I just invested in a heat gun with digital temperature control, the accuracy of which I shall test before going much further. Next on the agenda is a neck reset (conversion to bolt-on) on an Epiphone 570, replete with the ever-popular genuine MOTS inlays and plastic binding.
So...how much heat can I give the FBE to soften the glue, without toasting the inlays? It's going to be an 'interesting' job, and I can do without having to replace the inlays as well.
Thanks in advance, and belated Happy New Year from sunny(ish) Dubai.
I would recommend a heat blanket or heating iron (I use a small travel iron) to heat the FBE after removing the upper frets. It only needs to hit about 150 degrees to soften up (most glues) enough to start prying on it.
Ian, I would never use a gun for this job. There are way too many things that can go wrong and destroy something. You can use just an iron set on low, and just be super careful with having your nose right there at the fretboard and smelling it. You will smell the celluloid start to soften, then is the time to take it quite slow.
Do Not Leave The Iron alone the whole time it is plugged in! Do NOT get distracted and go put the kettle on, or answer your phone! There have been fires started from folks on this Forum who did that!
Go Carefully! !!!
Make sure you have a few pallet knives to get that fretboard tongue off, and that you score the lacquer around the tongue (and neck to body) first.
There are some great vids on doing this online, and Frank Fords photoessays too to get a small handle on this. Make SURE you understand what is being done and why it is being done before you start too.
This job is certainly not a beginner repair guy job, but can be done.
What are you using to cut the neck off? I have two hand saws that I use, both with the blade tips ( on the sides) totally ground off that I use. The newer one, makes only a 17 though too.
The problem with a heat gun is that along with the heat, you are delivering a high air flow which will rapidly dry out and warp or crack the fretboard before the heat gets to the glue surface.
Thanks for all your comments, much appreciated. I have done this before using an iron, but at the expense of toasting the inlays, as it's hard to know what temp the FB is reaching. I felt the gun would be more controllable, although I hadn't considered it drying out the FB more than an iron.
The saw is the one in my profile pic, fine-kerf Japanese one. However there is also the possibility that the heel may separate with heat and some effort - it is dowelled and bolted, there was a recent post of a guitar of similar construction where the joint was successfully racked apart. Finish is poly.
Guitar is my own, not a bad guitar, but would be a whole lot better with some saddle sticking up from the bridge.
I actually just used one of these heat guns, I assume you have control over temperature AND airflow? I am amazed at how nicely it worked to take off a neck. I had the back off of a old Silvertone archtop, and just warmed the neck block until it popped loose. It was in pretty rough shape already, but man did this work a treat without any steam.
Low airflow, low temperature. If you are doing one of those 70's Japanese Epis, then the glue on the fretboard might go at a surprisingly low temp, I did one two years ago that took almost no heat to loosen. The low airflow should address Jeff's reasonable concern about dryness.
I might prefer a heat lamp for this though, since it is much easier to shield the inlays and binding with a bit of aluminum foil, although harder to maintain a particular temperature. And yes, it is no coincidence that I recommend the two tools that I happen to have and use. :)
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