Hot-melt adhesives encountered in player rebuilding are unlikely to
be wax-based, as all the usual types have long been ethylene, vinyl
and polyamide copolymers. These are water insoluble and there are no
common practical solvents available for them.
However, their characteristics mean that they do not actually impregnate
solids like wood, and that when reheated judiciously with a hot air gun
they can usually be peeled or rolled off completely. And when heated
almost to a liquid any adhesive remaining in the pores of wood will
have a greater affinity than the wood itself for a lump of clean, warm,
sticky adhesive pressed on momentarily.
A clean piece of cotton sheeting can also be rolled onto melted adhesive
or ironed onto it. Make sure the fabric's dry and free of fabric
softener. When the adhesive has wicked into it and set just enough, it
can be peeled off completely by pulling the cloth back at just the right
angle. Use a hot air gun to re-heat as necessary.
Some older hot-melts did incorporate more low molecular weight olefins
which could leach into the surface of wood to a small degree under the
layer of hot-melt. Like any light oil they impair bonding by any
adhesive, but fortunately they can also be flashed off with a hot air
gun, or dissolved and wiped away quite easily by many common hydrocarbon
solvents (lighter fluid, contact adhesive solvent) or degreaser
detergents (dishwashing liquid, citrates, gunk, jizer).
Ultimately any adhesive or residue can be eliminated by abrading or
chiselling away enough of a surface, but it's best to avoid such damage
by trying the above methods first.
Wivenhoe, Essex, UK