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1960's Gibson C-1 (Classical) - Multiple Issues
Shown first here are the AS RECEIVED photos.  Scroll down to see the repair, started on April 29, 2012.

Mr. Jaworsky brought this family heirloom for me to restore/repair. I expect it to be a complete success. The first 10 photos are the "as received" condition, showing the initial inspection on April 7, 2012.

01 Initial Inspection:
Bridge is lifted, and appears to have not been secured properly when installed. Appears shifted forward (shortening scale). The bridge also is not the original one. The Gibson C1 bridge on originals was rosewood (see more about this at right). The installation was done rather sloppily.

02 Initial Inspection:
Bridge from side reveals crack. Appears to be a replacement bridge, made of oak. Lower edges at mounting surface rounded (over-finished). Recommend to owner to make new bridge from rosewood. See an original bridge by clicking here.

03 Initial Inspection:
Crack in top wood, and front brace is separated from soundboard at sound hole.

04 Initial Inspection:
Finish appears to have been damaged by some type of solvent.

05 Initial Inspection:
Forward-most brace is separated from soundboard.

06 Initial Inspection:
Linear crack about 1/8" from fretboard.

07 Initial Inspection:
Main mid brace is split and separated from soundboard.

08 Initial Inspection:
Fretboard has small crack near sound hole.

09 Initial Inspection:
Nut mis-located, and not seated.

 

 

10 Initial Inspection:
Rosette ring lifting out of soundboard due to crack (shown in second photo in the first column above).

 

REPAIR STARTED APRIL 29, 2012

 

 

April 29 2012:  Bridge removed, underneath is the evidence of the former bridge replacement. It appears that about 1/64" thickness of wood was removed for the new bridge. This may have been to insure a wood-to-wood glue joint. I feel fortunate that the bridge was easy to remove. Still, a LOT of cleaning up to do here.

 

May 1, 2012:  Two things are shown here. First, the bridge mounting area can be seen, cleaned up and all residual glue from the former bridge removed. Also the surface has been flattened to accept the re-surfaced bridge, and the location was measured to insure proper scale when installed. Secondly, the brace that was cracked and separated from the soundboard is glued and clamped.

  03  May 1, 2012: In this photo the finish shown in photo 04 above has been lightly sanded with 600-grit paper, and readied for buffing that will occur after the bridge is mounted. This light sanding removed the traces of super-glue from a previous bridge repair attempt.

May 1, 2012:  Here is a new bridge, with a single coat of shellac on it, placed in position on the body--just to show how it will look. As can be seen, a lot of cleaning up of the soundboard will be needed to minimize the evidence that the bridge has been removed and re-glued. The goal is always to make the repair as un-noticeable as possible. This is not to deceive anyone, but instead is very basic integrity: "Anything worth doing is worth doing right". 

 

May 1, 2012: This is the primary center brace that was split and was separated from the sound board under the lower part of the sound hole. As you can see, it is now securely in place, and the glue (which actually holds quite securely after an hour) will be allowed to cure and setup for 24 hours minimum. Compare to photo number 07 in the "Initial Inspection" photos above.

May 1, 2012: This is the repair, underway, of the soundboard crack that runs adjacent to the fretboard. The crack was primarily due to a brace on the underside letting go. The lack of support from the loose brace allowed string tension to pull on the bass side, and combined with probably less-than-ideal storage conditions for this old relic, resulting in the top wood just "giving up the fight", and splitting.

 

 

May 1, 2012: This is a view looking into the mirror so you can see what is going on inside with the soundboard crack repair. Somewhat difficult to tell exactly what you are seeing, eh? Here it is: The two black images at the lower left are the small black clamps shown in the photo on the left. They are clamping the brace that was popped loose. The block of plywood seen in the upper right is being used as a tool to hold a cleat in place which is joining the crack halves together, and the lower jaw of the large silver clamp, seen in the middle of the photo at left, can be seen holding that tooling block in place.

May 3, 2012: WORKING TO RESTORE THE BRIDGE. The bridge split (crack) has been repaired, and the old glue removed from the back, and ready to install. See photos above, and below left.

 

May 3, 2012: Crack repaired. Although it was definitely on this side of the bridge, the repair went so well, that I cannot find where it was cracked, to point it out in this photo. Compare to photo 02 above, where the crack is clearly visible. INVISIBLE REPAIRS--that is always the goal.

 

May 6, 2012: Bridge glued in place and drying. This was supposed to be done Saturday May 5, but my belt sander was acting up, and I needed to sand flat the mounting surface of the bridge before mounting to insure a good wood-to-wood glue joint. I opted to fix my belt sander on Sunday afternoon, then sanded to flatten and prepare the bridge mounting face. I then mounted it.  I expect this guitar to be finished by May 7. See next photo for another angle of this clamping.

May 6, 2012: Same as above right photo, but different angle shown. I actually use violin clamps--not the typical Stew-Mac bridge clamps. They're less costly and do the same job.

 

May 13, 2012: Fretboard re-conditioned. This involved removing the old grime and finish and buffing frets, then re-applying linseed oil just to seal the wood. It really brings out the grain in the Brazilian rosewood.

 

May 13, 2012: Althouth from this photo it appears the grooves are pronounced, it seems that photos sometimes exaggerate things. In this photo the emphasis is the beautiful finish on the rosewood, and the nicely-polished frets.

 

May 13, 2012: The last coat of polyurethane has been applied to the bridge and will now dry for 24 hours. Evidence of the former bridge repair can be seen just aft of the bridge. However, this has been minimized by some sanding and re-buffing the surface. Note in this photo that you cannot tell where the crack was. Compare to photo 02 of initial inspection far above.

 

May 15, 2012: I do not know if the nut is the original one, but I believe it not to be. It was far too high to allow the zero-fret to do its job, and had been mounted at an angle to compensate. I removed material from the base, and reinforced the inside to disallow the small crack (seen at the 4th string) from getting worse, then re-mounted it. It will now perform its primary function of being a string "guide". Compare to photo 09 far above, where the nut is clearly cocked backward to allow the zero-fret to function. Also note in photo 09 the angle of the face of the fretboard. This angle was zeroed to allow the nut to rest flat against it.

 

May 15, 2012: This photo shows the area that had a crack, adjacent to the fretboard. Compared to photos 03 and 06 of the initial inspection, you can see that the crack is not discernable any longer.

May 15, 2012: Another view of the former crack.  It is indiscernable. 

 

May 19, 2012: The traces of superglue are gone.  Sanded and re-polished. The guitar is finished.

 

May 19, 2012: The Gibson C-1 is finished.

 

 

May 19, 2012 The Gibson C-1 is finished.

 

May 19, 2012: The Gibson C-1 is finished.

 

May 19, 2012: Gibson C-1 Finished.