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How to properly remove a top

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Marcus Johnson, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Funny, a butter knife would be my tool of choice to teach that guy a lesson. BTW, Ken's right on-an old butter knife is the perfect top removal tool.
  3. It just may be possible that TB is not the only forum blessed with 16 year old experts.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    I read through a few of the threads. It may be true that TB has a few of those types, but the general density of them sure looks a lot higher over there.

    Although our resident luthiers might take some comfort in knowing that there is plenty of advice being handed out on that forum that is very likely to lead to plenty of high-dollar repair work for them.

  5. My favorite tool for that job is an artist's palette knife.... while we're on the subject, anybody else want to chime in with their favorites? Just curious.

  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Apparently, the A-hole that was shooting off got into it to the degree that the forum administrator over there flushed his posts. (My verb choice was deliberate.)
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I've watched the job being done. Even though I have confidence in the luthier, the noise it makes is sickening.
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Ugghh..me too. The luthier cautioned me that I might want to leave the room while he was disemboweling my dear old Epiphone. Kinda like sausages; tasty, but you don't want to see them under construction.
  9. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    My personal favorites are a very lightweight bench hammer, a block of wood, and (actually) a chisel. Before you grit yer teeth... I've removed backs and tops with this method, and with GREAT success. No splinters and no cracking; very clean results. The chisel is not used like a butter knife, but more like a wedge. Works like a champ. The butter knife is still a great tool.

    Another favorite is a tool described in Hans (all hail) Weisshaar's book; he describes a 3-foot long spatula-like tool, (Spatula City!) in aid with removing cello tops. My tool is a bit longer, and has helped me out in a pinch. :D
  10. Too much information. :rolleyes:
  11. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    I invented a method years ago that has never failed: Duct tape the f-holes, and make sure all the seams are tight. Make a fitting to adapt an air compressor nozzle to and old endpin plug. Now shove that assembly into the endpin hole, turn on the compressor and let 'er rip. It's a good idea to have an assistant there to catch the top when it blows off. Also, wear a breathing mask because all manner of dust and junk comes blasting out as well.
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    You failed to mention that this method is equally effective in removing backs.
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Hey Arnold, haven't you heard that the latest version of your method involves a very small amount of plastic explosive? Everyone has seen how, these days, a good demolitions man can drop an old warehouse into a space the size of a napkin...
  14. This post has had me in stitches for two days now !! :) :p

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