reattatch plastic bridge

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Karl Wicklund
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reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Karl Wicklund »

A student brought me a super low-end uke. Bridge placement seems fine, and the action is reasonable, but the bridge has lifted. It may not have even been glued down, only held with screws. If there was glue, it went on over the finish, and didn't demonstrate much holding power.

I'll see this girl tomorrow, but with Covid19 having closed our schools, I don't know when I'll see her next. It's unplayable now, and she wants something to play on this extended break. She understands this isn't a great instrument; it's one that would be playable until she raises funds for something better. She is clear that I am not a professional, and that this whole thing could go south.

If my shop were unpacked, I'd knock out a new wood bridge, scrape the top, and glue it on. As it is, I need to fasten down the original plastic bridge. It is a dense plastic that sands almost like wood when I scuffed it up. It reminds me a little of bakelite.

On hand I've got titebond, gorilla glue, CA, and (though I'd have to dig it out) hide glue. Which would you use?

Thanks!
Kaptain Karl

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Peter Wilcox »

For now I would just screw it back down again, either with the original screws and glued toothpicks in the holes if they're stripped, or larger screws, or machine screws if you can get your hand, pliers or a wrench in there to hold the nuts.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

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Bob Gramann
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Bob Gramann »

Peter got in before I did with the same solution: Why not screw it back on (with a nut and washer on the inside, if necessary) and make her a proper bridge and attach it appropriately when you can get back together?

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Karl Wicklund
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Karl Wicklund »

I'll try the toothpicks. The top is pretty soft, splintery plywood. The screws have torn most of the way out, and I had sort of shrugged them off. I may have time to get the holes plugged and the screws re-installed. If I had smaller fingers, or if the correct tools were accessible, I'd try a tiny nut and washer. The original screws are installed through the recess where the strings tie through.

OK, thanks again for getting my head out of a rut.
Kaptain Karl

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

On a guitar where I am trying a lot of things I haven't done before, I glued a pinless bridge on with CA on top of the finish. So far it has held up fine. I considered what would happen if it fails, and I am thinking worst case scenario it may take some finish with with it if it goes. For a plastic bridge on a cheap ukulele I might consider using it in addition to fixing the screws that failed.

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Karl Wicklund
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Karl Wicklund »

I partially plugged the holes with toothpick slivers, replaced the ugly little screws and handed it to my student. She’s off and running. Er, off and strumming.
Kaptain Karl

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Glad it worked out for now. She should be an expert in the next few weeks.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

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Karl Wicklund
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Re: reattatch plastic bridge

Post by Karl Wicklund »

We should all be experts !
Kaptain Karl

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