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Thread: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

  1. #1
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    Default Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    Hi, Any advice on pick guard removal from a Lyon & Healy Style C?

    My luthier is trying to remove the guard to get proper access for fret replacement, but the screw in the guard does not want to come loose! He's concerned that torqing it any harder than he's already tried will either strip the slot or break the head. So far he's tried penetrating oil, and also some warming of the fretboard to loosen it up, with no success.

    Is this a metal screw? Is it a standard machine screw? Is it possibly a wooden screw?
    Is there a metal threaded insert in the fretboard that the screw threads into, or is it possibly just a tapped hole in the wood? Does it make sense to try to cut the screw between the guard and the fretboard and remove the pieces afterward?

    Any details on how this is constructed, and tips on how to get it out would be much appreciated.

    One other item of note - the screw hole in the guard has somewhat "telegraphed" through to the top face, unlike photos I've seen of similar guards. This makes me wonder if perhaps someone put in a larger screw than was originally there, & perhaps that is why it's so tight.

    Thanks! Alfons

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    I believe the guard is made of hard rubber, like they used to make combs from(1950s) so avoid too much heat. Usually such things as guard removal are fairly self evident, and just need a careful yet firm approach. In your case it sounds like you have been puzzling over this for a while, and may have already arrived at a suitable method.

    The thing about cutting the screw is getting access to a grip on it after the guard is removed. Might require a "tube saw" to remove the screw from the neck and a wood plug to fill the hole after the removal of the screw and the wood immediately surrounding the scrrew. If the screw is bound up in the guard some warming to help flexibility of the guard should help. It's difficult to assess from afar.

    First do no harm, . . . sort of.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    It is not hard rubber. It is vulcanised fibre, which is a cellulose material but I don't know any thing about how it is manufactured. Heat is probably ok, moisture probably not. I don't have a style C, but do have a style A with the screw that goes into the side of the fingerboard, but I have never removed the pickguard. At the moment I don't have a small enough screw driver at hand to unscrew it. Will hunt one down tomorrow.

    A picture would help.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    Tried today to unscrew mine. It has the same problem, the screw won't budge. If I come up with a solution will post again here.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  7. #5
    Registered User Frank Ford's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    If you're patient and careful, you can drill the screw head. Starting small and stepping up the size, you can drill out and separate the head of the screw from the shank. Then, when you slip the guard off the screw, you'll have a nice long post to grip and unscrew.

    A bit of luck is also in order. . .

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    Once again, Frank Ford to the rescue, with calm reason and a kind heart.

    Frank, thanks for your good nature and wealth of experience.

  10. #7
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    Thank you Michael, Peter, and Frank for your advice!
    Much appreciated. Here's a status update:

    The guard is now off.
    After not making any headway he finally tried harder, and the screw head broke.
    Unfortunately, the guard also broke along the screw hole.
    It turned out that the part of the screw inside of the guard was so corroded that it was noticeably larger than its nominal diameter. Also, someone had glued some fiber underneath the guard, and glued the guard to the side of the fret board as well, so apparently they were trying to get rid of a buzz. Perhaps something they put on it was what caused all the corrosion on the screw. The portion of the screw that was in the fretboard was nice and clean, and is definitely a machine screw - I think it's a 4-40, about 1.5 -2" long. It also appears that the hole for it was tapped directly into the wood of the fretboard, without any type of threaded insert. This matches what I read somewhere else on the cafe forum about one of the related Lyon & Healy models. Once the screw was accessible to get a grip, it finally came out after another treatment with a penetrating oil. I don't remember how he said he kept it on the screw and off the instrument.

    The fret job is proceeding now, and he has also spliced the guard pieces back together by epoxying a brass plate covered with ebony, inlaid into the back side where it won't show. This pretty solid, but still leaves a visible crack on the top of the guard, which we are discussing how to address. The first suggestion was to mill that area and inlay another piece of ebony, but to me the ebony looks too obviously incongruous next to the vulcanized fiber surface. The other possibility we discussed is filling it with dust and CA. It also occurs to me that his idea to inlay some ebony over the split might actually look nice if it was done in some intentionally decorative shape. I would prefer a fill job that looks "original", but I'm not sure how realistic that is.

    I do not have pictures yet...
    I asked for some to document the job, and will post them.
    Hopefully they will prove useful, or at least interesting to someone else.

    Thanks again for the comments - I'll keep you posted on progress.

    Best regards, Alfons

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  12. #8

    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    Bummer!

    Agreed FFord's suggestion was the route I was thinking. I often use a thin cutting wheel on a Dremel to slot the top of screws deeper to get more pressure for turning. You can also "x" with the wheel until you're able to chip the head of the screw off and then... simply pull whatever is attached off the shaft of the screw.

  13. #9
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    I have made quite a few guards of ebony for arch top guitars and mandolins. Or you may find a used L&H guard somewhere.

  14. #10
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    Anyone out there still working with vulcanized fiber?
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  15. #11
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    Default Re: Lyon & Healy Style C Guard Removal

    It's probably not exactly the same thing but FORBON is a commercially available material that is supplied in various thicknesses. I think that is the stuff I got from Michael Gurian as fiber binding. Industrial suppliers like MSC and McMaster-Carr have stuff like this.

    Martin, how did the D'A mandolin come out? Pics?

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