OKie-engineering in attempt to salvage a guitar. Part 2 Clamps and Glue Back

Greetings @Aaronwith2dots , @silvia , @tony ,@LievenDV , @BurnsRhythm , @roger_holland , @TheMadman_tobyjenner , @SILVIA and community members following this topic

Summary: My Breedlove guitar had a fatal 2-way humidifier failure, It blew up and the humidifier beads cause the back of the guitar to lift. In Part1 I described in detail the problem and worked on scraping out those little demon crystals. I them set about airing the guitar out and letting the back shift back into shape.

In Part 2 I’m, going to show you what I used to make Spool Clamps on the cheap, describe the gluing process and show the results.

Making Spool Clamps : Spool clamps are often used to attach the top or back to the sides. StewMac sells a beautiful set of 6 for about $58.00 US. I thought I could make some on my own (use Okie Engineering skills). I gould make 50 clamps for about $45. I looked for wooden spools, threaded rods, wing nuts, cork or felt.
Here’s what I came up with and what I used:

Wooden Spools: I got those from Amazon. They are used to make children’s wooded toys like, wooden cares and trains. 1.5 " in diameter and the hole in the center was 1/4" in diameter. They were Woodpeckers brand

Threaded rods. I initially looked for bolts. But I could not find anything 8" long. So then a decided on using threaded rods. I figured I could put a nut on one end, and a wing nut on the other end for ease of adjustment. I got a 3 foot rods and asked the dear husband to hack saw them for me. I got 3 8" rods and 1 12" rod out of each 3 foot section. I purchased 3 rods. Got these at the local hardware store. They were 1/4" diameter rods. It is a good idea to bring one of your wooden spools to test the rods to see if you’ve got a good fit.

Cushioning–Cork or Felt. Well most spool clamps have a piece of cork lining the side of the spool that touches the guitar. I found on Amazon cork lining that had a sticky side. I would just have to cut it out. I thought that would be too much work. So instead, I purchased felt furniture pads. I pushed a hole in the middle of those with a pair of scissors.

How did they work? Well, I found the felt was a little slippy. That may be why cork is used. Cushion and grip. So next big project I’ll go ahead mad make cork cushions for the spools. The spool on the left shows the felt or in the future the cork, goes in the inside of the space between the spools.

Process: I used Titebond original in the opening of the back and used a toothpick to push the glue as far back as there was space. I wiped off any excess. I laid a piece of wax paper and I think piece of craft wood over the area being joined and clamped it down. Left it overnight.

In the morning I was pretty satisfied with the glue job. There was some slight space between the binding and the edge of the back in the two areas that had lifted (see pictures from Part 1). I used thin Starbond Thin Glue (water thin CA or super glue) and with a pipette, I carefully wicked glue into those crevices and pressed down.

I also had a couple of places where the laminate cracked or looked like it might peel. I used the pipette and this glue and capillary action to get the glue into those cracks and under the laminate. I did an immediate wipe with a towel.

Here’s how it all looks now:

From the top left of the frame down to the bottom right you can see that everything is laying flush.

The bottom of this picture shows ia close up of the top left are from the previous picture. This section was the most damaged with lifted section, cracks and laminate peeling (lifting). Now you may not be able to tell but this section is 100% silky smooth. I did take 1000, and 2000 sandpaper to the edge to smooth off glue bumps. This was am important goal. I wanted everything to lay down. But, I also wanted everything smooth. I did not want any areas that could catch on fabric, clothes, wiping towels, etc.

Cosmetically close up there are some imperfections. The lifted laminate is a little lighter in color. But hand feel wise. It is very level and smooth feeling.

Next Step. The fret nut fell off so I am gluing that back in. Once that sits overnight I hope to string it up tomorrow and see if this puppy can play.

Hope you enjoyed my experiment.


Thanks for the detail, very cool and fascinating to read.

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Very much so Rose, thankyou.

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Hi Rose,
Awesome, and so cool that you’re doing all this. thanks for sharing :star_struck:

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Sounds super interesting, thanks for Sharing :slight_smile:

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Hi Rose, good job well done.
You could make some rubber washers out of old tyre inner-tubes to go between guitar and felt with your clamps. They would grip better than the felt.

Not sure you should glue the nut in but others will know that better than me.

🎸 David

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Looks like a job well done!

This type of repair, in my opinion, is very hard to make disappear as if nothing ever happened. Your goal of structural repair with smooth surface and minimal visual impact is right on. There are professionals that work with finish matching. I have watched some of their videos and it is true art and experience.

My classical guitar crack repair worked fine, cosmetics, not so much. I tried some fancy finish repair “as seen on you tube”. Definitely made things worse. :man_facepalming:t3:

Nuts are often glued on. Saves a lot of trouble. Just don’t put much glue on or you will regret it. One, maybe two small drops of either tight bond or CA, no more or it can be hard to remove the nut when needed.

I love to see how you’re creative in taking care of this old guitar! :heart_eyes::clap::clap::clap:

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Hey…awesome job!
I recently fixed a belly bulge on my 1979 Fender F-65 acoustic.
All the internal braces had come loose due to the glue drying out (from previous owner…).
I created some similar clamps using the same type of threaded rods.

Mine were not quite as professional looking.

Thank you, @Basementbob . Oh, that would be a lot of work to fix the braces. So glad I did not have that issue. Hope the F-65 sound good now!


@Jamolay I used a little Titebond original. I used a toothpick to lay down a line. I’m thinking now I might have been better to use a little less as you suggested. But, I am not going to borrow any trouble. I’ll save future challenges for the future!

You are so right Joshua. it is hard to make the damage disappear. As you say, getting the structural issues handled and smoothing everything so the guitar edges are not catching and getting re-damaged was the goal. This guitar’s cosmetic issues are now just part of its character and story.

@BurnsRhythm, That’s a good Okie-engineering tip! The felt pads have a peel off paper on one side with adhesive. So, I could have peeled that off and stuck it to the disk. But was not fully committed to those pads as and I was not sure how permanent the adhesion would be. They are the pads you put on dining room chair legs so they don’t mar the floor. Now were the felt pads touched the guitra surface, there was a bit of sliding and that is why I guess the real spool clamps use a cork instead of felt for cush and grip. Now if I could have figured out how to incorporate baling wire into the design…it would have been perfect. :rofl:


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Wow, awesome job! Came out really well, and as you said, the visible markings are now just a part of the guitar!
Those clamps look pretty handy, need to remember them!

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