Martin re-top final

The sides now need to be prepared to except the new top. Here you can see the side /back assemble is in the adjustable mold, this keeps the sides perpendicular to the top, the interior supports stabilize the sides so that they can be sanded with a large (18X 24 inches) sanding board, there are a few sections of the kerfed lining that were damaged during the top removal and need to be repaired.

Our top is now ready to glue to the sides, this process dose not require much pressure a few clamps a strategic points, but mainly thru the use of heavy masking tape.

After allowing the glue to dry a few hours, it is time for removing the clamps. The masking tape needs to be removed with care, so as to not pull up the soft grain of the top. The edge of the top is squared up with the sides and now the binding can be installed. The binding is actually two pieces, the outermost strip is the binding, its function is to protect the fragile edge of the top, and seal it from moisture, the inmost strips are the purfling these white / black combinations are simply decorative, I was able to save the original binding, but the purfling had to be replaced. As you can imagine, this can take some patience, to get all these pieces in place.

Since are original top had that dreadful Gibson bridge a new one has to be made, here you can see a stock Martin bridge along with the on I made, you may be able to tell that new bridge has the old style “thru saddle” which is glued in place and would have been what came with the guitar, The more modern style is the “drop in” saddle which is not glued in.
With the top in place, the binding installed, the bridge located, the finishing can begin. The finish in this case is nitro-cellulose lacquer used by the Martin factory to this day. The top gets 8 to 10 thin coats, the back and sides get a couple just to make it look uniform.
The finish is allowed a week to harden before the buffing process, after buffing there is a rather straight forward process of reassembly and setup, and in this case the final feature was to install an original pickguard that was salvaged from a previous repair where the owner wanted a different pickguard.


02/12/2012  | comments (0)