Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

IconProjects, musings about guitar builds, guitar repairs, vintage tube amplifiers, old radios, travel, home renovation, and other stuff.

Installing a New Handle on a Vintage Instrument Case

Now I can start the process of putting the new handle on.

I've gotten a bit better at this, but it's still tricky.

It's easy enough to use the rivet setting tool to open up and flatten the split tabs in the rivet.  The hard part is that the rivet naturally wants to slide backward as you pound on it.

This time, I clamped a piece of wood over the head to hold it down.  You can see that caul held in by a clamp.

It worked okay, but the head drove into the wood, so I switched over to a piece of metal which worked much better.  Usually you'd do this on an anvil, but that's too awkward on this job.

In the picture, I'm holding the rivet tool, but you of course use a hammer to drive the thing in.

Here are the rivets after driving them in.

You may recall in the last post I said I hacked up the plywood some.  On the right side rivet in this picture, you can see where I glued in a small piece of wood to fill the hole.  The rivet tabs need to have enough material to 'lock' on to, so I patched that hole .

Not perfect, but they're tight and functional.

Now we apply some contact cement to put the lining back on.

And clamp it down with C-clamps and some cauls.

I now have a small box full of cauls for guitar repair...and case repair.  It's nice to just grab one and put it to use.

Note the scrap wood cauls on the outside of the case too - we don't want to mark that up after all this work.

The bracket for the handle from the outside.

I polished up the hardware.  Now it looks presentable.  I used nickel-plated rivets to match the hardware.

Isn't this better than using a nut and bolt?  I think so.

Here's the inside showing the reglued lining.  The lining's pretty worn, but it's still functional.

The lining on the bottom the case is very thin.  So thin, in fact, that the ukulele's tuners have rubbed through it in a couple spots in the headstock area.  So I cut a foam pad to fit it so it won't rub there.

I covered it with some vintage-looking green felt using contact cement to adhere it to the foam.

I'm going to make a couple more foam pads to stick around the curved part of the case too.

Here's the Gibson TU back in the case.  You can see some gaps around the ukulele - I'll make more felt-covered pieces to put in there.

The finished handle repair.  This is a 'sausage-shaped' handle I got from Elderly Instruments.  Looks appropriately 'vintage' for the case I think.

You can get replacement handles that will just buckle onto the case hardware, but I think a proper handle looks much better.


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