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Homebrew Guitar Bridge Plate Chisel Removal Tool

I was reading a thread on the forum about bridge plate removal.  There were a couple comments about homebrew tools for this job.  One of the ideas (and something Frank Ford uses) is a bending a chisel to use as a removal tool.

I have the two mini-chisels I cooked up for the Epiphone bridge plate removal, and I have a couple of separation knives/palettes, but I'm finding that I don't have much room on the Martin to get a tool 'behind' the plate and leverage the plate up.

The problem is that the plate is so big it's a lot closer to the end of the guitar than others are.  So I read about this idea of taking a chisel and bending it so it could be pulled or levered from the sound hole end, and figured it was worth a shot.

I have an old chisel I bought at a yard sale and haven't used.  It seemed like the likely candidate.

First I sharpened it as best I could with my (new) Japanese water stone.

Then I put it in a vise and heated the area I planned to bend with a propane torch.  The idea was to heat it until glowing red.

Didn't get a great picture of this - it's hard to hold a flaming propane torch in one hand and a newfangled digital camera in the other.

I suspect something like MAPP gas is hotter - it took about 15 minutes to get this thing hot enough to bend with propane.  Live and learn.

Once it was hot, I whapped on the end with my rubber mallet and it bent fairly easily.

In fact, I may have put a little too much bend in it.  We shall see.

Then I quenched it in a bucket of water.

Here's the finished removal chisel.  I stuck a 'universal' chisel handle on it.

You can see how the chisel is bent so the bottom will be on the underside of the guitar's top, and the sharp chisel point should be able to wedge into the seam between the bridge plate and the top.

Remains to be seen if this will be helpful or not.   But I figure the more options I have in trying to remove the plate, the better.

Now I need to cook up a bigger bridge plate iron.

The Complete Martin Guitar Restoration Saga
Restoration begins
Repairing heel break
DIY chisel for bridge plate removal (This page)
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.1
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.2
Steam removal of bridge plate
Bridge plate removed
Tongue brace removal
Crack repair and brace scallop
New bridge plate Pt. 1
New bridge plate Pt. 2
Patching hole in top
Final fitting of top patch
Installing carbon fiber rod
Fret removal
Fingerboard crack repair, Pt. 1
Fingerboard crack repair, Pt. 2
DIY fret bender tool
Refretting Pt. 1
Refretting Pt. 2
Tuner shaft repair
Neck reset - dovetail fitting
Measuring neck set with DIY jig
Gluing the neck with hide glue
Tortoloid Pickguard
Fitting bridge pins
Brace reglue
Making bone saddle
Making a buffalo horn nut
Restoration completed


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