Sunday, June 14, 2009

They Don't Make Clamps for This!

If you haven't read my post on hide glue yet, please do! Here is an example of an instrument that got both hot and wet.

This bass was brought into the shop for repair. This first picture shows how I know the instrument got overly hot. The varnish has melted and the black fuzz from the gigbag is stuck in the varnish. By the way, this was all over the instrument, not just in this one spot.

The instrument also got wet, which I believe is the main cause of this damage. Apparently, the owner got caught in a rain storm out in a field. I guess basses are hard to protect and not easy to run with. I would suggest a weather report, some large garbage bags or small tarp, and some towels.

The end block on this bass was detached from both the top and back of the bass. It was also partially detached from the end ribs themselves. The bass was tuned and played like this, which leaves me in amazement that the bass did not fall apart altogether. In fact, I'm not sure how it even stayed in tune, if it did!

I wanted to repair the bass without having to take it all apart, if possible. After determining that the remainder of the block was actually well attached, I decided that this would work. Unfortunately, they don't make clamps for this! The ribs near the end block were warped, and I had to clamp a clamp to get something long enough that would bring the ribs back to the shape of the top and back of the bass. There was also the issue of de-lamination at one of the c-bouts. Anyway, here are some pictures of my "enthusiastic" clamping. By the way, the plastic bags do serve a purpose. They keep the clamps and wood blocks from sticking the the instrument.

After days of glueing and waiting for the glue to set, here is the finished product all ready to go again!

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