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How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...

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DanSavage
Posted 2017-08-11 8:10 PM (#537044)
Subject: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Here's a common problem we all have with the Ovation A/E pick-ups: String dents.

I've found that this is really easy to fix so the saddle portion of the pick-up is like brand-new again.

First, you'll need to contact John Budny at the MS to ask him to send you some of these. This is the plastic saddle portion of the saddle/pick-up.

In this thread I'll show how I replace the old saddle with these new ones. It's really easy.

Step 1: Use an Xacto blade to gently pry the old saddle out of the pick-up.



You want to start at one end and insert the edge of the blade into the space between the end of the saddle and the black plastic filler piece, then pry it out peeling the saddle away from the inside of the pick-up.

The saddle is glued to the pick-up with what looks like white silicone caulking which has just enough grip on the plastic saddle to keep it in place, but not so much that it takes a Herculean effort to separate the two.

In fact, the fit is so good that you could pry the old one out, pop a new one into place, then string it up and play it.

Once the saddle is out of the pick-up, this is what you'll see. The gold-ish pieces are the actual piezo crystals.



DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE ANY OF THE WHITE SILICONE.

The wires connecting the crystals are very delicate and you are almost guaranteed to pop a crystal off its mount as you peel the silicone off it. It's not necessary to remove any silicone as you'll soon see.



Spread some white silicone across the top of the old silicone. Make sure to get an even layer across the whole pick-up.



Push the new saddle down into the pick-up. Wipe up any excess that squeezes out, then lightly clamp the pick-up at both ends. All you're doing with the clamps is to keep the saddle firmly squeezed against the tops of the crystals, so you don't want to apply too much pressure. Now just leave it to sit overnight.



In order to make sure the bottom of the pick-up makes even contact with the floor of the slot in the bridge, I use some naptha to remove the mfr label.

The pick-up is ready to be put back into service. I put rebuilt pick-ups on Daren's 1528 and Ken's 1612. By all accounts they're working just dandy.

Did I mention that the saddles come in white, and black?

 



Edited by DanSavage 2017-08-11 8:30 PM
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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2017-08-11 8:29 PM (#537045 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Rebuild OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 10370

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
Kewel
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arumako
Posted 2017-08-11 8:42 PM (#537046 - in reply to #537045)
Subject: Re: How To: Rebuild OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Old Man Arthur - 2017-08-11 10:29 AM

Kewel

+1! You did that for my 1612 too, didn't you? I must say, it is very effective indeed, and an excellent way to salvage a perfectly good OCP-1K! These little tidbits are just so helpful! Thanks Dan!
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-08-11 8:44 PM (#537047 - in reply to #537046)
Subject: Re: How To: Rebuild OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2017-08-11 6:42 PM

Old Man Arthur - 2017-08-11 10:29 AM

Kewel

+1! You did that for my 1612 too, didn't you? I must say, it is very effective indeed, and an excellent way to salvage a perfectly good OCP-1K! These little tidbits are just so helpful! Thanks Dan!


Yes. In fact, that's your pick-up in the photos.

Well, except for the one with the broken piezo. I'm going to fix that and get it back into service. Someday.

You're welcome!

Edited by DanSavage 2017-08-11 8:47 PM
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leonardmccoy
Posted 2017-08-12 12:59 PM (#537049 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
December 2015
Posts: 260

Location: Katmandu
I find the silicon step to be unnecessary. My preowned Ovation Legend came with a rather loose saddle anyway which I could slide off to either side of the pickup unit. I'm not sure that's the way the come these days. The black pins on either side I could also easily lift up. The saddle will be firmly in place whether or not you use silicon as in-between sandwich filler.
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-08-13 7:41 PM (#537060 - in reply to #537049)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
The saddles are usually glued into place, not loose like yours. In addition to attaching the saddle to the pick-up, I think the silicone also protects the wires connecting the crystals.

