So, every once in a while, a repair comes along that proves to be a real challenge.  This one definitely falls into that category.  It also reminds me that I still really enjoy repair work!  Last post, I pulled the bridge and neck off, and basically started mentally preparing for some serious crack repair.  I had to put a good amount of thought into how to tackle the big top crack.  It was open to the point that it just was not going to close up all the way.  Plus, it had been cleated on the inside from a prior repair attempt that failed.  The cleats at this point, were holding the crack more in an open position rather than holding it shut.  I thought about removing the cleats, but decided to use them to my advantage.  I think that attempting to remove them would have just caused more damage anyway.  Aside from all the repair work, I'm also realizing that the best option is just to refinish the top.  The finish is really thin, and touching it up, especially with the top being as dark as it has become, would make for some messy touchup work.  My last observation so far: the top is quite thin!  I'm a little surprised at how thin it is actually.  I generally shoot for around .105"-.115" depending on material and stiffness.  I'm thinking that this top is somewhere in the .085" range.  It flexes a LOT when I press on it, and has deformed a good bit from the years of string tension, and of course heat/dryness damage.  So, it's going to make for some very delicate refinish work.  I'm keeping the sanding to a bare minimum.  It's slow going, but I think it's going to look fantastic when all done.  Check out the pics below...  

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