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Thread: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

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    Default Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Is there a safe and reliable way to make a model C black fiber finger rest/guard flat again once it has curled up at the bridge end?

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    I don't know if it was safe and reliable, but I had success filling an old fashioned metal coffee can with water, bringing it to a boil, immersing the pickguard [I don't remember how long], and reshaping it. That was a long time ago. If my memory is correct, I had to do it twice, and the second time I clamped it to something before it cooled off completely and left it clamped overnight so it wouldn't return to its warped shape.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    rcc56 - i'm worried about what water might do to the fiber material. i wonder if clamping dry would work any, but that idea didn't happen in your experience if you had to baptize in boiling water the second time.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    I have heated pickguards, not the fiber ones, but clamping as they cool is the only way to keep them straight.
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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Now that I think back, I've done this on at least two of them.
    So far as I know, both pickguards are holding up just fine many years later.
    I have also heard the material referred to as "vulcanized rubber," whatever that means. Whatever its true composition is, it apparently is not low grade cheap wood fiber.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    It is not vulcanized rubber. That description has been doing the rounds for a while but is not correct. It is vulcanized fiber which is cellulose fiber that has undergone some sort of chemical treatment and compressing. Electrical grade is known as fish paper. Still manufactured today, and no it is not low grade wood fiber.
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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Anyway, it worked out well.
    I checked the one I did on the one I own today, and after 10 or 12 years it is still doing just fine.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    rcc56 - The original on this model C has curled like a potato chip toward the bridge and isn't very functional as is, which has me thinking there isn't much to lose. However, I wonder what caused it to warp to in the first place. I'd rather try a less invasive approach first before going to the boiling water method. What do you think about using heat by itself and clamping it until cool?
    Last edited by dan in va; Jun-27-2021 at 2:19pm.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Dan, sometimes you can use a hand held hair dryer to heat the finger rest. It will need to get hot to bend and not break. Hot water, hot sand, and hot air can all be used, just watch to get it hot enough, but not too hot. That's where the problem lies. If you have hot tap water, like for a dishwasher you may try holding it under a stream of water from the tap and see if it will flex, but don't put too much pressure on it and keep it in the stream of hot water as you try. Give it some time to heat in the water first. This will not get it as hot and may not work, but it will also not get it too hot.
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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Well, since you asked, the particular pickguards I worked on were made out of pretty tough stuff. I don't know for sure whether yours is made of the same material, so if you're in doubt, it wouldn't hurt for you to give it a try. All I know is that gentler heating methods did not work for me.

    Boiling water maintains a temperature of 212 degrees, probably higher than a hair dryer on medium but lower than an industrial heat gun. I wouldn't use an industrial heat gun-- too much dry high temperature heat sounds risky to me.

    Anyway, if gentle heat does not work, it was my experience that the boiling water did not burn the guards. They had to be immersed for a little while, I don't remember how long, before they would flex.

    They then had to be clamped immediately. If I remember correctly, I actually had to make a clamping arrangement that put a slight curve in the guards, because they tended to spring back to their previous shape after the clamps were removed.

    Good luck.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    rcc5 - The more info you share, the more boiling water looks like the better option. i guess the notion of immersing a 103 year old unknown fiber material in hot water gives me pause.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Again, if you're in doubt, you can try the hair dryer first
    And since I do not have your pickguard in hand, I can't evaluate whether it's in the same condition and is made out of the same material as on the instruments I've worked on.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    If it is curled really bad the boiling water may be the only option. I was giving alternatives due to hesitation. If there is any flat section you may try to clamp that down to a flat surface then heat where you want to bend and gently see what it will do. I have been able to reshape some plastic with tap water, but as rcc56 says not knowing the material and condition it's a guess. Depending how bad it is warped it's hard to say weather tap water will be hot enough. It won't be unless you have hotter water for a dishwasher, but that is only 120 degrees, so it would take much longer to heat up, if it even gets hot enough.
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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    rcc56 and pops1 - i can't thank you enough for sharing your expertise and showing me how to proceed when I'm ready.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Dan, in case you end up planning to reconstructing the pick guard, pm me for information on the source for the material.

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    Default Re: Lyon and Healy warped finger rest

    Have you seen the steam set ups the people shaping cowboy hats use? Just a tube of hot steam pumped out and heats the felt hats and allows the shellac or whatever binds the wood to loosen enough to move. If you are worried about boiling it maybe just steam an edge to see what it takes to loosen it enough, once you know that you'll know where to go with the boiling. Just a thought.
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