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Thread: DIY guitar knob puller?

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    DIY guitar knob puller?

    $53.13 for this knob puller??



    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools...ng_Puller.html

    I think that we could make one for under 10 bucks. I can get the clear plastic tube from the local plastic fabricator shop and for the metal jaws sheet metal stock from a hardware store could be hammered using a small vise (unless you can find something better.) The rubber cushioning on the bottom should only be needed when pulling bushings, not guitar knobs.

    As for a bushing puller I already made one of those from a PVC fitting and nuts, bolts & washers.

    screenshot_2016-04-16-02-10-54.jpg

    Steve Ahola

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    I use a couple of pieces of 16 Ga. (about 1/16" thick) bent into an "L" shape. A little bit of electrical tape to protect the guitar top. You can bend that stuff with just a vice. A better bet would be to get 1 1/2" square tubing (double check the inside clearance) and drill holes in opposite sides. Use a Dremel to open one hole into a slot. If you can buy just the material you need should be well under 10 dollars.
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  3. #3
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    I can get the clear plastic tube from the local plastic fabricator shop
    At first I was wondering 'why do you need a clear plastic safety housing? In case the knob explodes?'

    Heck that thing looks like the housing could be made from a plastic jar, it reminds me of some brand of instant coffee (Folgers?) or bouillon cubes. Saw off the bottom, drill a hole in the top, bob's yer uncle. Yes a big washer on top to keep the plastic from splitting. A little threaded rod, homemade knob picker & off you go.

    So far I've never really needed one thanx hevvins.

    My problem knobs are the ones that don't want to pull, and the skirt's jam up next to the surface, no "good" place to slip a tool in. But I've managed to get 'em off anyway.

    The super problem knobs don't respond well to pulling. In a couple cases I've yanked on the knob, the shaft comes out with it, then I find it's a collet knob! D'OH!
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  4. #4
    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Stew Mac has some odd stuff. Getting the metal puller down below the bottom of the cylinder, so it can slide sideways onto the knob, loots like it would take >20 rotations of the wingnut up top, with an equal number to have the cylinder sit on the face and actually pull said knob. I guess if its a +$200k 1954 Strat...

  5. #5
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    At first I was wondering 'why do you need a clear plastic safety housing? In case the knob explodes?'

    Heck that thing looks like the housing could be made from a plastic jar, it reminds me of some brand of instant coffee (Folgers?) or bouillon cubes. Saw off the bottom, drill a hole in the top, bob's yer uncle. Yes a big washer on top to keep the plastic from splitting. A little threaded rod, homemade knob picker & off you go.

    So far I've never really needed one thanx hevvins.

    My problem knobs are the ones that don't want to pull, and the skirt's jam up next to the surface, no "good" place to slip a tool in. But I've managed to get 'em off anyway.
    The clear tube is to make sure that the puller stays centered on the knob- otherwise you might damage the knob or the pot.

    I use half of a wooden clothespin to pry many knobs off; I even got some sheet metal to slide under it to protect the guitar from damage. Many people online recommend using dental floss but I doubt that most of them have tried it.

    Richard: I was initially thinking of 2" square metal tubing but you can't just buy a few inches of it. Browsing through Ace Hardware or Goodwill might turn up something that would work...

    I used to the HVAC service mgr at a sheet metal shop and they could fabricate anything I wanted. {sigh!}

    Steve Ahola

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    g1
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    2 offset screw drivers and a couple strips of rubber for protectors and you can pretty much put the same pressure in the same spots. And I bet it's a lot faster too.
    beta_tools_1236b_screwdriver.54ad68054f00c.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    In my ideal world, I'm not too loud - your room is too small!

