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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fitting and glueing bridges

How many pics can I get into one post? Should I divide this in two? Nah. Let's get it done with. 

It was time to set the height and the bottom contour on the bridges. 

First I dial in the height by planing. I stick the plane in the vise and move the bridge, which is too small for clamping. 

When it's about right I sand the bottom to match the dome of the top...

... checking the progress by measuring the action at the 12th fret. 

When I'm pleased I scrape the bottom to get a better surface for glueing. 

Now the layout. I set the distance using my wooden ruler lightly clamped to the neck. This is very effective since one tool does two things, holding and measuring. 

Then I put a piece of low tack masking tape at the front edge of the bridge. I used to fret a lot about getting this piece perpendicular to the center line but now I just wing it and get better results. 

On the tape I draw two lines, extended from the neck edge. The bridge can then be centered by balancing between the lines. (Sometimes I measure from the ends to the edge of the top too, and if the shape is very asymmetrical I compensate by shifting the bridge somewhat. But not today.)

More tape. Then the paths of the A and G strings are traced and marked on the bridge. 

I drill the string holes with a tiny hand drill. This one has all but replaced my tiny power drill. The holes are angled to guide the strings towards the soundhole. 

Clamps ready. Glue spread. Wire in the holes. 

And this is the final pic, just to show you that all went well. And after writing this post it's time to scrape off the excess glue. It should have gelled by now. 

Hello? Hello..? Anyone still here?

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