Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009.

Well, while am still going to build a new soundboard as I have said, first I am going to see what I can do to repair the old, cracked one. The folks at the Mandolin Cafe have been quite helpful with ideas and encouragement and one of the guys came up with an idea that sounds pretty promising. Here's the plan.

I am going to start by using a heat gun (hair dryer, actually) to separate the two halves of the soundboard. This should be pretty simple, I am told, because the hide glue should give up under direct, high heat. Then, once it has cooled off, I will carefully dress the edges so they are as flat and straight as I can get them in preparation for re-gluing.

Now here's where the cool idea comes in.

I will then take some short, 1/4" wide pieces of spruce (same wood as the soundboard) and glue them with hide glue back about 1/4" or so from the edge, both top and bottom. I anticipate I will use about 40 strips - 10 top left, 10 top right, 10 & 10 on the bottom. Then, when I am ready to glue my halves together, I will take large black spring clips - you know, those jobs used in offices for paper clips - and clamp them together. I figure these should give plenty of force and, once I have the first three or four clipped on, I can make any needed alignment adjustments with relative ease. The rest can then be clipped on quickly.

Once everything has dried for 24 hours or so, I will take my carving tools and carefully carve away my clamping blocks. A bit of scraping, a bit more of sanding, and if everything goes as planned, all traces of the blocks will be gone. A bit more scraping and sanding to get rid of any small alignment errors (although I have trouble even imagining that they might exist) and, Wa-La, a good-as-new soundboard.

I'll let you know.

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