I knew... going-in... that this was going to be a highly labor-intensive project. It's a '67 Gretsch model 6122 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman, belonging to a friend who'd been "turned-away" by a few other repair folks. I suspect they just didn't want the months of grief this thing brings with it.
Anyway, it's an otherwise-fine guitar, but afflicted with one of the worst cases of celluloid binding rot that I've run-across. The job is, of course, to remove the old celluloid binding and replace it with modern materials.
Sounds easy enough on paper, but the binding has rotted "only to a point" and what's left is hanging-on with the tenacity of moss on a rock. A lot of the binding (particularly toward the outside) can be chipped-away with a fingernail but the inside layer (abutting the wood) clings-on for dear life.
One of the biggest head-scratchers seems to be how to loosen that inner layer from the wood without resorting to chemicals that are going to severely damage the finish edge. Would a certain am't of heat be beneficial?
I realize there's no magic solution here ...just a lot of time and hard work... but if any of you folks have had experience with this sort of issue (good, bad or indifferent) I'd love to hear some tips, tricks or advice for going forward. Thanks, as always.