late father had purchased for him in the 60’s. At some point it had the top destroyed. He sent it to a Gibson authorized shop that replaced the top to the mid 70’s bracing construction. As a result the guitar was dead and never played again. The sunburst finish was replaced with just a natural finish.
I got the guitar and after looking at the top, the outside was nice and will done. The braces were so large and bulky to be about useless for a guitar. The braces were 3/8 in across and 5/8 in high. It also had the double X brace pattern and 3 sets of finger braces. This was more than one would want in a guitar. The bridge plate was so far out of position to be useless. The holes from the pin were too close to the front and there was no support under the saddle.
I could access the braces through the sound hole so there was no need to pull the back. My tools were a small IBEX finger plane and a few shaped sanding blocks with various grits from 60 to 180. The first thing was to pull the lower X braces and bridge plate. I used a wet sponge and soaked the plate for a few hours. Then with a heat blanket and a small pallet knife I could work the plate off.
With the plate out I could then address the X brace. I used a razor blade and a flat piece of steel and with a few taps got the razor blade to separate the glue joint under the lower X braces. After a few inches I could get a thicker knife under that and water, this freed the braces in only a few minutes and softened the glue for easy clean up. I then addressed the lower finger braces. Here I had to rely on a small chisel and literally split the braces then cleaned off the glues residue.

Now that the only top braces left were the upper transverse brace, X brace, and Popsicle. I had to lower and thin the X braces. That is where the finger plane and sanding blocks came in handy. As the braces got thinner I also use a sharp chisel from a STANLEY 45 place set. If you ever get a chance to find a set grab them. I used a 5/8 chisel here and just started to angle the sides of the brace to remove weight. As I got the brace to taper I also started to lower them. I then started to scallop by using the finger plane. I would work some and then feel the top for movement. I also was using a strobe tuner to see how the top frequency was changing and compared that to my J50 top.
I saw the strobe tuner fall into something close to my 1953 J50 and was happy with that. With the braces then reshaped I installer a new pair of tone bars. My J50 tone bars measured at .300 in wide and 7/19 high and match the peak and belly of that brace. I also placed them in the same position of the 53.

Now with all the old braces reshaped and new braces installed I could string it up. I was pleased with the end result and made this video for the customer who accepted the work. It isn’t that hard to work through the sound hole but all adjustments must be done in small steps. Once you take it off you cannot put it back on. Many years of experience helped. Here is the link for the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gjbwSoljZI
You can take a dead guitar and bring it back. It was a challenge but it was gratifying to bring joy to my customer .


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John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 637
Location: Chestertown Maryland
Nice job, John. My 10 thumbs are too fat to fit in the soundhole

E


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5419
Location: Hegins, Pa
I know your daughter would have liked it Ed

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John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5419
Location: Hegins, Pa
UPDATE
my customer wanted this restored to the sunburst finish so we just got this back from finish and ready for delivery
came out nice. Even found a proper 60's pickguard


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John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:58 pm
Posts: 188
Location: St. Louis area
Beautiful! Overall Better than when it left the factory.

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Measure Twice,

Karl B


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