Yep, you could omit the silicone when replacing the saddle. Once the strings are brought up to tension, the saddle isn't going anywhere. I'll probably keep using it, just because that's how the MS does it.

Edited by DanSavage 2017-08-13 7:42 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-18 1:25 AM (#546623 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: RE: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Okay...

So...

Here's another problem with the OCP-1K -- poor intonation, especially at the low E and A strings.

Luckily, there is a solution -- 3D printing. First, a little back story.

After completing my 1778T(orrefied), also known as my Frankenvation, I was pleasantly surprised that the intonation was nearly perfect across all six strings. This is a result of the slanted-slot bridge (thank you, Beal!) and a compensated saddle.

Below is a photo showing the difference in the saddle breaks between the OCP-1K and the later slimline saddle. Generally, the Ovation steel string guitars have a scale of 25.25". This places the front of the bridge at 25" from the back of the nut.

So, both of the bridges would be glued to the same place on the top. As you can see there is a significant difference in the saddle breaks on the two bridges.

 

I measured the distance from the front of the bridge to the saddle break for each string on the slimline saddle, then designed a replacement OCP-1K saddle that placed the saddle breaks as close as possible to the slimline saddle. I was able to relocated all of the strings except the low E to the same distance as the slimline.

Here's a table showing the measured differences. What this shows is that the low E and A is out of tonation by over an 1/8", which is a bunch. =O

Slimline
EADGBe
.56".50".43".40".46".33"
OCP-1K
.38".35".35".35".35".29"
Difference
.18".15".08".05".11".04"

And, here's the 3D model of new, compensated saddle. The low E is closest to the camera.

I sent the file off to the 3D printers and got them back today. I ordered a copy using two different printing materials. Both are nylon. The white, already installed in the pick-up, is a little lower resolution and a little courser surface. The black, sitting on the desk next to the original Ovation saddle, is higher resolution with a smoother surface.

I installed the new compensated saddle into my Book Elite and I can report that this experiment is a smashing success! The guitar now plays in tune up and down the neck on all the strings, just like my Frankenvation and I couldn't be more thrilled. The low E is a few cents out at the 12th fret, but that is very, very minor.

I'm going to play this saddle for a few days, then swap it out for the black one so I can hear if there's any difference to the white one.



Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-18 1:43 AM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2019-01-18 10:17 AM (#546630 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1090

Location: What week?
Dan, I'm thankful that guys like you were busy inside earning tech merit badges when guys like me were out smoking in the parking lot, because without you we'd all be lost today! Duct tape and bailing wire will only get us just so far.

About the two materials for each saddle-- does a higher surface resolution also mean a higher density throughout the entire piece than on the lower resolution copy? If so, I'd think there would be a difference when you switch. Maybe not so much to the open ear, but definitely a technically measurable difference.

Edited by Love O Fair 2019-01-18 10:18 AM
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DarenSavage
Posted 2019-01-18 10:19 AM (#546631 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: RE: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...


Joined:
December 2016
Posts: 98

Shut up and take my money! Where do I sign up?! JK!

I'm looking forward to hearing the result of your testing. If you need another lucky test subject, I happen to have a Custom Ultra... Heh heh!
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-18 11:46 AM (#546633 - in reply to #546630)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Love O Fair - 2019-01-18 8:17 AM

About the two materials for each saddle-- does a higher surface resolution also mean a higher density throughout the entire piece than on the lower resolution copy? If so, I'd think there would be a difference when you switch. Maybe not so much to the open ear, but definitely a technically measurable difference.


Not really. They are just two different formulations of nylon powder. The white powder produces a slightly rougher finish, but it's just as strong as the black. The black just ends up being smoother after printing.

In this particular application, the surface texture doesn't affect the performance of the part in any way.

