Bridge clamps: practical production tip

Bryan Galloup modifies bridge clamps for increasing speed and clamping precision.


A-BRIDGECLAMP





Here's Bryan Galloup's adaptation of the Ibex bridge clamp and our bridge clamp caul. Actually the idea came from Dave Collins (pictured), who works at Galloup Guitars. "Dave has been with me for three years," says Bryan, "first as a student, then as an apprentice, then as a repairman, then as a teacher, and now Dave is our senior luthier. He only builds guitars — about 45 or 50 of them each year."

Dave explains the tip:

I was dry-clamping to check the fit of the Ibex bridge clamp, an interior caul, and the bridge caul on a guitar," says Dave, "I don't remember what model, but it wasn't a Martin or anything like that. The braces were so tall that the Ibex clamp didn't have enough throat depth to allow the nylon cap to fit over the bridge clamping caul. So I backed out the clamp thread until the nylon pad popped off (photo at left) — leaving a ball end — and then it fit.

The clamp wanted to walk around though, so I centerpunched and drilled a countersink into the center of the Waverly caul with a 5/16" drill bit (below), just deep enough to form a dish for the ball.
It worked so well that we started using it on a regular basis.

Now we have six of the bridge clamping cauls — all with countersinks — and four Ibex bridge clamps with nylon pads removed for that set-up. Locating the caul and clamp on a bridge much is faster and more accurate now.

Dave Collins,
Galloup Guitars