Has anyone round here used this method for removing bridges much? I'm interested because I have a guitar (my dad's 73 Fender F 15, nothing too special but I like it alot) with dark stain/finish on a lighter coloured hardwood (not sure what) bridge, which is beginning to lift at the bottom. The stain has taken on a nice patina with just the right amount of wear at some of the edges and Id much rather not disturb it with heat as Ive seen happen before. So Im considering the chisel technique as a possibility.
Also, it may be important to know that this has one of those goofy adjustable saddles 'inlaid' in the bridge (it actually sits right on the top, captured by the bridge). Im probably going to work something out to convert it to the proper saddle style. Got nothin but time with this one and Ive got a couple beaters to practise whackin at, too. Lee Valley sells some cranked neck chisels that look pretty good for the job, if I deem this to be the appropriate method.

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Looking at that D-28 cold bridge removal makes me wonder how much stress is being conveyed to the rest of the top joints? I have popped off bridges on cheap guitars with nothing but a putty knife, but I would be worried about stressing a quality instrument.

Tomahawk aside, cold chisel removal has it's place. This instrument for example, with the bridge essentially superglued to the finish, you can see how perfectly clean (literally not a single chip, scratch, or shred of wood) it came off. Heat could have softened the finish as much or more than the superglue that was sticking to it. Shock resistance is a weak link with standard CA glues, and this is a perfect way to take advantage of this.

Even on old hide glue joints there are times I may pull out the hammer and chisel before the heat lamp and spatula. If years of cyclical seasonal wood movement appear to have significantly strained and weakened the joint, or extreme environmental conditions essentially crystallized a glue joint that was left too thick, I find politely shocking the joint can sometimes be a more effective means to cleanly separate pieces.

To be honest it's relatively rare that I use the cold chisel method anymore. Still, every once in a while I see a joint where the signs or my intuition tells me is ready to pop clean with a bit of shock. I wouldn't use it on PVA joints (too much elasticity to come clean with shock even after they start to fail), but with many newer import guitars and the occasional hide glue joint that appears ripe to pop, it's a method that still has it's place.

The guitar in the video by the way, already has the bridge glued back on and you can't tell it was ever removed. I stuck it back on with supeglue of course, to keep true to original factory specs. ;) Next we may demonstrate how to set up your golf swing to cleanly drive it off. Then if we can find the bridge after that perhaps we can move toward demonstrating more aggressive methods for those really stubborn joints (though we may need to apply for federal permits to show those).

Mate, that is a party trick akin to pulling the table cloth out from under the crystal.......I'm going out to buy a Block-splitter and some safety glasses.   Excellent and enjoyable stuff David - a real eye opener and technical tour de force for my jaded and cynical mind.



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