Repair Spotlight: Gypsy Braces
The Repair Shop sees their fair share of instrument disasters. Dropped, kicked, water damaged, dried out are just a few of the many maladies that can befall a perfectly good guitar. When this particular Gypsy Jazz acoustic showed up in the shop it provided a new level of challenge in exactly how they were going to not only gain access to the top crack, but also how to get inside and clamp the braces. On a traditional dreadnought style guitar, the sound hole provides access for luthiers to make such structure repairs. But on a "Petite Bouche" guitar there's no way to stick a hand or clamps inside to glue things up. After sizing up the repair it was determined that taking the back off the guitar would be prohibitively expensive. As an alternative the decision was made to cut a panel to gain access to the damage. Here are a few photos documenting the process.
Part I: Plan of Attack
Repair Shop Luthiers Mike H and Matt H discus the best plan of attach for repairing the guitar.
A template is laid out on the side of the guitar for where the access panel will be cut
A dremel and Stew Mac jig were used to cut/drill the proper depth
The rough opening is made allowing access to the damaged guitar
Part II: Glue it up
Here is a close-up on the cracked brace that need to be clamped and glued (not the green arrow for reference)
Here are just a few of the various custom made clamps that the Repair Shop utilizes when fixing up a crack
Interior shot of the clamps as the glue dries
Part III: Finishing details
Once the glue had dried, and clamps removed work began on dressing up the access panel and making a pass at making it blend as best as possible which included lacquer pens to color the raw wood to match the side.
A close-up on the panel reinstalled with the lacquer pen used to blend the wood grain so that the cut doesn't jump out as much
The finished panel and top crack on display
The closed up top crack
The finished side panel with lacquer pen wood grain