Removing Rusted Screws, Relic Blues Junior

Hey, how would you like a pile of rust in your amp? No problem, just remove the cover screws from your Relic Blues Junior… if you can. These required heavy persuasion, heat, and an impact tool. Two of them were destroyed in the process–and I’m good at this kind of stuff.

What was Fender thinking–putting in fully rusted screws that were probably acid-dipped, and not passivated, so they continued to corrode after installation. Why not just “relic” the heads?

Click for larger image.

To remove the back screws, Lay the amp on its face. Put a little penetrating oil around the base of the head. Don’t get it in the Philips hole–you want a good grip there, not lubrication. Don’t worry about oil staining the tweed. It’s a Relic, right? Heat the head with a large soldering iron. Then use a fresh #2 Phillips screwdriver that really grips well and turn the screw back and forth, tiny amounts, with lots of down pressure, to break the rust. You should be able to turn it a little more each time. As soon as you have a little space under the head, protect the cab with a piece of manila folder, then switch to vice-grips. Grab the head and continue the back-and-forth. Apply more heat, more penetrating oil. If a back screw breaks off, you’ll still be able to lift the back off the stub of remaining threads.

For the side screws, lay the amp on its side, then reach around the chassis to drip some penetrating oil on the threads. Turn it on the other side and apply penetrating oil to the other side. Then heat the head with a large soldering iron until you can’t keep your hand on the thread behind the chassis anymore. The oil will smoke, but it won’t burn.

Then use a fresh #2 Phillips screwdriver that really grips well and turn the screw back and forth, tiny amounts, with lots of down pressure, to break the rust. You should be able to turn it a little more each time. As soon as you have a little space under the head, protect the cab with a piece of manila folder, then switch to vice-grips. Grab the head and continue the back-and-forth. Apply more heat, more penetrating oil.

The procedure is the same for the top screws. If the head breaks off, slide a fine hacksaw blade between the cab and the chassis. Do what you can to protect the cab from the side of the blade. (Don’t use a ripple blade; find a straight one.) Cut off the stub. Drill the remainder out of the chassis. You’ll probably destroy the captive nut in the process and will have to replace it. Thanks, Fender.

Clean the threads out with a 10-32 tap. Lubricate them. Replace all the screws with 10-32 truss-head screws (that’s what those big pan heads are called). You can get them in black oxide, which looks good on the Relic. I replace them with stainless steel, but scar up the heads with sandpaper and a file, then rub black and brown paint into the scratches to give a rusty appearance.

2 Comments

  1. MikeD says:

    Hi Bill, I forgot to reinstall the screws to the back cover after changing tubes. I later I realized the threw them out in a house cleaning purge. Any idea how I can get more of them?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.