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Canvas Cleat?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    A while back it witnessed at a shop, a discussion about using a strip of canvas as opposed to a wooden cleat. It may have been being considered to avoid removing the top of the bass.

    Is this done? Should it be done? How is it done?

    Thanks Fellows.
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Canvas or linen has been expertly used fo centuries. Linen is superior to canvas. First paint the wood with somewhat thick hide glue, Quickly apply the material and then brush[a fine toothbrush works well] more glue in untill saturation Wipe away excess glue with damp cloth.
  3. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Thanks Jeff. I'll look for some artists linen in the event that I need it.

    Could I send you a picture or two of bass I'm trying to get back together? It's the bass I posted as the restoration project. I'm trying to determine if it needs a new bass bar, and what to do about a busted up button area.

    Thanks for the instructions.
  4. I've never heard of using a strip of linen in place of a wooden cleat. I've of course heard of lining large areas like the insides of ribs to help strengthen the wood to avoid cracks, but not actual cleating.
    Welcome back Jeff!
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    20 years ago Gage did it on my #2 bass because the top's never been off and I like it that way.
  6. My Shen came with linen pieces where a 'wing' crack would develop. Not that it did much good, one side cracked after a few months anyway...
  7. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Well despite the potential controversy, I've started with some linen sheets for the upper and lower ribs. The top and back will get wooden cleats.
  8. FYI - If you look hard enough, you can find green linen canvas (as opposed to the more common white cotton canvas) at better art suppy shops. It is a little harder to work with than the cotton variety, but I've had good results with it.
  9. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Where is it? Do you remember anything about the method he used to get it on?

  10. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I dropped it off and he did it. I didn't stay to watch. It's on some lower-bout cracks.

    I imagine he soaked it with glue and carefully stuck it in through the f-holes.

    I also imagine that our luthier e-friends are holding their sides in laughter as I reduce an extremely delicate task to thirteen short words. Verily, "The First Two Hundred Are The Toughest."
  11. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I found some grey untreated linen. An art supply store had a 54" by 6 yard bolt of it that had been laying around and sold it to me very cheaply. I'm not doing this for a living, so if anyone needs some, I have PLENTY EXTRA.

    I dry cut it to shape, used a tooth brush to apply glue to the rib, then used the same brush to impregnate the linen, and lastly I used a flexible 2" putty knife to squeegy out the excess.

    I don't know much, but this seemed to work very well and the finish of the linen is pretty smooth.
  12. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    One caveat: I work with linen occasionally, and have found shrinkage to be a problem. To avoid it, I run the material through the washer and dryer, or just wash it in the sink with hot water and detergent. Then I iron it fairly flat when it's dry. Before I started using this PITA process I had problems with patches drying small, or causing rib areas to buckle slightly. No longer.