  7. #7
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    A very Cool Tool!
    I still use the old blade from a wide blade table knife, with a paper towel under it.
    It works great, and I've popped hundreds of strat knobs off with it!
    No issues.
    T
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    Technicians Run the World, but Bankers, Lawyers, and Accountants, Take All The Credit!
    Keep Rockin! B_T
    Terry

  8. #8
    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    71rapuizmdl._sl1500_.jpg

    Spark Plug Pliers $8

    or this also from StewMac $8.50


    diy

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  9. #9
    g1
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    And similar to the black StewMac tool Ted posted above is the good 'ol IC extractor.
    Nice ones like this are around $15, simple ones without the span lock are probably a buck or two.
    1598-00.jpg
    Mick Bailey likes this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    In my ideal world, I'm not too loud - your room is too small!

  10. #10
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Luv all these lo-tech solutions especially Terry's old butter knife. Another item, the mini wrecking-bar (and burglary tool) sometimes referred to as a cat's paw.

    I can see how machining or filing the part of your knob-remover thin, so it can fit under a knob jammed on so there's little or no gap between skirt & surface, would be a good idea. That feature's already there with the butter knife, cat's paw & a couple other gadgets.

    Another old fave pry tool is the bent blade screwdriver, handy old item used for everything. Mine's filed thin at the end, can't get along without it. I remember buying it at the gas station in downtown Concord Mass, Thanksgiving weekend 1971. On the tool rack there's the other two cheapos I got at the same time, 3 for a buck. Had a minor panic when I bent it way back when, then realized it's still a useful tool, maybe even more useful now. Still around, still at work.
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  11. #11
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tedmich View Post
    ... this also from StewMac* $8.50
    I bought one of those and it does not exert enough force to remove tight knobs (the legs pop out under pressure.)

    BTW Strat knobs are easy to pull because the pickguard doesn't get screwed up like a nitro finish on a LP, etc....

    Steve

  12. #12
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    try a ribbon or rope thin enough to get under the knob. Tie it into a loop, get it under both sides to help give you leverage and pull up. Worked for me for a slippery knob on a Marshall SE100. (If you save the ribbons, thin rope from chocolate, (or whatever) packaging it's free.)

    (BUT FIRST! ) make sure the knob being pulled isn't a colett knob (these have a brass insert that clamps around the pot shaft which you need to loosen before you can remove the knob. There is also AFAIK always a cap which you need to remove to access a screw or nut which loosens the colett).
    mozz likes this.

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    I use an old IC extractor that came with an Apple II service kit. Top quality steel, properly hardened and does the trick.

    When faced with stuck knobs on a vintage instrument (or amp) it's worthwhile mentally running through the options to give the most even and controlled pressure. Some of those old knobs have brittle plastic and the pot shafts can corrode inside them. Replacements can be difficult and expensive to find if one breaks. I had a vintage Hofner where a previous owner had attempted to remove the volume knob and it split about a third off and then the broken piece got lost. I ended up taking an impression off the remaining good side and using this to form a mould to re-cast the missing section because that particular knob was unobtainable.
    tedmich likes this.

  14. #14
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    And similar to the black StewMac tool Ted posted above is the good 'ol IC extractor.
    Nice ones like this are around $15, simple ones without the span lock are probably a buck or two.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I never saw one with the span lock before but it should be simple enough to add one if actually needed. I've got one of them around here... SOMEWHERE but ordered another one from Amazon for around $5. Thanks!

    Steve A.

  15. #15
    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    The StewMac catalog is full of funny jokes. I use a shoelace. They're flat, and thin, and will slide easily under the knob. I slide part of the lace under both sides of the knob to apply even pressure. Trying to pry knobs off by levering against the finish in any way can be pretty destructive.
    Steve A., Richard, g1 and 1 others like this.

  16. #16
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    The StewMac catalog is full of funny jokes. I use a shoelace. They're flat, and thin, and will slide easily under the knob. I slide part of the lace under both sides of the knob to apply even pressure.
    And I'll bet a tough nylon/dacron/polypro shoelace costs but a tiny fraction of StewMac's $53.13. Besides, when you're done pulling the knob, you can put it back to work in your shoe. Try that with their gadget.
    Justin Thomas and John_H like this.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    $53.13 for this knob puller??