If you'd like more details, visit the following pages:

Versatile Plastic - Also known as Strong and Flexible, Nylon Plastic, PA12, Polyamide (white)

Professional Plastic - Also know as HP Nylon Plastic, Nylon Plastic, PA12, Polyamide (black)



Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-18 11:49 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-18 11:51 AM (#546635 - in reply to #546631)
Subject: RE: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
DarenSavage - 2019-01-18 8:19 AM

Shut up and take my money! Where do I sign up?! JK!

I'm looking forward to hearing the result of your testing. If you need another lucky test subject, I happen to have a Custom Ultra... Heh heh!


Ha ha!

I'll probably change out the saddle tomorrow. I've been playing the Book Elite and I think I've got a pretty good idea of how it sounds.

Afterward I'll make the models saleable and you can order one directly from Shapeways.

I did plug it in and all six strings sound fine through the amp. I was concerned that the low E might not be pushing down hard enough on the piezo to get a good signal, but that is not the case. It sounds as strong as the other five strings.


Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-18 11:53 AM
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arumako
Posted 2019-01-18 6:25 PM (#546647 - in reply to #546631)
Subject: RE: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan
DarenSavage - 2019-01-18 12:19 AM

Shut up and take my money! Where do I sign up?!

+1!
Dan, you the man! Can I get some shipped to Japan?
How does the nylon material sound compared to bone or TUSQ?
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FlySig
Posted 2019-01-18 8:29 PM (#546649 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3844

Location: Utah
Ok, I'm in. I have to tune my low E strings flat so that the fretted G is in tune with the 3rd string. Fixing the intonation would be welcome.
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2wheeldrummer
Posted 2019-01-18 9:10 PM (#546651 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
February 2014
Posts: 477

Location: moline,illinois
Dan that's really great work,I'm surprised Ovation has this kind of issue with all the tech that they put into there designs,I know on electric guitars you can adjust the saddles to correct intonation cool to see that a different saddle design will do the same for acoustics,
Have you ever put any O's on a strobe tuner to see how the intonation registers I'm thinking I need to get a Strobe and check some of my guitars to see how far there off.

You should order a couple dozen and mark the price up reasonably you deserve to profit from your ingenuity and I'd buy a couple at least



Edited by 2wheeldrummer 2019-01-18 9:12 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-19 12:57 AM (#546654 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: RE: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Okay...

So...

I couldn't wait until this weekend to try out the black saddle and I'm glad I swapped it out.

Al,
As you postulated, the smoother surface of the black translates into a denser final product. The tonal qualities of the black material is closer to the OEM plastic than the white. I'm making the white available for sale for those who want a white saddle. It still sounds really good, just slightly muted compared to the black.

Ken,
Yes, I believe that Shapeways will ship to Japan. If not, let me know and I will!

WRT to durability, the fused nylon is pretty tough. The black sounds closer to the OEM plastic than the white. I was curious how deep the string dents would be in the white and they don't look any worse than the OEM plastic.

FlySig,
Yeah, the intonation problem you're describing with the low-E is completley fixed with this saddle. And, not just the low-E, but also the A and B strings as well.

Kevin,
Ovation was aware of the problem, which is what lead to the slanted slimline bridge with compensated saddle. (Thanks you, Beal!) I can't say why they didn't apply the same sort of fix to the OCP-1K. Yes, as a matter of fact, I did put these on a strobe tuner and even videotaped the resultes. See below. :D

So, how does the new saddle sound compared to the OEM saddle?

Here's a couple of video clips. The first is of my 50th Anniversary Custom Legend with the stock saddle. The second is the black compensated saddle. I'm using a Peterson strobe tuner. When the strobe rotates to the right, the pitch is sharp, to the left, flat.

Intonation Demo of Stock Ovation OCP-1K Saddle

Intonation Demo of 3D-Printed, Compensated, Ovation OCP-1K Saddle

For those who want to order their owm, you can visit my Shapeways.com page.

Ovation OCP-1K Fully-Compensated Saddle



Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-19 1:12 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-19 10:01 AM (#546657 - in reply to #546654)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
I ordered one each for my 50th Anniversary and my 1655. I'll eventually replace all my OCP-1K saddles, but these two are currently in rotation, so they're the next in line.
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-19 9:30 PM (#546663 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Lots of views. No replies. No orders. Hmmm...

