Dan Erlewine’s 2-minute bridge gluing challenge!

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Issue 302 April 05, 2018

Working fast! Dan Erlewine’s using hot hide glue to attach this bridge. It means working fast while the glue’s hot. Susan, our videographer, gives Dan a two-minute challenge: BEAT THE CLOCK!

In this Trade Secrets video:
  • Rejecting the injection-molded bridge of black plastic.
  • Brazilian Rosewood replacement bridge.
  • Plan your clamping before you get the glue out.
  • Time trial: Dan's two minute sprint!

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: StewMac tools + ideas for guitarmaking. Dan's 2 Minute Bridge Challenge!]

Dan Erlewine: Today I'm going to put a replacement bridge on this 1965 Gibson LG-1, one of the models that was notorious for having an injection molded plastic bridge. Replaced a lot of these over the years. They always warped, disfigured and lifted off the top. You threw them out.

The replacement bridge

What I'm going to do is put a wooden bridge on it. Made of Brazilian rosewood, matches the fretboard, which is rosewood. Why Gibson made a black one, I don't know. They probably couldn't find brown plastic. The glue I'm going to use is hot Hide Glue. It's my favorite glue for bridges, neck resets, anything that I can do within about two minutes, because you have to work fast. Just for the fun of it, I'm going to set a timer and Susan, our videographer back there is going to clock me as I do it.

Susan: All right, Dan.

Dry run

Dan Erlewine: But before you do that, let me explain a few things. I have dry run everything I'm going to do already. I've got my clamps out, the cauls I'm going to use, I've got my little ceramic heater here to give me an ambient warmth in this area. I've got a little warm water here. I'm just going to dampen that spruce. It'll accept the glue better that way. No turning back now. I think I'm ready.

[suspenseful music begins playing]

Susan: Two minutes, and go.

Applying the hide glue

Dan Erlewine: I don't care if it little gets outside the perimeter because I can clean it up in a second. What's good about this bridge is it's made on a CNC machine. It's perfectly made by my friend Bryan Galloup up in Big Rapids, Michigan, who runs the famous Luthier School there, and is a master builder. I reamed some holes for the bridge pins [on-screen text reads: Acoustic Bridge Locating Pins - stewmac.com] and also to hold a couple of these nylon locators. They won't stick to glue. That's warm.

Clamping the bridge

It's got adjustable feet [on-screen text reads: Bridge Clamp Caul - stewmac.com] on the edges that'll press down on the top and down on the wings at the same time [on-screen text reads: 1 Minute Left!]. I've got every clamp all ready, just the perfect height for what I want. You get great squeeze out [Soundhole Clamps - stewmac.com]. I think I have time to get one more clamp. I'm not paying attention to the timer.

Yeah, it's still wet. Now the cleanup.

Glue clean-up

[Dan is cleaning up all of the glue squeeze out]

Susan: Dan, you got 15 seconds.

Dan Erlewine: Whoa. Left? Okay.

[alarm sounds]

Susan: Alright Dan!

Dan Erlewine: Thank you. Thank you.

Susan: Did it.

Dan Erlewine: Boy that gets the adrenaline rolling.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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