The next job was to repair the missing piece on the back. I found a suitable piece of birch and after gluing it to the back reshaped and blended in with round bottom plane. Then it was time to clean the back up around where the kerfing had been. The inside of the back had quite a few plane marks which I assume were original so I left them alone.
I then made a caul of particle board and used my go-bar deck to glue the back to the sides. I kept the sides in the mold to prevent distortion of the shape. After the glue had dried I used spool clamps to glue the top on. After being off the body for so long it had deformed a considerable amount. And I was afraid to use the go bar deck for fear of cracking the top again. I started at the head block and using a palette knife I worked my way around the top with glue and clamps until I was satisfied with the alignment The top had divots in line with the braces also, I believe, due to the top being off the body for so long and from the previous luthier sanding and thinning the top before it was put together.
An interesting fact is that the neck was put on the body before the top was installed. The top had never been cut for the dovetail. It seems that the designers at Gibson weren’t yet thinking of some guy 85 years in the future still wanting to play the guitar. Since I was trying to make it a player, I cut the dovetail through, so that the neck could be reset in the future.
I modified my binding cutter jig to accept the arch (I normally do flat tops) and cut the channels. Luckily the scroll channels were intact and I didn’t have the misery of cutting those. I used the same pieces of particle board that I cut for the cauls for the back to keep the body stable while I routed the channels Before I cut them I sized the wood around the channels with watered down white glue to help keep the brittle wood from tearing out. A series of wedges served as clamps for the scroll and tape for the rest of gluing in the binding. After scraping the bindings I filled as many gaps as I could using sawdust, glue and a latex filler. I leveled everything off and sanded the body through 320 grit to prepare it for sealer.
Next week… The neck.