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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:20 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:43 am
Posts: 19
First name: David
Last Name: Scheckman
City: Plainfield
State: VT
Zip/Postal Code: 05667
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hi, I’ll preface by saying I’m not a luthier. I’ve built a couple of guitars and a Uke and done a few guitar repairs. I am a retired woodworker. My friend and guitar mentor asked me to look at one of his collection which he recently strung up after it had been hanging on his wall for years. It’s a featherweight Tilton improvement. It plays surprisingly nice. Clearly it originally had an endpiece evidently one patented by Tilton. It may or may not have had an additional bridge. It now sports a cracked and peeling bridge which is pinned down. I can’t see or get to the underside, don’t know if there’s a bridge plate . So what’s the best way to repair or replace the bridge? I can picture removing the strings and pulling the bridge together working glue underneath, putting gentle pressure down, maybe with gobars? Or making removing the cracked bridge and replacing it but the lack of ability to get to the inside makes me worry i wouldn’t be able to get enough clamping pressure. I guess another approach would be to get some kind of replacement endpiece and move on from there. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks,
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:17 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:49 pm
Posts: 793
First name: peter
Last Name: havriluk
City: granby
State: ct
Zip/Postal Code: 06035
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I think that this is a daunting job for someone to do first time. A zillion questions come to mind. Any chance the bridge replacement job can be put into an experienced luthier's hands? I think general woodworkers' skills won't do a lot of good.

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Peter Havriluk


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:47 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:43 am
Posts: 19
First name: David
Last Name: Scheckman
City: Plainfield
State: VT
Zip/Postal Code: 05667
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
My friend has an inordinate amount of faith in my ability. I’ve told him I’m not really qualified. I think it’s partly that I’ve repaired several of his instruments successfully, maybe also that he’s played and appreciated the few instruments I’ve built. My interest at this point is in learning how a qualified repair person would approach this, then to decide whether It makes sense for me to take it on. He basically has zero invested in the guitar although it does appear to have some value.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:49 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:02 am
Posts: 2935
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
First name: Barry
Last Name: Daniels
Nice old guitars are not what you should learn repair skills on, in my opinion. Start off with a few broken imports. After practicing a few times, you can do a better job on the guitar for your friend. Even if it is not worth much, it is probably a somewhat rare guitar.

As far as what to do, I would make a new bridge for the guitar out of a nice piece of ebony.

Go-bars will place an unrestrained downward force on the top that could warp the joint or even break the top. Use deep-throated clamps instead.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:32 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:43 am
Posts: 19
First name: David
Last Name: Scheckman
City: Plainfield
State: VT
Zip/Postal Code: 05667
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
In this case access to the inside of the guitar is mostly limited by the “ Tilton Improvement” which is a heavy square brace that runs from the tail block to neck block and a medallion which is attached to the brace. Hence the go bar idea. One could maybe get a shim in between the linear brace to buttress the top when gluing the bridge in place. I don’t think conventional bridge clamps will fit.
I was hoping that someone who has experience with this particular model of guitar would weigh in with how to approach the repair and maybe weigh in on the pros and cons of using a replacement tailpiece in addition to the bridge per the original.
I may or may not take it on. Making a bridge and gluing it on is not the least bit intimidating , dealing with the particulars of this guitar is the obstacle. Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:18 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 329
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
A vacuum clamp would likely work well.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:58 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:02 am
Posts: 2935
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
First name: Barry
Last Name: Daniels
Sorry, I thought you were concerned about your repair chops.

The guitar top looks very worn and may not give a good seal for a vacuum clamp.

One possibility would be a hand rubbed glue joint but that would require a perfectly fitting joint.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:57 am 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:17 pm
Posts: 128
First name: Dave
Last Name: Baley
City: Goleta
State: California
Zip/Postal Code: 93117
Country: USA
Focus: Repair
There is almost certainly not a bridge plate under there. I own one of these and did extensive repairs on it. Mine has a flat rib that runs under where the bridge originally was. It runs from side to side.
The Tilton medallion is held to the center bar with two sharp pins that are just stuck into the wood. You probably can just gently pull up on it while pushing down on the bar carefully. Even without taking the medallion out you can put a mirror down inside and take a look. The hard part is getting good light in there. Likely the original bridge was a floating bridge as evident by the tail piece holes you mentioned. Mine has an ebony floating bridge with a fret wire saddle.
Is there a stamp on the back of the headstock reading John C. Haynes? If so the photos I have of the inside of mine could be helpful.
My experience with guitars of this age is that they tend to end up needing a lot more than you initially see. They also are prone to coming apart during typical repairs because the glue is old and treated poorly over the years. This might be a much larger project than you think.
Feel free to PM me directly if you have more questions or want to see photos of something specific.
Dave


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