A friend gave me an old beat up fiddle to play with, in pretty bad condition actually. I want to remove the neck and use it to construct a cigar box fiddle. Any recommendations on how to dis-assemble a fiddle without destroying it entirely?
It is most likely held together with hide glue, and heat will break the glue bond pretty easily. You can use a hair dryer or a heat gun. Go slowly and heat both the fingerboard and the neck from all directions. Slide an artist's palette knife between them as soon as you see the glue begin to give way. Should come off fairly easily. You can disassemble the rest the same way, if you want to. If you use a heat gun, be extra careful. They run hotter and can scorch the wood.
OK thanks. I will try the hair dryer first. I actually want to keep the fingerboard attached to the neck if I can.
Oh, sorry! Missed that part!
The neck is likely attached to the body with a dovetail join. So you'll need to pop off the top and then slide it out of the joint with heat and pressure. It is tricky to get in there, so you might end up taking the fingerboard off after all -- easy to put back on later!
So it is recommended to remove the top first instead of the back, if the back needs to be removed at all?