Removing a mandolin top
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Removing the top of a mandolin

   For many of the repairs to the top of a mandolin, and some to the back as well, it is much easier with the top removed. This is usually a fairly simple procedure, especially if the top has partly lifted off already. Below is a step by step guide to top removal.

 A mandolin with damage to the interior struts, and a lack of good linings. The top must be removed to remedy these problems.    If the fingerboard is not to be taken off first, then it must be cut at fret 10, after removal of the 10th fret. Saw deep enough to cut the f/b AND the top, which often extends up under the f/b.

   On this mandolin, the already damaged tulipwood edging must be removed before the top can be removed. It is usually not possible to get it off intact.

   With the edging removed, work a scraper into any open seams and twist gently.

   The hardest spots are under the struts. Insert the scraper under the strut and twist firmly.

   Here the top and back are separated, and work can begin on any repairs.

   With the more traditional lozenge edging, the edging should be taped up first. If you are lucky, it will come off intact, and pieces won't get lost or mixed up.    If there are no cracks, you will be forced to make some into the side seams. A particular problem is often the tail and heelblocks, which are often more strongly glued having greater surface areas than other glued points.

   After taping, the scraper is inserted into a crack, and removal procedes as above.

   Work around the edges, making entry via cracks, and working towards any resistent sections, twisting the scraper gently as you go.

   Here part of the edging has come away cleanly, but other sections have remain glued and broken. This is fairly typical.

   These can be remove afterwards, and re-glued to the main sections before re-gluing.

   If necessary, after removal of the top the finger-board can removed later.

   Here the taped edging has remained almost completely intact.....

   ... and the same top from beneath. It is also possible to see small areas that have been 'cut through' when the edging was fitted. This may need remedying before re-fitting.