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Old December 2nd, 2012, 01:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Looking for advice on filling a trem cavity

This guitar is a start copy with some sort of terrible no name locking type tremolo. The tremolo doesn't work, and makes the guitar no playable. I'd like to fill the cavity and install a fixed bridge.

I've never made this type of repair. My thoughts were to either route the cavity into a rectangle, or use hand tools, maybe chisel and sand paper to clean up the cavity.

Here's a few pictures:
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 01:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In case there's any interest, here's a couple close ups the tremolo. This some weird off brand knock off of a Khaler/Floyd Rose. If it were functioning correctly I don't think it would work very well. As is it doesn't function at all. There two springs connected to the underside of the bridge, these are anchored to a tab of metal at the front coming off the frame. The metal was too soft and over time was pulled toward the springs. This leaves the bridge too far forward all the time, as if you were holding the bar all the time.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 04:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Route a mm deeper, and make it into a rectangle.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 04:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Those trems were common on cheaper imports back in the 80's. I have de kahlerized a few bodies over the years. I'd first make a template to rout out a square or rectangle around the trem rout. Using a template bit and the template, I'd clean it out. Then I'd make a plug out of similar wood with grain running in the same direction as the body, that was a hair taller than the rout itself, and I'd glue it in with yellow glue. The only difficult part is sanding the outside radii of the plug by hand to perfectly match the cavity inside corners. After the glue dries, I'd use a small plane and scraper to level the plug down. A good looking decal covered the routs in a many cases. In some cases, I actually routed right into the pickup cavity to have only 3 existing plug glue lines instead of 4.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 02:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Finally getting back to this project. I routed the cavity, which was easier than I expected. I made a template, used some double sided tape to stick it to the body, and routed with a 1/2" bit.

I cut a piece of alder a little larger than the cavity, and spent the afternoon slowly sanding it to fit. It's a tight fit. The gap is hair thin. I can snug the plug into the cavity with little pressure.

Any suggestions on glue? I could use a CA type glue or a tight bond type glue. I feel the wood glue would be a good choice and fill the gaps, but the fit is so tight it might make it hard to get the plug in after spread glue on the edges. I thought about watering the glue down some?
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Old January 15th, 2013, 02:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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nononono, just titebond. Studies show it works fine. A tight fit will still work! just A)use your finger or something to put a thin layer of glue on the block, and glue on the sides and bottom of the cavity. It will work great, trust me! Great repair, I may have to do that one day!
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Old January 15th, 2013, 06:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yellow is all you need. Then you can use some sort of filler or gap filling superglue on the gap that remains. Then use a peel and stick pin up or STP or Bardahl sticker on top of it if you prefer.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If its super tight then just sand a bit off the edges before you stick it in. Wood glue is what you want
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Old January 15th, 2013, 08:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would use Titebond original................but Titebond does make a white glue that dries clear. Do not use CA or a Gorilla brand glue
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Old January 15th, 2013, 10:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Listen to guitarbuilder.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 11:16 AM   #11 (permalink)
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No, listen to Crazydave.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 02:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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No, listen to Crazydave.
As if it isn't the same thing
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