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Restoring a 1908 Martin O-17

I. Removing the neck

The first step in restoration of this guitar is to disassemble it.  We begin by removing the neck.  This is a common job for repair shops since it is the necessary first step to a neck reset.

wpe4.gif (30681 bytes)   First step is to remove the first fret in from the neck join (typically the 15th or 13th fret).  This fret is generally located right over the end of the dovetail joint.   Here, Ron is using a soldering iron to gently heat the fret (this will loosen the fret) and gently removing it with an end cutting pliers which is ground to a flush edge.   This enables the cutter to slide under the fret and grip the tang of the fret, although here that is not necessary since the guitar has the old fashioned bar fret stock.



wpe5.gif (26481 bytes)The next step is to drill a small hole through the fret slot into the area at the end of the dovetail joint.




wpe6.gif (34863 bytes)The next step is to heat the fingerboard extension and (again, gently) free it from the top.   The heat (we use a silicone rubber heating blanket) will soften the glue so that the spatulas can be worked under the extension and loosen it.  The wooden block in Ron's hand is used to hold the heating blanket firmly on the extension so that the heat is transferred efficiently.  You can also see the needle which is inserted in the hole drilled previously.  This will be used to inject steam into the dovetail joint, which will loosen this joint.  We generate the steam in an old pressure cooker which sits on a hot plate.  One of our benches is permanently setup with this equipment for neck resets.


wpe8.gif (28268 bytes) Here Ron is gently twisting and rocking the neck to loosen the dovetail.  If the steam has been allowed time to soften the glue, this is an easy task.  Sometimes the joint is very tight and a special jig is used to press the neck out of the body.  Not necessary here.




wpe9.gif (31685 bytes)The neck is out!! Next step will be removal of the bridge.





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2219 East Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN. 55404

choffman1@mn.rr.com or choffman@hoffmanguitars.com

(612) 338-1079