Repair Spotlight: Gypsy Braces

Repair Spotlight: Panel Door

The Repair Shop sees their fair share of instrument disasters. Dropped, kicked,   water damaged, dried out are just a few of the many maladies that can befall a perfectly good guitar. When this particular Gypsy Jazz acoustic showed up in the shop it provided a new level of challenge in exactly how they were going to not only gain access to the top crack, but also how to get inside and clamp the braces. On a traditional dreadnought style guitar, the sound hole provides access for luthiers to make such structure repairs. But on a “Petite Bouche” guitar there’s no way to stick a hand or clamps inside to glue things up. After sizing up the repair it was determined that taking the back off the guitar would be prohibitively expensive. As an alternative the decision was made to cut a panel to gain access to the damage. Here are a few photos documenting the process.

Part I: Plan of Attack

Repair Spotlight - finding the braces

Repair Shop Luthiers Mike H and Matt H discus the best plan of attach for repairing the guitar.

Repair Spotlight - Templating the Cut

A template is laid out on the side of the guitar for where the access panel will be cut

Repair Spotlight - Plunging the dremel

A dremel and Stew Mac jig were used to cut/drill the proper depth

Repair Spotlight: Access Panel

The rough opening is made allowing access to the damaged guitar

Part II: Glue it up

Repair Spotlight: Cracked Brace

Here is a close-up on the cracked brace that need to be clamped and glued (not the green arrow for reference)


Here are just a few of the various custom made clamps that the Repair Shop utilizes when fixing up a crack

Repair Spotlight: Fixed Braces

Interior shot of the clamps as the glue dries 

Part III: Finishing details

Once the glue had dried, and clamps removed work began on dressing up the access panel and making a pass at making it blend as best as possible which included lacquer pens to color the raw wood to match the side.A close-up on the panel reinstalled with the lacquer pen used to blend the wood grain so that the cut doesn’t jump out as much

FInished up crack repair

The finished panel and top crack on display

Repair Spotlight: Top Crack

The closed up top crack

Repair Spotlight: Panel Door

The finished side panel with lacquer pen wood grain

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