A bit more than making a new bridge

This is my dad’s first and, if I’m not mistaken, only guitar.

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Its a Harmony archtop, probably from the mid 50’s.  Dad just told me he got it in third grade.  This has been moved around a bunch.  I had it for a few years and most recently my sister had it.  I just got it back with the intention of making a new bridge for it and cleaning it up a bit.  Turns out that it needed much more.

The neck dovetail was pulling out, which cracked the side.  I later found out it cracked the neck block as well.

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So I decided to see what I could do with it, both for experience, and so it was playable and not destined for the trash.  This was a first for me.  He’s what I did, in pictures:

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Well, that was exciting.  I used hot hide glue for all repairs.  I put the neck back on.  Nice and straight.

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Now on to making the new bridge, in pictures:

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The finish was pretty rough.  I could have spent a ton of time on it or even refinished it.  Not being a valuable instrument, I just did some minor touch ups.

It plays much better then it ever did.  The ridiculously high action that I always remembered is gone and it plays and sounds pretty well.

Glad I gave that a shot.

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Intermission for non guitar stuff

While my lacquer was curing for two weeks I took the opportunity to do a couple things around the house.

I installed an automatic gate opener for my drive way.  Of course I picked a particularly cold week to run 125′ of partially buried power cable and bug together a bunch of electrical connections.  Oh well… its done.  No pics.  Not that exciting, except to me, not having to get in and out of the car a few times every time I want to leave the house is a pleasure.

Another project on the back burner for about 2 years was restoring an old copper fixture that was original to my house.

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I guess when having electric lighting was a status symbol, this was probably extravagant with 16 bulbs in it. Originally in the dining room, the bulbs were facing down and exposed, and it hung about 8” off the ceiling. I ended up moving some fixtures around and replacing this with a much nicer chandelier from another room.  I decided to restore, then install the fixture upside down, so the leaves would show and drop it about 2′ off the ceiling.

About 2 years ago I pulled this out of the basement and took it apart. Most of the copper leaves needed to be resoldered where they met the center hub. I guess the weight over the years took its toll. That was about as far as I got.

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Yes, I use my buffing wheels in the paint booth.  Keeps the dust down.  I still wear a respirator though.

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The brass sockets are my favorite part.  No one will see them with its hung upside down, but they just don’t make parts like this anymore.  The Edison and other text makes it even better, besides how well made and solid they are.  Only rewiring some of the bulbs, there are an additional 8 short sockets that I didn’t polish up.  They are in a box with the remaining sockets if I need spare parts.

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The copper leaves came out well. They are definitely hand hammered.  Each one is a bit different.  Those creases are hard to get into, and they like to hold excess buffing compound.

Came out pretty well.  I only wired 4 sockets and it was still a pain in the butt and a tight fit.  Maybe I was a bit overzealous using 14 gauge to each bulb and a 12 gauge feed? Only used 40 watt bulbs and its almost too bright for me.  Guess I need a dimmer.

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House and holiday stuff

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Went to two parties last night.  One right across the street in a gorgeous house.  Talked local business with the hosts, the mayor and other folks.  Next party at my friends house.  Played upright bass with the other musicians there and drank German beer.  A little fuzzy this morning, such a lightweight  these days, snow shoveling helped.  Just got invited to a new years party by my local brewer friends, that should be fun.  Some people consider themselves social butterflies.  I’m starting to think of myself as a social moth.

Gotta knock some things out on the house so I can get moving on building my workshop in the basement.  Itching to make stuff…

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I saw these at a local antiques place a couple weeks ago, I researched a bit and thought the price was good thinking they were Stanleys. They were still there today so I got them. Mixed bag from 1/4” to 2”. A greenlee, two witherbys, two Samsons, a James swan, a Russell brothers and an unknown. I’ll have fun fixing these up. Will be a really nice set when I’m finished.