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Day 1: Shin Ichikawa arrived yesterday from Japan . . .

. . . We spent today looking at the Banjo Killer, photographing the flood damage, confirming a plan of action, and starting in on the daunting task of restoration.

The basic plan is to totally disassemble, then reassemble, the guitar, leaving as much of the original finish intact as possible.

Two big questions are: What to do with the badly distorted fretboard extension, and how to deal to deal with the moldy interior? If anyone has an approach to killing mold that doesn't use water (which could further distort body parts and cause havoc with reassembly), please let us know.

Shin spent the afternoon removing the back binding. His approach was to slice through the finish at the binding joint using straightedged razor with a gillotine motion, gently heat the binding with a hair dryer, then carefully pry with a tiny spatual.

Voila! The binding came off in one piece, with butt joint intact. Awesome job, Shin.

I intended to remove the back only and reglue all top braces, blocks and linings with the top on the rim. But the back binding came off so easily we may now remove the top binding and top, then totally reassemble the rim, top and back separately.

We'll see.

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