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1990 Elite 1868 Project

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arumako
Posted 2014-11-16 12:15 PM (#500953)
Subject: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

So... I won an auction for a 1990 Elite 1868; but because of my own careless biding, I ended up paying more than I had bargained for. The 1868 arrived today with a multitude of issues. I'm hoping that sharing here, might garner some discussion and much needed advice (for me) from the experienced BFLG members. I'm also hoping that documenting this might help others dealing with similar issues. Of course, sending the guitar to the Mini-Mother would be the most wise and obvious choice, but I know the repairs alone would cost more than the guitar not to mention round trip shipping costs from Japan to New Hartford! So...I took off all the hardware to get started...

This 1868 was dropped some years ago, splitting the bowl from the top. The previous owner attempted to epoxy the top and bowl back together on several occassions leaving an enormous amount of epoxy build up all over the place. I cleaned up the old epoxy build up first, and it looks like I've got my work cut out for me...

splits

Eventually, the previous owner just stuck this poor thing in her case and left it there for several years. It looks like the string tension has permanently changed the shape of the top. It takes quite a bit of force to push the top back down into position. I'm thinking Z-Poxy will get the adhesive job done, but I'm wondering if I need to flatten the top back down somehow before glueing?

paint chip

Another big challenge is the chipped clear coat near the edge of the binding. Once I glue the top back down, I'm going to have to find a way to fill in these cracks. I think thin ZAP CA's capillary action will fill-in the areas of the clear coat that is pulling away from the top, but I think I'm going to need to add some kind of polyurethane filler to fill-up the gapping cracks and holes. A lot of sanding and filling to keep it smooth. It's really interesting how the original clear coat has yellowed like vintage instruments often do. That will obviously be impossible to match.

manhole cover

Years of neglect in the case made the foam on the manhole cover brittle so I just removed it. I'll need to cut out some foam with the right density to get the manhole cover back into shape...

bracing

One of the really surprising things about this guitar was the seemingly sloppy woodworking inside the guitar. You can see the rough "file-like" grooves in the bracing. I'm wondering if at some point this guitar went through some extensive repairs and the bracing needed to be replaced. It seems odd to me that something like this would come out of the New Hartford factory.

epaulets

Here's another apparent woodwork flaw. It looks like the epaulet holes were cut right into the edges of the bracing, strange...

bridge

Notice the messy wiring hole cut into the left side of the bridge slot. It looks like it was manually performed. The soundboard's black paint is showing in portions of the bridge saddle slot. No doubt an attempt to lower the action of the guitar as the top pulled further and further away from the bowl. An attempt to route the bottom of the bridge saddle slot probably failed leaving an uneven surface. I'm debating whether or not to install a new bridge (if they are even available) or not. I can't even imagine how I would go about clamping something like this!

epaulet crack

A small piece of the epaulet cracked off, and was poorly glued back into place. It looks like I'll be able to remove, clean and re-install this piece. That should be relatively easy. Whew...

inside

The inside of the guitar looks to be in good order, but I noticed that the spruce seems to be covered with some other layer near the epaulets? Notice the change in wood grain...or is that a change in sanding stroke...or something? What is that?

Here's another shot of the gapping mouth. Keep in mind that the strings are removed! I'm going to need to think through each of these repairs carefully before I get started, and just progress slowly. Is this 1868 beyond hope, or is there still a chance that I might here her sing again? Any advice and/or suggestions from the OFC would be most appreciated and welcome. Thanks!



Edited by arumako 2014-11-16 12:30 PM
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jamesholl
Posted 2014-11-16 1:54 PM (#500955 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 100

Location: Bristol England
Hi Ho Dan Savage. Cue William Tell overture.
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cholloway
Posted 2014-11-16 2:31 PM (#500957 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 2527

Location: Atlanta, GA.
If you can't repair it, any chance of recovering you investment by parting it out?
Neck, tuners, OP pre amp, case, etc.
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-17 5:57 AM (#500972 - in reply to #500957)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
cholloway - 2014-11-16 4:31 AM

If you can't repair it, any chance of recovering you investment by parting it out?
Neck, tuners, OP pre amp, case, etc.

Yes, I can. tpa suggested the same on my post in the "General" forum. All the separate parts would more than recover my investment. That really gives me some assurance, and frees my mind up to dive into this project...but oh, so slowly...

