Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Martin Guitar Bridge Plate Removal Continues

I'm determined to get the bridge plate out of this Martin no matter what. I haven't posted for a while because I've been taking stabs (not a good phrase to use around my DIY removal tools...) at getting the thing out and have not been having much progress.

There are a couple of issues.  The first and most frustrating is that the plate is so large that it's hard to get a tool under the edge of the plate on the bottom side near the end of the guitar.   I made one bent tool from a chisel to wedge under the plate but pull from the front.   It's a bit too thick to get started on the seam, so I decided to make another one from a paint spatula.

This one was a lot easier to bend because it's thin metal.  I was able to really heat it red hot.

And it was easy to bend backward.

Before I bent it, I had actually sharpened the edge on a sharpening stone in the hopes that it would help it dig in to the seam.

After dampening the plate with a sponge, and then using my homebrew heating pad tool, I was able to only get a tool a few mm into the seam.  The tool is too flexible and I can't get a lot of leverage on it to drive it into the gap between the plate and the guitar's top. 

This is going nowhere fast.

This seems to be the next issue - I can't really get a tool under the plate.

So I had a brainstorm.

I have a flexible shaft attachment for my Dremel tool.

It might be possible to drill some holes in the underside of the plate and then get a steam hose into the holes and steam the thing out.

After all, it's what we'd use to free up a neck joint, right?

Here's a crazy picture of a couple holes I managed to drill.  It was pretty hard to angle the drill upward, and not to mention that above all, I did NOT want to drill through the soundboard.

The awl is pointing to one of the holes.  If you were inside the guitar looking upward toward the plate, this is what you'd see.  You can also see how big this thing is.

Long story short, I was able to get the hose in the holes, but it didn't do much.
Time for a rethink.

Looking at the string holes, it occurred to me that I might be able to drill longer holes in the plate by entering from the top.

The top's a bit chewed up there anyway, so I was figuring on plugging the holes with new spruce.  So why the heck not just go for it?

I started with a short Dremel bit, but them moved up to a longer standard bit.  A couple holes went all the way through the plate, but that might not be a bad thing.

So I steamed for a couple minutes using my converted Krups "luthier steamer."

I heard some cracking as the glue released, but I still am having a hard time getting tools behind the plate.  The plate got reasonably damp and steamed.  I was cautious not to steam too much until I got a feel for it.  But this is encouraging.  I also have another idea to try that I think will work.

You might be able to see that I filled the body with a towel to absorb any water.  Good move on my part.

The Complete Martin Guitar Restoration Saga
Restoration begins
Repairing heel break
DIY chisel for bridge plate removal
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.1
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.2 (This page)
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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