    Schatten Knob and Bushing Puller | stewmac.com

    I think that we could make one for under 10 bucks. I can get the clear plastic tube from the local plastic fabricator shop and for the metal jaws sheet metal stock from a hardware store could be hammered using a small vise (unless you can find something better.) The rubber cushioning on the bottom should only be needed when pulling bushings, not guitar knobs.

    As for a bushing puller I already made one of those from a PVC fitting and nuts, bolts & washers.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve Ahola
    A friend of mine sent me one of those for christmas this year. He had it laying around and never used it so he passed it on. I doubt he spent 50 bucks on it though, he's very thrifty. Came in real handy when putting together a parts strat and had to change the ferrels/bushings(?) for the two point trem. Worked like a charm. so it's not just for knobs
    ~Semi-No0b Hobbyist~

  18. #18
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mort View Post
    A friend of mine sent me one of those for christmas this year. He had it laying around and never used it so he passed it on. I doubt he spent 50 bucks on it though, he's very thrifty. Came in real handy when putting together a parts strat and had to change the ferrels/bushings(?) for the two point trem. Worked like a charm. so it's not just for knobs
    I built my own bushing puller out of a PVC fitting (a 1" female adaptor, I believe), some nuts and bolts and washers. I glued Velcro "loops" to bottom to protect guitar finish.

    Even if you are not replacing the bushings you can reinsert them with carpenters glue (Titebond I) to very possibly increase sustain and improve tone.

    For knobs I like John's idea of a shoelace!

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. StewMac's tool prices have gone up considerably over the past 10 or 15 years...

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    yeah I like the shoelace idea too. very thrifty.
    ~Semi-No0b Hobbyist~

  20. #20
    g1
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    Funny thing, looking back at the original pic from stewmac, has that tool not damaged the pot and popped the shaft partly out?
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    In my ideal world, I'm not too loud - your room is too small!

  21. #21
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Or maybe it's a "push-pull"?
    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

  22. #22
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mort View Post
    yeah I like the shoelace idea too. very thrifty.
    Have you looked at shoelace prices lately? Figure $4.50 a pair at Walgreens!

    Steve

  23. #23
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Or maybe it's a "push-pull"?
    It sure looks like one which is really stupid because there is absolutely no issue removing the knobs from a push-pull pot- the problem is making sure that they stay on the shaft.

    Steve
    g1 and The Dude like this.

  24. #24
    Old Timer oc disorder's Avatar
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    I think this came up before on this forum where someone suggested a barbecue fork .
    It works, the one I have but possibly not a good idea for vintage guitars.
    Of course felt could be glued to the underside of the fork.
    I agree G1 .Looking at that top photo it appears the shaft has been pulled out of the pot casing.

  25. #25
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oc disorder View Post
    I think this came up before on this forum where someone suggested a barbecue fork .
    It works, the one I have but possibly not a good idea for vintage guitars.
    Of course felt could be glued to the underside of the fork.
    Great idea! FWIW I was looking for a meat fork two years ago and could not find one in any retail store... had to go to Goodwill.

    I agree G1 .Looking at that top photo it appears the shaft has been pulled out of the pot casing.
    C'mon, erebody... it's a push-pull pot!





    Steve A.

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    They don't sell meat forks anywhere now. When I last asked they looked at my like I was talking Greek or was some kind of perv. It's really curious to me now, I might need to start collecting them until I own every last one. That should slow down the turkey carving on thanksgiving. I wonder if it's a conspiracy or just a liability issue, more likely people stopped buying them because they look fricken scary.
    Well at least we can pull the damn knobs off the turkey with this POS.

  27. #27
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by David King View Post
    They don't sell meat forks anywhere now. When I last asked they looked at my like I was talking Greek or was some kind of perv.
    1) Maybe it's a regional thing, but I would call it a carving fork. If you asked me for a "meat fork", I would guess you meant "dinner fork" or "the one that isn't a salad fork".