And after taking measurements, it's very clear that the bowl was filed down at the butt end of the guitar. That's why it takes a lot of pressure to push the top down to contact the bowl. At it's lowest point, the ring of the bowl that adheres to the sound board has been shaved down by 1 full millimeter. If I can't raise that area back-up to the proper specs, the top will not be flat!

Does anybody know of some good plastic material that will adhere strongly to lyrachord? It looks like I'll need to make a shim to fit between the bowl and the top...

jamesholl's got it right. DanSavage! HELP...
Oh, yeah...I remember DanSavage talking about the different lyrachord bowls...I'd better go back and look at the "1619-4 Rebuild" thread for a refresher course on "O" bowls...here goes nothing!

Edited by arumako 2014-11-17 6:05 AM
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MWoody
Posted 2014-11-17 7:46 AM (#500974 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
December 2003
Posts: 13835

Location: Upper Left USA
If it were on my project shelf...

I would plan a re-topping project.
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marenostrum
Posted 2014-11-17 11:22 AM (#500985 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
August 2007
Posts: 978

Location: Tuscany, Italy
I just recognized that pics of your 1868 are here. Forget my request on the other post.....
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-17 1:13 PM (#500993 - in reply to #500972)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2014-11-17 3:57 AM

Does anybody know of some good plastic material that will adhere strongly to lyrachord? It looks like I'll need to make a shim to fit between the bowl and the top...

jamesholl's got it right. DanSavage! HELP...
Oh, yeah...I remember DanSavage talking about the different lyrachord bowls...I'd better go back and look at the "1619-4 Rebuild" thread for a refresher course on "O" bowls...here goes nothing!


Quite an undertaking, Arumako.

Personally, I would not use a 'plastic' as a shim. I would use G10, which is an industrial-grade fiberglass sheet. It comes in different thicknesses. The thinnest G10 I've seen is .08mm. (1/32")

For gluing the G10 to the bowl and top, I would use Loctite Hysol 9462. It's an aerospace-grade epoxy. It glues wood, plastic, fiberglass (epoxy & polyester), metal, etc. It's temperature range is -65° to 250° F and is impact-resistant. It's the strongest glue I've ever used and forms a nearly unbreakable bond.

Remember that Lyrachord is simply the trade name used by Ovation for the fiberglass bowls. The hand-laid bowls are epoxy-based and use woven cloth. The SMC bowls are polyester-based and use fiberglass roving.

To bond either one, you'll need to make a purely mechanical bond since the resin has already fully cured. Chemical bonds with resin can only be made if it is not fully cured. (polymers not fully cross-linked) Once the polymers are cross-linked, then you can only scuff the surface to give the new glue some tooth.

Dan

Edited by DanSavage 2014-11-17 1:21 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-17 6:07 PM (#501001 - in reply to #500974)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
MWoody - 2014-11-17 5:46 AM

If it were on my project shelf...

I would plan a re-topping project.


Yep. If the top requires a lot of pressure to keep it in contact with the kerfing, that might be the best solution in the long run.
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-17 9:19 PM (#501008 - in reply to #500993)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
DanSavage - 2014-11-17 3:13 AM

Quite an undertaking, Arumako.

Personally, I would not use a 'plastic' as a shim. I would use G10, which is an industrial-grade fiberglass sheet. It comes in different thicknesses. The thinnest G10 I've seen is .08mm. (1/32")

For gluing the G10 to the bowl and top, I would use Loctite Hysol 9462. It's an aerospace-grade epoxy. It glues wood, plastic, fiberglass (epoxy & polyester), metal, etc. It's temperature range is -65° to 250° F and is impact-resistant. It's the strongest glue I've ever used and forms a nearly unbreakable bond.

Remember that Lyrachord is simply the trade name used by Ovation for the fiberglass bowls. The hand-laid bowls are epoxy-based and use woven cloth. The SMC bowls are polyester-based and use fiberglass roving.

To bond either one, you'll need to make a purely mechanical bond since the resin has already fully cured. Chemical bonds with resin can only be made if it is not fully cured. (polymers not fully cross-linked) Once the polymers are cross-linked, then you can only scuff the surface to give the new glue some tooth.

