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Thread: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

  1. #26
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    Great work John.

    I liked that you saved the upper and lower transverse braces and kept the period correct straight tapered shape rather than a bunch of "hippee sanding"; I bet I know where the new spruce came from!

    For mandolin nerds that don't know John, he's one of the finest vintage guitar nerds in the country and a heck of a nice guy who lives just down the hill from me.

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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    Now THAT is a guitar repair!!! Awesome work John! I have done a couple versions of that repair after seeing other photos and a description of your method, and I have been extremely pleased with the outcomes. Thanks for showing us some of the amazing work you do!

  4. #28

    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    Nice work, John! Clearly, opening the back makes everything easier. I love the idea of putting in the patch from the inside. No shaving off the "overburden" of the spruce patches like I'll be doing. I'm also going to try to emulate the thin spruce patches you use around the bridge plate on this one.

  5. #29

    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    Here's the latest in the saga. As mentioned previously, I glued the un-repaired cracks beneath the bridge and cut out as much damaged wood as necessary before inlaying in new spruce to create a solid, level mounting surface for the bridge. I cut numerous smaller patches based on how much damaged wood I needed to remove, then I carved the extra spruce down with a chisel and sanded it flush with the top.

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    Then, emulating John's work above, I created a large spruce patch about .075" thick tapering down at the end, to re-enforce the area behind the bridge plate extending out to the X brace. This is an area that had sustained numerous cracks and severe stress in the initial damage to the top and I was concerned that it needed extra support. This seems to have leveled and stabilized that area, and I'm hoping that it is thin enough to not compromise the sound.

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    I'll continue that type of support around the other damaged areas before gluing on a new bridge. As someone mentioned earlier, I will have to move the bridge back a bit for correct intonation.

    All in all, I'm feeling hopeful.

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  7. #30
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    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    I've done a similar repair and it worked out just fine. I'm sure yours will too.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #31

    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    FWIW, I remember an old quote from a Doc Watson interview years ago where he described one of his old guitars as "having the bridge come off so many times they had to INLAY wood!"

  9. #32

    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    FWIW, I remember an old quote from a Doc Watson interview years ago where he described one of his old guitars as "having the bridge come off so many times they had to INLAY wood!"
    I feel better knowing that! I've got 2 of the side support pieces in, I'll need 2 more before I deal with the bridge.

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  11. #33
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    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    If you are crazy enough like I am, you could do this. Turned out to be a way better sounding guitar in the end.

    https://www.fretboardjournal.com/pho...rKBjXcKC4g6dPs

  12. #34

    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    Quote Originally Posted by sliebers View Post
    If you are crazy enough like I am, you could do this. Turned out to be a way better sounding guitar in the end.

    https://www.fretboardjournal.com/pho...rKBjXcKC4g6dPs
    Wow! Nice to save a cool old guitar!

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  14. #35

    Default Re: Martin D-18 Bridge plate issue

    I am delighted to say that the operation was a success and the patient has made a successful recovery! Using John Arnold's work as an example, I created a series of very thin spruce re-enforcement plates between .075" and .065" thick, tapering down at the edges to re-enforce the damaged areas. This was time consuming and a bit difficult without removing the back, but I made good use of magnets and inspection mirrors to get the fit correct and used Titebond to glue everything up.

    I used a total of 6 plates around the damaged ares of the guitar and as suggested, they did not impair the tone at all. This proved to be a very elegant solution since there was so much damage to the area around the bridge plate that cleats would never have provided enough support. I also created a small thin plate to re-enforce the area around the neck side of the sound hole which had been cracked during the previous repair work and was starting to break off (too many arms reaching in too far, probably from the original work).

    I was able to talk with the Martin factory and they looked up the appropriate bridge for a '72 D-18. They had two types for that year and I bought them both. One was a perfect match for the correct saddle location without having to plug and re-drill the string holes (big relief since the wood inlays would have made plugging more difficult).

    I fit the new bridge to the top using the "upside down sandpaper" trick and glued the bridge on with Titebond, added a new compensated bone bridge and gave it a test string up the next day. To my relief (and surprise) everything looked right to spec. I then unstrung it and did a final clean up and added a thin line of shellac where the wood patch showed slightly around the front and sides of the bridge. Once it was cleaned up (a major job in itself!), I strung it up once again using the medium strings the owner had been installing when the bridge pulled off. He wants to use mediums on this so I decided to try that and see if it would hold...so far so good, but I am concerned that in the long run, he'd be better off with lights, but that will be up to him.

    Final specs; Action at the 12th fret, Low E 3/32. High E also 3/32. The sound is excellent, the top is flat and it plays better than it has in years.

    Thanks very much to everyone who shared their advice and suggestions!

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