Page 2 of 3
I used a piece of maple the same thickness as the original (.100") and traced the outline of the old bridge plate:
I cut it to shape and beveled all the edges just as the original.
Notice the grain direction of my new bridge plate:
Because the string tension is in a straight line with the grain of the top, I like to orient the grain of the bridge plate the same way, to avoid cupping and deformation. In this case, it's doubly important, what with the cross grain breaks in the top between the bridge pin holes.
For an "important" restoration on a vintage instrument, I'd restore the spruce separately and use an original style bridge plate. I've just written an article on this sophisticated technique for Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and it should appear around April, 1999. I'll post that material on FRETS.COM shortly afterward.
Holding the new bridge plate in place, I marked the location of some of the bridge pin holes:
And checked to see that the holes and plate were lined up correctly:
Time to glue. Hide glue is my choice, because it dries hard and becomes very rigid, with literally no tendency for "creep," even at elevated temperatures.
Any water based glue would cause my bridge plate to cup and become difficult to handle as I worked with it, so I brushed the back side with water to balance the forces of absorption:
Working quickly, I brushed on hot hide glue to the upper surface:
Hot hide glue is usually dispensed from a glue pot, which is typically a lot more work to maintain than a bottle of carpenter's wood glue. I think the advantages of hide glue outweigh the trouble and shortcomings, but I really don't like to deal with a glue pot, so I use these little plastic cups and float them in a beaker of hot water.
Click here for a description of how I use hide glue without a glue pot.
Back to Index Page