Dan

Thanks for commenting DanSavage. The wealth of knowledge and experience you bring to every BFLG discussion are just priceless. Reading your comments and analysis always brings perspective and direction that would otherwise be unattainable...which puts you up there in the clouds beyond "Master Luthier" and into the realm of "Luthier-Guru!"

So, I'll need to take a look to see if any of these materials are available here in Japan. If not, I'll need to have them sent from the States. I am considering the top change that MWoody also suggested, but it looks like I'll first need to restore the SSBs dimensions and verify structural integrity before I worry about the top. I've got a really nice Sakura (Japanese Cherry) wood blank that I'm planning on using when I change the top on my CC54i next summer, but I think spruce or cedar would be more appropriate for this 1868. The only thing that really worries me about changing the top on an Elite (a scenario I'll eventually have to face when I work on my CC54i) is clamping. I'd need to make some jig that will enable me to clamp the top to the bowl, bridge to the top, and neck to the body assembly. When the back is round, it all seems pretty intimidating because there is no "C-clamp friendly" centrally located sound hole!

Right about now, I'm feeling like Pooh-bear, "think, think, think..."

Edited by arumako 2014-11-17 9:22 PM
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seesquare
Posted 2014-11-17 11:30 PM (#501010 - in reply to #501008)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
November 2002
Posts: 3131

Location: Pacific Northwest Inland Empire
Three words.......surgical rubber tubing. Takes care of the "C-clamp-friendly" issue. Makes everything line up, too. Whether it wants to, or not.
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-18 9:27 AM (#501019 - in reply to #501010)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

seesquare - 2014-11-17 1:30 PM

Three words.......surgical rubber tubing. Takes care of the "C-clamp-friendly" issue. Makes everything line up, too. Whether it wants to, or not.


Ah ha, thanks seesquare! I've seen pictures with guitar tops wrapped up in some rubbery looking mess! I never would have guessed - surgical rubber tubing! Very cool! Now this is starting to get interesting. I found out that the Mini-Mother has a new 1868 bridge that I can buy...must be some kind of divine direction or something...

For now, I wrapped my Elite in (not the surgical tubing, but the more common) rubber band, ha! Had a bunch in different sizes just laying around. I know it's a long shot, but I was hoping the banding force my encourage the top to straighten out just a little. In this condition, the neck angle seems to be perfect, but I'll still probably need to perform a very minor neck reset, because the bridge saddle slot was routed too deeply (thank God for bolt on necks).

rubberband

I think I'll leave her this way until the G10 material arrives. Loctite Hysol 9462 is sold in Japan, but because of its "industrial" designation, they will sell it to businesses and licensed individuals only! I'll need to order it from the States! Anyway, thanks for all the valuable BFLG input! I really appreciate it! Now to source, order and wait for the materials to arrive...patience is a good thing...

The rubber bands kind of give my Elite an Eddie Van Halen-ish flair!



Edited by arumako 2014-11-18 9:40 AM
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FlySig
Posted 2014-11-18 10:30 AM (#501025 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3739

Location: Utah
A couple of thoughts.

Your current top needs to be significantly changed due to warping and the bowl being trimmed. Wetting the wood might be worth trying, and if it ends up worse, it doesn't matter because it is not usable the way it is now.

Could you cut down the rest of the bowl to match the part which was trimmed? So rather than trying to get some material to stick to the damaged part of the bowl you could instead trim the rest of it down. You'd then have a SSSB.

You may be able to make (or buy from the service department) a suspension ring? The ring does raise the top a small amount compared to the same bowl without the ring. It may be easier to glue the top down to the suspension ring than to the damaged bowl or even to a repaired bowl.

When it comes to gluing the bridge on a new top, you could dry fit the top but don't glue it down yet to the bowl. If the top fits snugly into the bowl it won't move, and you can accurately place the bridge. Once you get it measured and mark the top, remove the top and glue the bridge on. Then you can glue the top to the bowl.

It looks like a big job ahead for you on this one. Good luck!
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-18 11:24 AM (#501026 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Rubber bands work good, too.

You can get G-10 and 9462 online from McMaster-Carr. (mcmaster.com) I'm not sure if they ship to Japan, but it's worth checking.

Loctite adhesives: http://www.mcmaster.com/#high-strength-adhesives/=unexl8

For some jobs, the dispenser gun and mixing nozzles work really well and are worth the money.

