For a while, I solved some of these issues by bolting the bridge (using temporary bolts of course) and then using deep reach clamps to do the rest. This helped, but there had to be a simpler way to handle this.
My answer was to make a clamp that not only would line the bridge up properly, but it would do a great job clamping it as well – without the need for one additional clamp. My answer was the Acoustic Guitar Bridge Clamp. There are many luthiers that have their own version of this clamp and there are commercially available version too, but you can make your own, just like I have.
How to Use The Clamp:
The clamp is really easy to use and it is fast!
First, make sure that your bridge is completely finished. The shape should be finalized, the thickness set and the ramps should be completed. Also make sure you have completed the bridge pin holes. You shouldn’t rout the saddle channel though. That should be done upon completion of gluing the bridge in place. Be sure you use our Bridge Saddle Routing Jig for that too.
after you have drilled the holes in the guitar top, which align the bridge pin holes, it is time to use the clamp.
Place your glue on the bridge and the guitar top plate. Carefully set the bridge in place and align the holes with the outer bridge pin holes. Next insert the stove bolts (or carriage boles) and lightly fasten with wing nuts. Don’t forget to place flat washer both underneath and on top of the jig.
Now back out the bridge ramp clamp screws. place the ramp clamping cauls into place and lightly secure each side of the bridge.
Now all that is left to do is to progressively tighten the pin bolts first and then the ramp screws until you have good glue squeeze out all the way around the bridge. You can apply a fair amount of pressure to the bolts without worry. I even use a wrench to tighten the wing nuts. You could choose to use knurled knobs in place of the wing nuts.
One of the greatest things about this setup is the cleanup procedure. Because everything is confined to the bridge footprint or less, you can easily access the entire perimeter of the bridge with a small chisel. You can peal the excess glue off easily and then come back with a rag and do final cleanup.