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Thread: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

  1. #1

    Default Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    I've recently been working on a severely damage Weymann Mandolute which has been sitting around the workshop for years. It had taken a serious fall and the entire end where the tail block is located was shattered the block knocked loosened the tops broken into multiple pieces. I'm happy to say I was able to put it back together and re-creaate some of the missing purfling, but now, I need to re-attach the original, extremely thin pick guard.

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    This appears to be an early plastic material which still fits the slightly lower spot where it used to sit. There are some small wood fragments still attached, but these do seem to be useful in lining up the pick guard correctly so I've left them on for the time being.

    I'm wondering about the best glue to use in this situation. The pick guard is extremely thin and is rather warped from the trauma and age so I assume I'll need to use lead weight bags to get it to lie flat for glueing. I'm concerned that using the plastic bonding glue such as is used for binding would be hard to control and difficult to correct if things slip. I could use Titebond or hot hide glue, even fish glue I suppose, though I have had issues with fish glue holding under tension.

    I'd appreciate advice from anyone with experience here!

    Also, I recently say this body clamp on the internet and wondered if anyone knows where I can purchase the right angle metal parts and clamps.

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    Thanks!
    Last edited by Ginridge; Aug-30-2020 at 12:01pm. Reason: No images

  2. #2

    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

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    Last edited by Ginridge; Aug-30-2020 at 12:02pm. Reason: Not needed now, corrected original issue.

  3. #3
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    If you can leave the wood fragments on the pickguard in place and get a good flat fit, you will be able to use a wood glue such as Titebond original or hide glue.
    Go to frets.com and you will see an article on regluing a Martin pickguard with wood fibers remaining on the pickguard.

    I have used that method successfully a few times. The only one that I had to re-do was a 60's model Martin with that awful shrinking black plastic. It held well enough to start with, but the pickguard continued to shrink over the next couple of years and curled up and pulled loose again. I ended up replacing it with a new pickguard.

    That was a fix-up and sell instrument. Since it was "vintage," I left the old pickguard in the case pocket for a trophy. That instrument was in good shape, but was hard to sell. The 60's Brazilian rosewood Martins used to be an easy sale, but it seems that their popularity has faded.

    I avoid using cements and contact adhesives on old instruments whenever possible. They are invasive to finishes, and it seems that some always get on the finish no matter how well you mask it and how careful you are. Sometimes you have to use them, though.

    I haven't used fish glue. I've heard too many reports about glue failure down the road.

    If you want to use hide glue and extend the open time, you can add urea to the glue flakes. 10% by weight to the glue flakes is an acceptable mixture. I found enough urea at an artist's supply shop to last me the rest of my life for about 6 or 8 bucks. A caveat: I do not use that glue often, and I do not recommend it for high stress joints such as neck joints and guitar bridges.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-30-2020 at 1:26pm.

  4. #4
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    ".............Also, I recently say this body clamp on the internet and wondered if anyone knows where I can purchase the right angle metal parts and clamps............"


    You can make them out of wood and they will work fine. You don't need much pressure on a jig like that. Her is mine:
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    My guess is that it’s just extruded aluminum angle, bandsawn. Probably 1/4” section, 1x4 or so. That would be quick and inexpensive. Any metals supplier, by the foot. Much more rigid than thin bent brackets. Drill and countersink the foot holes, drill and tap The long side for 1/4-20 or larger jack screws, which are also hardware items. The pressure pad is likely a piece of wood or plastic that you have to add. Your wood cutting bandsaw will cut aluminum with almost any blade, and no sparks to ignite the sawdust under.
    You could knock out a couple dozen an hour.
    Tip for tapping: use a reversible electric drill with the tap - very quick. For the wood version, oversize holes and T nuts- those threaded, flanged nuts with teeth. Or, somebody sells everything ready to go.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

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    Last edited by Ginridge; Aug-30-2020 at 3:14pm. Reason: posted twice

  7. #7

    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    Thanks very much, everyone! I'll go watch the video, but based on your comments, will probably try the Titebond method. I agree about avoiding contact cements etc on vintage instruments whenever possible.

    Love the info on the body clamp! I'm using one that has 3/4" pieces of Maple held vertically in place with wing nuts in adjustable slots. It's hard to get any real pressure where you need it. I've found it's amazing what you can do with gentle pressure and time. I'll see what I can find in the way of materials. That will probably dictate which way I go. What's the wood? It appears to be some sort of high quality laminate.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

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    Worked great! I used tight bond. In retrospect, I'd use more and thin it out a bit. I did have one air bubble to deal with, the top is arched and it was hard to apply even pressure.

    Thanks very much. More finish touch up, fret work, and set up. I'll post the finished product!

  9. #9
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    Good work. I would call that a successful repair.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    Looks great, Chris.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Re-glueing vintage pick guard/ body clamp

    I'm pleased with how it turned out. I've been doing finish touch up (French Polish) and it's starting to look fairly good. I'll post pics and it's history when I get it done. Quite a return from the dead! I found this to be a well made instrument though I haven't heard it play yet. I did like it so much, I wet ahead and bought another one with damage to restore. I'll take what I learned from this one and put it to use there.

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