Recently I started using rare earth magnets to install cleats. They come in pretty handy in a couple of ways. One is that you can use a pair of them to hold a bunch of cleats in place for 10 - 15 minutes or so. This allows you to get all of the cleates lined up and spaced correctly. Then the glue is starting to set up and you can clamp the cleats without them slipping out of position.
You can even use magnets to install cleats from the outside especially for back seams or other back cracks. Possible even cracks or center seams on the top of cellos or basses would be possible if needed. These are the steps.
Make the cleats all the same size.
Drill a small hole in the center of the cleat
Soak in water for a while until they are flexible
Use a very stiff wire and bend it so that when the cleat is placed through the ff hole, the cleat will be is the correct position.
Poke the wire into the hole and leave a little bit protruding through the cleat. This little bit allows you to slide the cleat without getting glue around.
Put woodworking glue onto the cleat.
Slip one magnet onto the wire. Using two becomes a little unwieldy.
Slip a piece of tubing onto the wire.
Fish your cleat assembly through the ff hole.
It's easier to put cleats on the back of a cello or bass, but with a little practice you can put them on the top and the ribs.
When putting magnetic cleats on the top or the ribs you can steer them with an outside magnet.
Once you have the cleat in place have the outside magnet in place and push the magnet that's on the wire into place using the tubing.
At this point you can add extra magnets on the outside and remove the wire.
This takes a little bit of practice but eventually you will get the hang of it.
Note: Don't try to put the cleats too close together because the magnets will easily jump to the closest cleat. It's better to space them 10 or 12 inches apart and then the next day put cleats in between at 5 or 6 inches.
These are not the best cleats, but they really hold the crack together.
Then next time someone takes the top off they can simply remove and replace these magnetic cleats with some properly fitted ones.
IMG 20230413 115759 153
IMG 20230413 115825 644
IMG 20230413 115953 537
IMG 20230413 120031 777
IMG 20230413 120105 439
IMG 20230413 120159 176
The one drawback is the good magnets are a little expensive and can be a little dangerous. Usually I store them in a stack, so you need to be cautious getting them apart or putting them back together because they slam into each other. I was cleating the back of a cello and the cello was suspended above my cello bench. I had the cleat being held down with two magnets. I couldn't slip the cleat the couple of mm that I wanted, so I decided to take the magnets off. Taking the magnet off the cleat caused the magnet under the cello to fall. You would think it would have fallen straight down and hit one of the clamps, but no, it actually jumped laterally about 4 inches and slammed into one of the other magnets that was holding down another cleat. The magnet just shattered into 4 pieces.