Documenting history as well as my experiences with repairing and restoring vintage guitars.

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First I started with a blank of Indian Rosewood which had came from a beam that I bought, ripped into bridge blanks, and waxed the ends t...

Carving an Archtop Bridge

First I started with a blank of Indian Rosewood which had came from a beam that I bought, ripped into bridge blanks, and waxed the ends to prevent splitting. I took the original, fragile, ebonized wood bridge and traced an outline onto the block with a pencil. Then I used a knife to score along the lines to help make them more visible. 

I took the bridge to my bandsaw to rough cut along the marked lines and start on removing the material for the gap underneath the bridge. I also cut and sanded the bridge to the desired thickness of just a hair under 1/4". At this point I also marked the points on the bottom of the bridge where my screw posts are to be located. Then I placed the bridge upside down on my drill press and drilled both holes through the bridge stopping just short of going through the bridge as I don't want them to be visible through the top

Then I began to round off some of the corners, remove most of the wood for the bottom gap, and start to shape the bottom of the bridge to the top of my guitar. I shape the bridge to the guitar by placing a sheet of 80 or 120 grit sandpaper on the top, holding it in place, and running the bridge back and forth across it lengthwise. That removes just the right amount of material so the bridge fits perfectly on the top which helps transfer energy and resists side to side moving. I also run the bridge on my belt sander to start tapering the long edges towards the top like an isosceles trapezoid. 

Then I separated the pieces of the bridge by running it through my bandsaw. Notice the screw holes are perfectly aligned because I drilled before cutting the bridge. I've also begun to rough out the compensation for the strings and tapering the bridge even stronger towards the top to form a point

I've oiled the wood and begun to polish it to a shine starting with 220 grit and ending with 3000 grit dry sandpaper. While still in the rough grits, I lightly dampen the wood with water to raise the grain and sand it off to help achieve a super smooth finish. Then I begin adding oil by rubbing it on then off while continuing to sand. Rosewood takes oil very well and can be polished to a point where it looks shiny.

I use Dr Ducks Axe Wax for this purpose and general maintenance of my guitar fretboards

Here is the bridge sat atop my Harmony Rocket. I used the thumb wheels from the old bridge and some screw posts that I had lying around. Harmony anchored their posts into the top half of the bridge which I don't much like so I reversed it and anchored my posts into the base of the bridge, as is more common. This Indian Rosewood is pretty dark so I think it will match the Brazilian Rosewood fretboard quite well while also being a large structural improvement over the brittle, ebonized bridge.

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