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This is my first rodeo guys, but I am quite proud of the results. I have no training in guitar repair other than watching several youtube videos. I have proven here that anyone can either flip a guitar for a profit, or pick up a nice instrument for themselves to play on an extreme budget! Let me tell you the short version of the story and show you how I did the work.

I picked up a new Alvarez AD60CE acoustic electric guitar from a music store for only $70.00 because the soundboard was cracked. I took it home and fixed the crack, and now I have a nice mahogany guitar that I picked up for a song! I bother to give the model number of the guitar so you can look them up online. Last I checked they sell for around $450.00 retail. The crack is now stable, but still visible so I would guess the value of it now at around $275.00. It would be more of course if I could have made the crack disappear completely. I'll do invisible crack repair in another life.

I photo documented the process fairly well ( I missed a couple of shots ) but I think you will get the idea here.

First off lets have a look at the extent of the damage.

Here is a closer view.

The first thing I did was to cut a couple of pie shaped cleats to be glued on the inside of the guitar body at the location of the crack. The cleats in the photo below are shown in the approximate location I glued them in.

But before installing the cleats you have to work a little glue into the crack by hand. Just smear a generous amount of wood glue over the crack and sort of mush it into the crack using your fingers. It helps to push down on alternating sides of the crack with one hand and push the glue in with the other. Just work in as much glue as you can, anyway you can, as quick as you can. Then wipe off all excess glue with a wet cloth.

Next you have the daunting task of placing the cleats inside the guitar and clamping them in place. I do not own the proper sort of clamps to do this so I decided to use 4 powerful rare earth magnets I purchased from Stew Mac. Below is a view of the cleats and two of the magnets.

To place the cleats in the proper position I removed all the electronics from the guitar. This left a hole about 1 1/2" X 2" at the bottom of the guitar where I could insert a stick of mahogany cutoff I had laying around with a magnet and the cleat on it. First I placed the stick on top of the guitar with the magnet and cleat directly over the crack. Then I marked the stick at the location where it hit the guitar body. This mark would tell me later, when I could not see the cleat, how far to insert it into the guitar body.

Now you can see the hole I was talking about. And I have to digress a bit back to the beginning and point out that I placed newspaper inside the guitar to keep glue from dripping onto the bottom and making a mess. Now, you are ready to proceed. First tape a magnet to the top of the guitar where you want the first cleat to be. I used painters tape so as not to destroy the finish. Take a tiny piece of double sided tape and use it to keep the magnet from slipping off the stick. Use another piece to keep the cleat from sliding off the magnet. Now we are almost ready to insert the stick into the guitar up to the mark we made earlier so it is set to be raised up and marry with the other magnet taped to the top of the guitar. But! we need to check one thing! it is subtle, but if you fail to check it now you have a 50 50 chance of really causing some aggravation! And I'm not talking about putting glue on the cleat (although duh! that would be a problem as well). Think about it and I will give you the answer in the notes section. So lets move forward. You place some glue on the cleat, insert it using the guide mark on your stick. When you raise this stick and get about an inch or so from the target area you well hear a thummmmp! because the top magnet will pull your magnet on a stick up fast until it hits the soundboard. Then just repeat for the second cleat and you are done until the glue dries.

If you have not figured it out yet, here is the answer to what you need to check before putting glue on your cleats: do a dry run and make sure that the magnets are placed so that they attract each other NOT so they repel each other. You should know which side is which before you tape the first magnet to the top. But you should also do a dry run because it would be aggravating to have to flip you magnet after the glue is on.
When inserting the stick into the guitar with the cleat and magnet on it, hold the stick loosely so the other magnet can pick it right out of your hand. Trying to grip the stick tight and fight the magnetic force is not a good idea. Let the magnets work for you and the alignment will be fine.
Depending on the type of glue you use, work fast when pushing glue into the crack. If the glue starts to set up on you while your working it in clean up will be much harder.
How many cleats to use?? I thought about (and still might) using 3 cleats. The crack is very stable now compared to before I put 2 cleats in but I sometimes think I could add a smaller one right at the bottom of the bridge plate. I say smaller one because there is not much room between a brace and the bridge plate. If you have any experience on this topic please chime in and set the record straight!

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