These feather-weight (less than .8g), thin (.055), super strong cleats are the heart of this new system. Combined with installation cauls and strong magnets, they allow you to glue both the crack and the cleat in one operation. Once everything is located and aligned, the cleat can be installed perfectly in less than 60 seconds, making hide glue a viable option. The grain is oriented at an angle (matching that of prewar tone bars), which is about the only thing they have in common with their earlier predecessors, the diamond and disk cleats. If you ever need to uninstall the cleat, it can quickly be removed (if glued with hide glue, other glues will take longer) by laying a warm damp sponge on it. Within a few minutes, you’ll be able to lift the cleat out. Any residual hide glue can be removed with warm water and a small sponge.
You may want to map out the location of top braces until you get the hang of this new tool. I use magnets to make this job more interesting and fun. Tape a piece of masking paper (available in paint dept. at the Home Despot, etc) on top of the guitar. Then, using a magnet inside and a matching magnet on the outside, move them around, bumping up against all braces and marking location on paper until you can connect all the dots. When finished, mark paper with make and year of instrument, roll it up and store it for future reference.
This kit is designed for truly flattop instruments. It is not meant for guitars that have greater arching in the top, such as many early Gibson guitars.
Since the invention of the acoustic guitar, we (flattop/back repair peeps) haven’t had a crack repair method that was designed for and suited to our needs. Thanks to the advent and availability of neodymium (extra strong type of rare earth) magnets, now we do. Previously we had adapted and adopted the diamond and disk cleat method commonly used and ideal on carved orchestral instruments. Unfortunately, it is not ideally suited to our needs. We can’t just pop a top or back off and on! We make every effort to install cleats straight and on the crack, but even if we succeed, we are only reinforcing one small section of the crack at a time. As each short section of cleat dries in place, we often see shrinkage in the reflection in top (?) where each cleat is located.