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Martin 00cxae Bridge Off - Now What?

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It's been forever since I last posted/visited this amazing website! Hope you're all well!

So a customer came to me with that guitar saying that the bridge was lifting off and that he tried squeezing hide glue in there but didn't work. I thought to myself, that's a walk in the park fix. And on a martin, it'll probably quite simple unless he really screwed it up.

So I masked, hit the bridge with the iron and cloth (no steam) and the thing came off like a dream. Started sanding and scraping off the old glue from the bridge, then moved on to scraping the top wood ONLY TO STOP at the right time before I screw things up! I didn't sand much (luckily) but I figured something was wrong in there as there was finish UNDER the glue which completely startled me so I stopped and went to my friend: THE INTERNETS!

So this HPL (fancy word for fancy-er formica) topped guitbox seems to have this common issue, but I could not find advice anywhere on any forums as to which glue I should use (as I still haven't hit the finish real hard and would like to keep things as are). Anybody had experience with these? I have little experience with hide glue but judging by how it didn't work with the guy I wouldn't be inclined to try it again.

Epoxy maybe? Heck, CA (now that's probably ridiculous, but what do I know?)

Posting on projectguitar forums is usually my last resort as so far it's been almost impossible to not find what I'm looking for with a simple search. Well, not this time it seems :D

Thanks in advance!

Sami from DXB

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on a normal acoustic i would say no to epoxy, but its the only thing i would trust for a formica/wood join.

like i say though, rough up the surfaces first. i dont mean sand, i mean add some thin grooves with a file or small rasp. you dont want torn fuzzy wood, you want fine grooves for the glue to fill to help it grip each surface.

never used that epoxy so i cant say for sure, you want to make sure you clean up all squeeze out before it sets fully hard or you will never get it off

i should also point out i never won a gotm for re regluing an acoustic bridge :D ... so if you do find someone who says different and has done it on one of these guitars it would be worth listening to them

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  • 4 months later...

Aaaaaand, here comes the slightly conflicting information based of armchair theories!

With the little research I did into HPL I found basically nothing about the actual type of resin that impregrantes the fibers on the top layer of the laminate. That said, I would probably expect it to have pretty high surface energy and for it to act like a big plastic surface.

Epoxy bonds relatively poorly to plastic because its adhesive mechanism is not solvent based and it does not modify the bonds at the plastic surface. Ideally you want toe adhesive to essentially make the glue an integral part of the resin itself, for example CA bonds plastics that have an acrylic component astoundingly well. In wood it's my understanding that most of the bonding comes from the glue acting like a tiny filler in the microporous wood grain. Here the thinness of most CA also helps, giving it a physical/mechanical hold on the wood structure, which is why it's effectively even though it does not modify the chemical bonds and it's actual "adhesion" to wood is poor.

Now epoxy will definitely have some hold on plastic, even if it's not great, and it will definitely act as a mechanical bond within rough grooves. It will probably work fine at the forces we're talking about but it may not be the truly "ideal" candidate.

Broadly speaking, the best adhesives for plastics are: cyanoacrylates, polyurethanes, acrylics, and some UV-curing bonders. Of these polyurethane and CA will work the best on wood.

That said, all of this is about ADHESION. Adhesion does not equal bonding, as bonding is much more complex and bring about details such as the aforementioned mechanical bonding and other influences over holding strength.

If you really, really want to nerd out on this stuff (as I often do) you can read up here: http://www.evenfallstudios.com/woodworks_library/wood_adhesion_and_adhesives.pdf

So, in short: CA and epoxy will both probably be fine, but you're in a situation that does not really have a perfect solution.

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Thanks loads mate! That's a lot of good info that puts things in perspective about glues. That being said, this question was posed way earlier as you can probably tell so I had to solve it then. I used Araldite and it was a dream to work with and didn't stink up the whole room with post-football-game-socks. It's been months of hard gigging for this guitar so far and the owner hasn't complained about it so I guess it worked quite well. But looking at what you said there, looks like it might not last forever with epoxy so I'll expect it to come back to me at some point.

Sorry for the long paragraph with no proper formatting but I replied using my blackberry so the format looks funny....

Thanks again. It's always great being on this forum as there's always something new to learn and someone willing to help. You guys are awesome.



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  • 2 months later...
  • 5 years later...

I know this is an old thread but  hopefully someone here might reply,

 I have the exact same problem with a customers guitar, so I cleaned the bridge surfaces and tried the 2 ton 2 part epoxy.

When I fitted strings after a couple of days of  allowing it dry thoroughly I saw that the bridge had lifted same as before so no luck there.


Has anyone here found a solution to this common problem of trying to glue back a martin 00CXAE bridge?

I'm thinking of bolts next time but need some advice on what glue to use that will bond this  "formica" type material


Thanks guys



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