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Thread: F-hole re-enforcement

  1. #1
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    Default F-hole re-enforcement

    I'm working on the carved soundboard of my second build and I'm wondering about the re-enforcement the author of the manual I'm using recommends. I've installed a strip of guaze bedded in titebond in the F-hole area and was happy to have it there when cutting the F-holes. Now that they are safely cut is the re-enforcement still required? To me it seems that it places a lump of material in the thinnest place on the soundboard over a considerable area of the recurve.

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    IMO, gauze is not required before during or after cutting the f-holes. When (not if) someone cracks the top by grabbing the mandolin with the thumb on the wing of the f-hole, the repair is much easier and better if there is no gauze there it hinder alignment, cleaning, gluing, clamping or any other procedure required to repair the crack.
    If you search the term "gauze" and/or "gauzing" you can read some old threads on the topic.
    (OK, so some mandolins manage to avoid the f-hole crack for many years, but the potential is always there.)

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    Thanks, I thought there might be something said on the topic but wasn't looking in the right place.

  5. #4

    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    what is the best way to fix a FF hole crack? Do you glue a cleat in from the outside?

  6. #5
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    Quote Originally Posted by kjbllc View Post
    what is the best way to fix a FF hole crack? Do you glue a cleat in from the outside?
    Only of necessary. If it is a new crack that is tight and with good alignment, it can be glued with no cleat, either with CA or with hot hide glue. If it is an old, dirty, open and/or misaligned crack a cleat may have to be used. Yes, glued in and clamped from the outside working through the f-hole.

    That is why I do not like gauze inside of the f-hole. It makes misalignment of the crack more likely and more difficult to correct and it makes gluing a cleat securely to the inside nearly impossible.

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  8. #6
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    If you really feelthe need to add the reinforcement do it with gauze and hide glue. That can be removed relatively easily with warm water. I once repaired Gibson F-9 and it had a piece of cloth attached with ton of Titebond. I carved it away with thumbplane - one pass removed just the cloth, the second pass removed much of the glue underneath...
    Adrian

  9. #7
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    The gauzing on f-holes on the original F5s, H5s, and L5s - as well as on violin-family instruments - was not about strengthening the f-holes but instead to add stiffness to the edges of the wood around the f-holes to reduce the propensity for he unsupported wood to damp (i.e., wick off energy). Very similar reason for the use of ebony fretboard extenders rather than using maple or mahogany ones.
    RR

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    I have used gauze with Titebond from my very first, following Siminoffs' guide.. With my second build, I sanded most of the glue and gauze off after reading about how unnecessary the reinforcement was.. I thus got my only failure, with a split from the F hole on the treble side all the way down to the binding.. That taught me how to replace a top very early on... In over 50 builds, I've reinforced every one without one problem.. It does add a lot of extra steps. but so does the scroll on an F style as apposed to the A style....... Keith
    kterry

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  13. #9

    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    thanks

  14. #10

    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    Great responses from some great builders. Thank you everyone

  15. #11
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: F-hole re-enforcement

    I agree do it with Hide Glue. I have made only mandolins without gauze around the F holes. I have never had a crack develop.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

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