I plan to do a complete teardown on a 60's dumpster dive Kawaii acoustic guitar so I can get my "potential mistakes" out of the way before I move on to REAL work. I've been an audio electronics tech for over 30 years, and have been doing basic guitar maintenance along the way, and I've made up my mind to expand my skill set significantly.
I need to remove a neck and bridge on a baritone uke, a bridge on a jumbo acoustic, and possibly remove a peghead veneer on a broken peghead (polyurethane finish). Stew-Mac sells a heating iron to facilitate this kind of work...
However I'm considering doing it another way and I thought I'd run it past the "experts" first.
My idea is to cut a piece of silicone sponge rubber to the size and shape of the area that I want to apply heat to, place it on top of the are to be heated, and then use a clothes iron as my heat source. Unlike the passive heating iron, using this method I'd be able to apply constant heat. I'd also be able to vary the heat if needed (I plan to monitor the temperature with a digital thermometer by slipping a type-K thermocouple under the rubber pad.
I can't see why this wouldn't work, although I'm wondering if applying heat directly to a polyurethane finish (even through the silicone sponge rubber sheet) might be messy.
What do you folks think?
All the areas mentioned in the post. Fretboard, bridge, peghead. If this method works out, I could use it coupled with steam to loosen just about any glue joint.
I would not have though that silicone sponge would be an efficient conductor of heat, but it's easy to test.
I just used a domestic iron (non-steam) set to maximum to remove a FB for the first time. I protected the guitar top with a layer of corrugated carton board with alufoil on top. To help transmit heat to the FB, I placed some stainless steel washers between the frets and rested the iron on the washers, rather than on the frets. The thermostat was doing its job, keeping a constant temp, worked section by section with Stewmac's offset disassembly knife and it came apart cleanly without damage.
There is another way, I use a quartz light to heat the various pieces in a controlled manner. It takes five or ten minutes to heat everything so you have a large "window" of safety with regard to temperature of the pieces.
Years ago, someone gave me a halogen work light. I always hated the thing, and have never did anything with it. Now I have a way to put it to use!
I may not use it the same way you did. I still want to apply the heat by hand to soften glue joints, but I think your idea would be great for heating surfaces prior to (and during) application of hide glue.
I have a good neck heat press a cappuccino machine an old colthes iron and a deep fryer in my shop. However I don't use heat until I've tried other things. Almost never on bridges. It's a last resort for me. Steam tends to make wood expand and not go back never mind what it does to finishes, so I rarely use it either. There are a number of ways to remove parts from guitars and none of them is right for every situation. Pallet knives and patience will often get you further than repurposed appliances and clearly I'm not opposed to using repurposed appliances.
Oh yea and I have a BBQ starter that lives inside a tail pipe.
OK, I get the cappuccino maker (for steam), the clothes iron (for applied heat), and the charcoal starter in the tailpipe (bending iron). I have a small crock pot with an inverted steamer basket in the bottom as a double boiler for HHG. I'm quickly learning that much of the enjoyment, pleasure, and satisfaction of guitar building and service is the fine art of improvisation.
But what the heck is the deep fryer for??? :-D