G-10: http://www.mcmaster.com/#grade-g-10-phenolic/=uney8h
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tpa
Posted 2014-11-18 12:48 PM (#501031 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 406

Location: Denmark
Since the neck seems bolt-on it could make sense trying to disassemble neck/top/bowl.
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tpa
Posted 2014-11-18 1:56 PM (#501038 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 406

Location: Denmark
Regarding the saddle slot in the bridge being too deep you could also just glue in a piece of wood of suitable quality and thickness to form a new bottom on correct depth. Then you will not risk the top finish in trying to remove the old bridge.
If you find a glue/surface preparation that will stick to the inner side of the bowl you can make a new surface to glue the top to by making a kerfing based on a profile that matches the shallow cowl and the top. This will be easier if the top can be removed, but this removel has other challenges.

http://jcclarkukuleles.wordpress.com/my-guitarmaker-articles/making...

Edited by tpa 2014-11-18 2:07 PM
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seesquare
Posted 2014-11-18 2:34 PM (#501039 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
November 2002
Posts: 3131

Location: Pacific Northwest Inland Empire
That's an excellent suggestion, tpa! Glue in the kerfing strips, to the original bowl/top specs, and glue a new top to the "raised" kerfing, then route a-bit-wider binding channel, glue on the new binding, & "nobody's-the-wiser"!
As they say, "Run it up the flagpole, & see who salutes"
Best of luck there, arumako. Our collective opinion, & a dollar, may get you some cheap glue!!
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-19 10:27 AM (#501064 - in reply to #501039)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
seesquare - 2014-11-18 4:34 AM

...Best of luck there, arumako. Our collective opinion, & a dollar, may get you some cheap glue!!

Thanks seesquare, and everybody else for the valuable input! It's all going to get me more than cheap glue! It's going to get me a restored 1868 Elite! I really like the wood kerfing idea! That should be pretty easy to make. The only issue (for me, anyway) will be to make sure the kerfing adhere's to the bowl and top adequately. I'll definitely need to get the hysol 9462 (thanks for the link DanSavage). But I also like the idea of the suspension ring. I think I'm going to see if the Mini-Mother has one available that they can send along with the bridge.

One of the advantages of the neglect that this guitar has gone through is that the original epoxy has become quite brittle. With a sharp chisel, the epoxy is just flaking off. That probably means that the guitar is really in need of a sound board upgrade with fresh adhesives, and the sound board should be pretty easy to take off. Removing the neck and top make it easier to repair the bowl; and if I get a suspension ring, I'll need to take the top off anyway.

Taking the top off will also give me the opportunity to see if the top will flatten out. I can sandwich the top between some flat aluminum sheets - applying steady heat and some humidity should flatten out the top real nicely. If not, bear claw spruce? This is getting interesting...thanks again for all the valuable advice!

Edited by arumako 2014-11-19 10:29 AM
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marenostrum
Posted 2014-11-19 11:51 AM (#501069 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
August 2007
Posts: 978

Location: Tuscany, Italy
Dan, is this the adhesive you are talking about ...?
http://www.ebay.it/itm/Loctite-Hysol-9462-Aeropoxy-/321436112051?pt...
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-19 1:18 PM (#501071 - in reply to #501069)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA

maremagnum - 2014-11-19 9:51 AM

Dan, is this the adhesive you are talking about ...?
http://www.ebay.it/itm/Loctite-Hysol-9462-Aeropoxy-/321436112051?pt=UK_ToysGames_RadioControlled_JN&hash=item4ad715d4b3


Yep. That's the one.

I forgot that to use it you do need to dispenser gun, or at least a 1.69ml 1:1 plunger to squeeze the glue out of the tubes.

See:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#high-strength-adhesives/=unyuof

http://www.mcmaster.com/#74695a71/=unyuaz

The mixer nozzles aren't necessary unless you're intending to lay out a long bead of adhesive. If you do decide to get some mixer nozzles, make sure they're the long nozzles as the short nozzles don't adequately mix the two parts of the epoxy.

