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The center back strip has uneven openings on either side where the back has shrunk.  The back strip itself is almost an eighth of an inch thick, but the purfling appears to be paper thin.  Makes me wonder if it is some kind of early plastic, perhaps bakelite.

If I could get the back strip out intact, I thought I could center it with black purfling lines on either side.

Anybody had any experience with this situation, or ideas about how to get the back strip out?

Thanks for the help, George

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Filling the voids with black strips on both sides is a good idea. May be possible to use a razor blade to loosen the purfling and putting in new strips from the outside. With hot hide glue you can make a mess and then wipe away the excess with a damp cloth.

But the problem may be bigger with loose bracing on the inside. From the picture it looks very possible to loosen the binding and the bottom. With the bottom off things will be much easier to reglue and repair.

I don't have a solution, but I've seen that a number of times in these 'catalog' guitars from back in the day.  I'd guess it's the shrinkage of the back wood over time.  

My approach is, if things are 'tight', to just leave it alone, or at very least, work hhg into the opening so if there is any gap under, it seals.

If I 'had' to 'fix' it, I might consider using a glue fill and matching the color to hide the separation as best possible.  If it's not a structural issue, and it's on the back like this, I'm not so bothered.

Hope you can figure out a workable solution..Tom

If that's a faux painting of Brazilian Rosewood, it's very well done. Looks like a photo.

Roger and Tom,  Thanks for the input.  The back has lifted off the center graft along the middle of the back.  The back is also off the braces in the middle.  The outside edges of the braces are still glued down.

I thought that if I could get the center back strip up and out, I could re-glue both the braces, and the center edges of the back to the back graft.

Unfortunately the back strip doesn't want to budge.  I have been putting small amounts of distilled water in the cracks on either side of the back strip, but no luck. so far.

Robbie,  The graining certainly fooled me.  It was Frank who pointed out that it was painted.

George

The back strip is probably celluloid and glued with acetone. Sometimes celluloid bindings are almost impossible to get loose in one piece. If its hide glue water would make it possible to loosen. You might try adding a bit of heat and see if something happens. Not much, an iron on low temperature through a damp cloth may do the trick. Take care of that fine paintwork and be careful with the heat!

Other than that, I would have loosened the bottom to be able to fix all the problems once and for all. I do that all the time with my old guitars so I'm used to it, putting the bottom back is the hard part.

That grain is painted?? Darn, if I could paint that good, I could hide all my mistakes!

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