    2) How old were the "they" you asked? This sounds crazy, but it seems that many "kids" are so plugged in to their cyber-world that they aren't aware of common real-world objects. At the local Target, I asked three young "sales associates" if they carried pipe cleaners. Two gave blank stares, and one said "I think we used to have them in the plumbing department." When I began to explain, they (obviously annoyed that I was keeping them from their screens) glared as though I were a giant turd, and assured me in a "go away before I call security" tone that they couldn't possibly help me.

    PS- I never did find pipe cleaners at Target, but they do carry meat forks.
    http://www.target.com/c/cutlery-kitc.../N-5xtraZ5uj9o
    Last edited by rjb; 04-24-2016 at 03:34 PM. Reason: fixed link, changed slug to turd

  28. #28
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    Didja mean for that to link a Prince video? Something funny with the attachments tonight... Enzo's schem in the Twin thread was dead, too...

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
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  29. #29
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Didja mean for that to link a Prince video?
    No. I think it's fixed now.

  30. #30
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Didja mean for that to link a Prince video?
    Didn't Prince use his teeth to remove his guitar knobs? Oh yeah, that was King (King Jimi, of course!)

    Steve

    P.S. BTW I ordered an IC puller from Amazon and it kinda worked removing 2 of 4 knobs from a 2013 LPJ, one of which went flying. I will try adding holes and maybe even tapping one of them to be able to use a thumb screw instead of very small nut and bolt.
    Last edited by Steve A.; 04-24-2016 at 09:09 PM.

  31. #31
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    This mini-pry bar worked perfectly!

    I just ran across this tool in one of my many tool boxes and have no idea when and where I bought it. Before snapping these pictures I looked on-line for them. No such luck. In any event I was able to pry off the other two knobs on my guitar du jour, a 2013 Gibson LPJ, putting a songbook under the wider radius fulcrum point to prevent damage to the body.

    Note: There are no markings on the tool and some of the edges of the handle portion are a bit rough. Total length is around 9 inches. If anyone knows of a current source for this tool please chime in!









    0425161730.jpg

    0425161731.jpg

    0425161729_20160425204815239.jpg

    0425161731_20160425205142606.jpg

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. This $15.99 pry bar/scraper set from Rockler looks like it would work okay, too. Just be sure to put something under the fulcrum point that will absorb the pressure to protect the body from dings. A magazine with a decent thickness would work. Perhaps put a shop rag under the magazine to prevent the transference of ink to the body.



    Stainless Steel Pry Bar and Scraper Set | Rockler Woodworking and Hardware


    screenshot_2016-04-25-21-24-10.jpg
    Last edited by Steve A.; 04-26-2016 at 05:15 AM.

  32. #32
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Not as fancy as anything here, but I often times use a small needle nose and a shop rag to protect the body. I can usually get the tip(s) of the needle nose under the knob and straddling the pot shaft. It works pretty well, albeit an "on the fly" solution.
    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

  33. #33
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    Steve, your tool is a brake adjusting tool.
    Back in the dark ages vehicles had drum brakes, with a slot in the backing plate, (or drum) to gain access to the adjuster. I think I have 6 or more with different angles, and offsets to fit many, (but of course not all), of the applications.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=brak...8QsAQIVQ&dpr=1

    [Sorry, Bill, but the rest of your post was lost when I inadvertently clicked on "Edit Post" rather than "Reply with Quote" in composing the following post. Steve Ahola not-so-super moderator"]
    Last edited by Steve A.; 04-27-2016 at 03:15 PM.
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  34. #34
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Thanks, Bill, for IDing the tool! The one I have has no markings so I suspect that it was made in Asia. The chromed surface is very smooth and the larger bend has a wider radius than most of what turned up in a Google search. One listing called it a "brake adjustment spoon" which I found to be very apt.

    Steve Ahola

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    Steve, the added link was to a Snap-On version of the tool you have, $40 or so!

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