 

 



Edited by DanSavage 2014-11-19 1:22 PM
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-24 8:51 AM (#501205 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

I had a day off today, and made some progress on disassembling my 1868 Elite... found some interesting things as I progressed.

tape

I love these bolt on necks. This one came off clean and easy, BUT...notice the masking tape, strange. The top has markings on it that said 1868-5. The soundboard was much thicker than I expected, about 3mm! I also noticed that there is another layer of wood under the spruce. Are all Elite's made that way?

neck joint

Lots of glue under the neck, and on the body where the fingerboard meets the soundboard, but I should be able to clean this up and get it to adhere to the top when I reassemble her.

bridge

Whoever worked on this guitar messed up the bridge pretty badly...routed right through the bridge and...

bridge body

Lots of epoxy to fill in the over routed bridge saddle slot. The router went through the black paint and into the spruce top in some spots...cringe factor! But, JB at the Mini Mother sent me a new walnut bridge saddle (he is just the nicest guy), so if I fill in the over routed area with epoxy or CA glue, I should be able to just glue the new bridge into place with out much fuss! 

soundboard

The top came off really clean too! The epoxy has become very brittle over the years making removal a slow, but simple task. I might even be able to re-use it...only...

concave

Now that the top is completely off of the bowl, the whole thing is concave! Weird! I was also wondering about an extra layer of wood that is apparently under the epaulets as shown in the next picture.

laminate

Are the Elite soundboards laminated under the epaulet area? The wood was very soft and I had to work really slowly to get this part off clean. You can tell by the change in the wood grain and color. Is this standard Elite design?

bowl

Finally, the bowl...the bowl is in good shape, but looking at the epoxy residue on the bowl. It is pretty clear to me that the top and bowl had flatness and fitting problems. I don't know if it was a factory issue or a failed restoration, or what, but when I measured the epoxy thickness between the bowl and the soundboard, there were variation in epoxy thickness. In some places the epoxy was 2mm thick, in other places it was too thin to measure. I know Ovations were notorious for the amount of epoxy used to adhere the bowl to the soundboard, but was this kind of variance seen in a lot of Ovation assemblies?

In any case, I'm really glad I was able to make some progress on this project. As usual, I sure would appreciate your comments and analysis. Oh yeah, as I was heating the bridge, the finish on my Elite bubbled up in a really small area around the bridge. It looks like if I heat the whole top, the paint will just peel right off, so if removing the paint will help the top flatten out, I might re-use the top and re-finish the whole thing! This is getting exciting!



Edited by arumako 2014-11-24 9:00 AM
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FlySig
Posted 2014-11-24 9:07 AM (#501207 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3739

Location: Utah
Looking good so far! I am impressed you were able to disassemble it without damage.
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Mark in Boise
Posted 2014-11-24 9:41 AM (#501210 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12534

Location: Boise, Idaho
Nice work! Regarding the extra piece of wood under the epaulets, I only know that the earliest Elites, the 1537s, had that extra piece of wood there. I don't know how long they continued doing that.
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tpa
Posted 2014-11-24 11:17 AM (#501215 - in reply to #501205)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 406

Location: Denmark
arumako - 2014-11-24 8:51 AM
Lots of glue under the neck, and on the body where the fingerboard meets the soundboard, but I should be able to clean this up and get it to adhere to the top when I reassemble her ... The top came off really clean too! The epoxy has become very brittle over the years making removal a slow, but simple task....

Somewhere I read that on the (older?) Adamas guitars this overlapping fretbord end was not fixed to the soundbord, but on cut-away guitars this part of the soundboard is probably relatively dead soundwise anyway. Regarding the brittleness - I suppose that there diferences in the long-term degradation of properties depending on type and brand. I am no specialist but I have the impression that short term properties are normally considered better for the slow and/or elevated temperature curing types.

I follow the work of You and DanSavage with admiration, pleasure and interest. Thank you for sharing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_%28mythology%29

Edited by tpa 2014-11-24 11:18 AM
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Mark in Boise
Posted 2014-11-24 12:52 PM (#501224 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12534

Location: Boise, Idaho
tpa is right, but the "floating fretboard" was also used on the first of the Elites. I don't know how long they continued to do that, either. When I saw the pictures with all the glue under the end of the fretboard, I thought someone might have tried to glue it down, thinking that it had pulled up. We've seen several examples of people trying to fix that on old Elites when it wasn't really broken. On the old ones, there should be a slight gap, probably credit card thickness.
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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2014-11-24 1:05 PM (#501228 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 9989

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
"Are the Elite soundboards laminated under the epaulet area?"
My 1735 is like that also...

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