Now we come to the bit I’ve been dreading! Removing the soundboard from the mandolin. Using heat through paper and cloth didn’t seem to have much effect, so I decided to use an iron directly onto the wood. If the wood got burnt then I could always make a new soundboard. This first picture shows the iron heating through the wood. Miraculously the glue started to melt which enabled me to slip a blade between the soundboard and the linings and start to lever them apart.
I then worked my way round one side, and I found that using a slim blade to start with, used to slide forward into the melting joint, followed by the thicker blade used as a wedge or a lever, seemed to work well.
You can see that the iron has melted the finish on the top of the soundboard (mind you the iron came off worse: it looked a complete mess when I’d finished using it!! Arrrgghhh!).
This next picture shows the soundboard really lifting away, and the kerfed linings (made of willow I seem to remember) showing clearly.
Finally it all came free! Yoohoo! You can now see the braces which had come loose from the top which were probably the cause of the crack in the first place. They were glued with hide glue that I’d had to melt myself, so maybe the glueing wasn’t done very well. Titebond next time!
You can now see inside the body, for the first time since the Sex Pistols released “Anarchy In The UK”.
Next step, sorting out this soundboard and deciding whether it can be repaired. Some luthier’s forums beckon….