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Maple Cutoffs Source Needed - Nashville Bridge Bushing Puller?

I have a 1968 Les Paul Custom in the shop with an aftermarket Nashville bridge. The owner wants me to pull the Nashville studs and replace them with ABR posts.  I'll need to plug the stud holes but the only maple I have on hand are bridge plate blanks.  Any suggestions as to where I can get come maple cutoffs showing a variety of figures from plain to flamed?  I want to match the current guitar and think ahead to future repairs.

While I'm at it...what do you use to pull bushings?  I've tried putting a 1/2" long cylindrical piece of steel down the bushing hole and then tightening the stud. The bushing came out about 1/4" but won't budge further.

Mucho gracias!

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Offhand, I don't know of any good sources for thick maple cutoffs, but you might want to e-mail the folks at Luthiers Mercantile (www.lmii.com) as they're pretty resourceful and they sure cut a lot of wood.

As far as pulling the bushings, I love this tool from StewMac.... great for lots of different odd jobs around the shop.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for_Electronics,_pi...

Thanks, Mike...I looked at this tool several times but for some reason thought it was only for knobs. $48 seemed pricy for a knob puller.  I now see it has several hex head bolts sized for domestic and import bushings which makes the price more reasonable.

I've already spent my monthly tool allowance on a Jaws 2 and a Neck Removal Jig so I may have to make a temporary puller like the one on the Instructables link I posted in my reply to Rusty. I'll glue some cork to the bottom washer though.

Heck...I broke down and ordered the bushing puller. I'm too risk adverse to use anything but the safest method.

The best part is that you'll use it over and over and wonder how you did without it before. Rusty's heating suggestion is a thumbs up as well. 

HI Robbie,

The best way to get the studs moving is as Mike says and it's also the best way to avoid cracking lacquer (although you are going to refinish this area anyways) by having the ferrules come out vertical without the wobbles.

A non-approved/desperation way to get a bunch of leverage is to screw the old studs in a half a dozen threads, put a cork pad under a claw hammer and use the claw hammer as a lever and fulcrum to lift the studs with the ferrules attached until the bond is broken.   It's very agricultural but effective - you need to watch out for the ferrules leaning over if you do this.

Additionally, you may wish to stick a heated 40/60 watt soldering iron tip into the screw bore to heat up the ferrule and break or soften the glue and wood or corrosion bond a little - once again a bit of caution here to avoid burning the wood (just watch for moisture bubbles gassing around the sides of the ferrule and that means it's done - no more heat.

It's not pretty but it beats ripping the maple around the area.

Good luck - hope someone else can provide a better method or solution but this is the best I have.

Rusty

"Agricultural"...I like the description!  A hammer is kinda like a small mattock, right? 

I'd hate to crack the finish especially since this is the first year reissue Les Paul so I'm going to be using some sort of puller.  I'll definitely use your soldering iron suggestion. Makes sense that if it eases frets out that it would also help with bushings.  I found a couple of online suggestions. The first one shows the method I described but uses a screw as its fulcrum. The second shows a cheap way to build a Stewmac type tool like the one Mike suggested above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsZ9zBX2eDU

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-remove-Tune-o-Matic-bushings...

I'm a Scientific Instrument Maker by trade, I did not suggest the claw hammer solution lightly - you said the ferrule was stuck so:    large tools are easier to control and long leverage is more accurate than short leverage etc, ergo: use a bigger tool.   The Youtube vid is nice except the ferrule is a push fit and you could pull it out with your fingernails.  I also would not use a screwdriver over the finish without a guard or without sleeving it with your other palm - one slip and instant ding in this one.

Just make or buy a  puller and do the job right the first time if you have any reservations.  The see-through pullers are best as you can see if you are damaging wood or lacquer while you are doing it rather than after the fact.

Rusty.

I understand...as Archimedes said "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."  You gotta use whatever's necessary - keeping in mind the finish.

A Scientific Instrument Maker? Can you make me a Large Hadron Collider? I have a theory that it's a 5-quark particle that gives guitars mojo.

Couldn't you just use a small hadron collider?

http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/sci_tech/2232-ten-year-old-makes-functi...

Sure, why not? I have my garage wired for 200,000,000 amps. Now to find the right connectors.

I take it the Daily Squib staffers feed at the same trough as The Onion crew?

I tried a 60 watt soldering iron, Rusty, and steamed the finish a bit. I guess I missed the moisture bubble cue.  I applied solvent to a tiny area and it helped but didn't completely fix it. 

As you can see in the light reflection the finish has a bit of orange peel so it may not be that noticeable. The Late Sixties Les Paul (http://latesixtieslespauls.com/) site said there were no tobacco sunbursts made in 68 or 69 so I guess the refinish was either not rubbed out well or was oversprayed at some time.

Robbie,

You will be blending and re-finishing this area when you put the plugs in anyway, so there is little drama so far - but, the ferrules are grooved length ways and as you found out will severely resist a twisting or turning motion. I suspect that the existing ferrules have been added or removed and replaced and epoxied into place.   You must expect some tear-out when you apply a puller to this situation and be prepared to work through this when it happens.

You should probably go easy on the WD-40 or better still not spray it onto wood that will later be required to take a lacquer finish as it penetrates and remains in the substrate.

Drilling out these ferrules, is , in my opinion, a suicide mission if you do not have a very accuarate and stable press with appropriate clamps - one "slip and grip" event by the drill bit will end in tears.  The heat generated by a 3/8 drill bit chewing through the ferrule (given that you will do the process dry - cutting lubricant is not good for the guitar) is probably the only upside as it may free the ferrule inadvertently.

You need to go back to basics and just pull the ferrule.

You mention cost - we charge $40 for each remove, plug and drill repair and the refinish cost is on top of that - it's a $100 plus job with-out hardware.

If the maple block saga gets out of hand tell me and I will send you some assorted blocks suitable for plug cutting, gratis.

Take it easy and good luck,

Rusty.

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