Martin D-35 Fretboard and Bridge Replacement
A customer brought this Martin D-35 to us in desperate need of a new fretboard as well as a new bridge. The fretboard was in such bad shape that you could pull the existing frets out with your fingers!
First, we got started on making a new bridge. Here, you can see the original bridge and where the strings had been cutting into the wood. The saddle on this guitar bad been glued in as well, meaning we had to break it to remove it. This will make it a little more difficult to make a new one as the original can no longer be used as a template.
We were able to use the original bridge as a guide for the new one when sanding the shape and locating the string holes. The complex shaping, like this front slope, were finished by hand.
The bridge now matches all of the curves of the original and has properly located string holes. Now we just need to add in some finishing touches.
We beveled the string holes for the bridge pins here. It still needs a saddle slot but, we will do that later, once the bridge is in place.
We glued the bridge down to the body and used a specialty clamp to keep it in place and apply even pressure. Now it's time to start on the fretboard.
We removed all of the frets and started removing the binding. This will make the board easier to remove.
While it definitely needed to be replaced, we want to preserve this board as much as possible so we can use it to help fashion the new one.
Here is the new board next to the original. Looks like everything should line up just right once it is laying flat on the neck.
We installed the new frets, fret markers and binding on the board before attaching it to the neck. If something needed to be corrected, it is much easier to do without the rest of the guitar in the way.
We removed the fretboard from the neck, looks like everything else here is fine so, we'll clean the area before moving forward.
With the glue and debris cleared from the neck, we now have a clean surface to glue the new board to.
Now that the fretboard is setting, we can return to the bridge. We use our specially made routing guide to cut the new saddle slot.
Here you can see the new, completed bridge, next to the original. We will get a new saddle created and installed before moving forward.
There was also a small crack in the finish on the back of the guitar. After filing it with glue, we wet sanded over the area to smooth any rough spots.