I suspect that not many here are familiar with the current state of 3D printing. Perhaps an explanation is in order. I'm sure many are wondering why such a small part costs so much.

There are currently two levels of 3D printers. The home variety, which utilize FDM technology and and the professional level which includes SLS, SLA, etc. The main difference is the resolution and final print quality, or print resolution. FDM printing is basically, a hot-glue gun hooked up to a 3D CNC machine. It melts a string of plastic and 'draws' the parts, layer by layer. FDM is very low resolution and structurally, pretty weak.

Professional 3D printing uses either powder, or polymer liquid, which fuses each layer together to create a part that is as homogeneous as a commercially-produced, molded part.

While the home FDM printers can be bought for a few hundred dollars, professional-level printers such as those used by Shapeways run into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars and are beyond the reach of the average modeler.

Shapeways.com is a professional 3D printing service bureau that offers modelers, such as myself, the ability to 3D print just about any model, using just about any material, including, nylon, hi-def plastic, wax, (lost wax casting) aluminum, bronze, brass, stainless steel, gold, and even platinum. Not gold- or platinum-plated, but solid gold or platinum. In addition to printing the parts, Shapeways also ships the part to the customer.

Naturally, this comes at a price. The lion's share of the price of these parts is what Shapeways charges to print & ship the part. I've marked the prices up a little bit, but I'm not retiring to the islands.

There are other 3D printing bureaus, but none are as cheap as Shapeways, nor do they offer as many material choices.

Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-19 9:38 PM
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2wheeldrummer
Posted 2019-01-19 10:59 PM (#546664 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
February 2014
Posts: 477

Location: moline,illinois
Dan,cool demos and excellent explanation.I personally don't consider the price to be that high for a custom 3D printed item of high quality,I only know a little about 3D printing so it was educational to realize the differences in quality and materials available.
You said your going to get a custom saddle for a 1655 is that a 12 string custom balladeer and would that be a longer saddle/different part my 12 string saddles are wider that my standard 6 strings and I have quite a few 12 strings so I be would interested in that part also,I plan on ordering some just hadn't decided on how many/which guitars to start with,once again thanks for your work

I just ordered 4 so when they get here in Feb I'll get to check them out in person.



Edited by 2wheeldrummer 2019-01-19 11:12 PM
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FlySig
Posted 2019-01-19 11:10 PM (#546665 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3844

Location: Utah
I need to survey what I need before ordering. Out of town for a few days, but will be doing this for sure for at least the Adamas 2080. Not sure about the 1537, it seems to have benefitted from a slightly heavier 6th string. The Adamas Viper seems to be excellent for intonation but I'll mess with it some later this week.

I've messed with trying to mill a bone saddle but didn't have the right tools for success. Also have been toying with making a compensated nut a la Buzz Feiten that extends slightly over the fretboard.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2019-01-19 11:42 PM (#546666 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1090

Location: What week?
Thank you for the informative description, Dan. I was not aware of such a wide difference between the "home" and "pro" printers. I've only seen what I assume are the pro level ones since I thought they all used powders or polymer liquid; though with varying levels of tooling precision it in the process, hence varying degrees of equipment cost. As for the cheaper, "hot glue" style, I can see how the fusion would not complete near as well in merely drawn out, stacked layers. I'm a bit lost, though, on how the process of lost wax casting and 3D printing would have anything to do with the other. Or are you referring to the 3D printer simply making the original wax piece that is then placed into a traditional casting mold? I guess that's where Google comes in handy. For what you have there in saddles, if I had a model that needs that type of saddle I would definitely go for the higher resolution black one.
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-20 12:29 AM (#546667 - in reply to #546664)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
2wheeldrummer - 2019-01-19 8:59 PM

Dan,cool demos and excellent explanation.I personally don't consider the price to be that high for a custom 3D printed item of high quality,I only know a little about 3D printing so it was educational to realize the differences in quality and materials available.
You said your going to get a custom saddle for a 1655 is that a 12 string custom balladeer and would that be a longer saddle/different part my 12 string saddles are wider that my standard 6 strings and I have quite a few 12 strings so I be would interested in that part also,I plan on ordering some just hadn't decided on how many/which guitars to start with,once again thanks for your work

I just ordered 4 so when they get here in Feb I'll get to check them out in person.



