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Cleat material

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Eric Jackson, Aug 5, 2005.


  1. I need to put a couple cleats on a flat back, I assume it's maple. I have some bits of maple and spruce that are a few years old. I've heard poplar is the ideal wood, I don't have any. Will the maple be ok?
    Diamonds, of course...
     
  2. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    This can be well debated if the post grabs attention. Maple flat back...maple would be an equivalent to the material of the back. Poplar similar but a nice weight to strength ratio. However to be controversial I like spruce cleats on a flatback. The argument that it may be too contrasting of a wood I feel is muted by the fact that the back braces of flatbacks are spruce.

    As important as the cleat is the actual joint, show us some pictures!

    This brings to mind that so much going on here in the repair section of TB is not show in pics and MOST times pics are needed to help discuss. If anyone is interested we can put together a section at stringrepair.com where you guys can send me images to upload....????? Let me know by mentioning on this thread if anyone is interested.
     
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You can use maple, spruce, willow, poplar, linen, etc. What really matters is the integrity of the crack (quality of the repair) that you are cleating.
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Spruce. Light, strong, glues well.
     
  5. Advice from three pro's, it doesn't get much better than that. Spruce it will be, thanks gents.

    Pictures: I'm gonna try to figger out posting some. The bass is a recently acquired 100+ year old gamba shaped flat back. It wasn't supposed to be a 'project' but it's turning out that way. As I mentioned in another thread, it popped the back seam across the bottom of the lower bout during some really hot, humid weather. Too much glue in the seam, uneven overhang, I'm going to open the seam back to the lower corner blocks, redistribute the ribs, reglue. There's also a crack from the bottom of the back up about 10", misaligned, full of goo, no cleats. I'm going to wash that out and reglue it also. The grain is not parallel to the centre joint, it runs out probably 20 degrees or so, I've yet to figure out how I'm going to clamp that. Probably edge clamps of some sort.

    I've made the clamp pictured below, I'm thinking if I can spring the back up from the ribs about 7/16" I can glue a couple cleats without removing the back. The clamp is 1/4" steel, if the cleat is 1/8" thick, shape it first, stick it to the clamp with a scrap of double sided tape, apply glue, slide into position, clamp. We'll see if it works.

    This is not my number one bass, I've still got some homework to do before I start, I'm going to wait until the 90+ degree temps and 70%+ humidity subside before I glue anything. I'll probably be asking more questions...

    Edit: Gotta reduce the file size before posting pic. Computer illiteracy...
    Edit #2- Let's try this- Better. The clamp.
    Here's the back crack in question. Not a great pic, the lighter coloured diagonal stripe in the lower right corner of the picture is a 3/8" wide strip put into the centre seam to widen the back. Awkward to clamp.
     
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Eric-that's a way cool clamp! Wanna sell me one? BTW that crack looks from the pic to be 45 degrees or so to the center seam. Poor choice of wood for the back. I've run into a few of those and they never stay closed. Good luck with that.
     
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Speaking of clamps, how bout these bad boys? Made by my friend, Tom Barrett, I always dreamed of such a thing.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    and something more ghetto. Here is a center seam that puckered open. A flexible strip of ply, some bigger wood to concentrate the force and 50 lbs. of buckshot and yer good to go.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    They look heavy! Beauties, though.

    Eric, what you make that clamp out of?

    Among things that aren't sharp, woodworkers get excited about clamps the most...
     
  10. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Most true. Those Barretts are made from aluminee-um and are surprizingly light. He also makes a deep reach c-clamp of which I am the proud owner of a few.
     
  11. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
  12. 1/4" high tensile steel, laser cut. Short scrap of 5/8" diameter round bar drilled and tapped 3/8-16 welded to the front of the backbone, the bottom plate fastened with two 10-32 flatheads from below. Clamp screw is a 3" carriage bolt with a wing nut and a jamb nut tightened together to turn it. I think I'll make a slightly wider bottom plate with less taper to take a little flex out of it. Should hold a cleat in position well enough.

    I think I'm gonna hafta devise some oddball clamping arrangement to close that crack. I'm open to suggestions...
     
  13. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    Eric, if possible some better pics of the bass would really help in the clamp plan. Whats the weight of that clamp you devised?

    Jeff, those things don't affect the joint alignment???
     
  14. I don't know what the cleat clamp weighs, I'll make a slightly stiffer base for it then weigh it. It's all steel.

    I took a few more pictures outside in better light today. It's a low res camera, maybe my hand was a little steadier, the pictures are a bit better.
    Pic #2
    Pic #3
    Pic #4
    Also visible is a continuation of a rib crack that I have to rub some glue into and clamp.
     
  15. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    Eric,

    How much are you having to force in the ribs when you have the seam lined up with the clamps? It's so hard to make an accurate evaluation from pics but I feel like the lower ribs need a little shortening.

    Don't know if you posted this already but HOW did this happen? Pic #4 shows quite a bit of deformation but then in pic #2 you have things lined up. If you are really forcing things back in place to go together this will always be a problem unless fixed correctly.....I can't type.....time for some coffee.
     
  16. I acquired the bass about a month ago, don't know much about its history. When I got it the rib crack was there, the back crack was closed but slightly misaligned and the seam was closed but the back overhung the ribs at the sides and the ribs protruded beyond the back at the bottom. I played it a bit at home and used it for one band rehearsal, was diggin' gut strings again! Then our ac broke down, the house got as hot and humid as outdoors, next time I went to play the bass it had dropped a fourth in pitch. The back seam was open and there was glue oozing from numerous old cracks. See http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=192690

    I don't think the ribs need shortening, they fit the top plate ok. Right now the back seam is open almost to the lower corner blocks on both sides. If I twist the tail plug towards the back the ribs will line up pretty evenly all around the lower bout without too much force. The crack has crept further out of alignment as can be seen in #4 above. I hope it will line up ok once all the goo is washed out of it. Scrubadub with hot water and a toothbrush.
    The plan goes like this:
    -Clean all old glue out of crack and seam.
    -Glue rib crack.
    -Glue back crack.
    -Cleat back crack.
    -Glue seam.
    By the way, Gary, love your Calamari clamps. Great idea. Is the red part extruded aluminum?
     
  17. We need more threads like this one; I really like seeing this kind of nuts'n'bolts bass repair action.
     
  18. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    Eric,

    Does the bass need anything else done inside? Top cracks, ribs etc.?
     
  19. Oh, this ol' girl could use a lotta work...

    It shows evidence of much repair inside- some tidy, some very crude. The top could use a lot of work, it's had all the edges replaced, some without preserving or replacing the purfling, it has a number of through patches, some bizarre springer bars at either end of the bass bar, cleats of every imaginable shape and size. It's sunken and distorted in the centre. Surprisingly, it sounded pretty good except for the buzzing...

    I think the proper repair would involve removing the top, removing the bass bar and all non-original wood, a plaster cast and pressing to restore its shape, inlay to repair overly thin areas, post patch, cleats, etc... thousands of dollars worth of restoration. I don't have that kind of money to invest in it, I just want to get it playable again. Maybe some day down the road when the kids are all finished school...
     
  20. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com