Hey Kevin,

Thanks! Yep. It's pretty cheap when you consider that a Tusq XL saddle costs $13.65.

Yes, the 1655 is a 12-string. Nope. It uses the OCP-1K pick-up, so this part will drop right in. I just verified that the saddle is the same. OCP-1K = OCP-1K = OCP-1K...

Thanks! I'm looking forward to trying this out on my 1655. Like I wrote, I'm going to eventually replace all my saddles. Please report back once you get yours installed. I'd love to get your feedback.

Also, if you have any questions about swapping out the saddles, feel free to ask them here.

Dan

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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-20 12:41 AM (#546668 - in reply to #546665)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
FlySig - 2019-01-19 9:10 PM

I need to survey what I need before ordering. Out of town for a few days, but will be doing this for sure for at least the Adamas 2080. Not sure about the 1537, it seems to have benefitted from a slightly heavier 6th string. The Adamas Viper seems to be excellent for intonation but I'll mess with it some later this week.

I've messed with trying to mill a bone saddle but didn't have the right tools for success. Also have been toying with making a compensated nut a la Buzz Feiten that extends slightly over the fretboard.


No problemo. I understand completely. One of the cool things about this saddle is that you can pull the original saddle, try this one and if you don't like it, swap back in the original and still have the sound you're used to hearing. I doubt you'll want to do that once you've heard it, but stranger things have happened. LOL!

Yep. Before the advent of high-quality 3D printing, the only option available was making replacement parts by hand, like you tried or commissioning a machinist to make the parts for you. 3D printing has revolutionized short-run manufacturing.

Yeah, no. In this case, there's no need to go to such measures, such as a compensated nut. It is such a pleasure to play an in-tune Ovation. You can't really appreciate the bracing until you've heard it play in tune. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but it really makes a difference in how the guitar sounds.
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-20 12:48 AM (#546669 - in reply to #546666)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Love O Fair - 2019-01-19 9:42 PM

Thank you for the informative description, Dan. I was not aware of such a wide difference between the "home" and "pro" printers. I've only seen what I assume are the pro level ones since I thought they all used powders or polymer liquid; though with varying levels of tooling precision it in the process, hence varying degrees of equipment cost. As for the cheaper, "hot glue" style, I can see how the fusion would not complete near as well in merely drawn out, stacked layers. I'm a bit lost, though, on how the process of lost wax casting and 3D printing would have anything to do with the other. Or are you referring to the 3D printer simply making the original wax piece that is then placed into a traditional casting mold? I guess that's where Google comes in handy. For what you have there in saddles, if I had a model that needs that type of saddle I would definitely go for the higher resolution black one.

Hi Al,

You're welcome.

Yes, you're correct. I checked Shapeways again and I don't see wax as an available printing material. They may have dropped it.

You're correct. You would upload a file and they would 3D print it in wax. You would then use that model to cast a part in the traditional way.

Dan

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MWoody
Posted 2019-01-20 11:23 AM (#546670 - in reply to #537044)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
December 2003
Posts: 13898

Location: Upper Left USA
Dan,
Great work!
Ordered two and I am guessing I'll be back for more.
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-20 2:28 PM (#546675 - in reply to #546670)
Subject: Re: How To: Replace OCP-1K Bridge Saddle...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Thanks!

I know what you mean. I just ordered two more myself and realized that I probably need to order a couple more.
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