just curious, what happened or will happen inside the "sock"?
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I had a conversation several years ago with Richard Vandersteen on a very similar idea (I have a full Vandersteen system), and he implied that "getting the sock off" is more difficult than suggested here. You might be well advised to contact Vandersteen by phone. Richard is usually very good about talking to customers, and you will probably get information that will make your project easier, or at least minimize mistakes.
The phone number for the Vandersteen factory is:
Jvia is correct in what he stated - "Pull the base, not the top, then the sock is usually stapled and glued to the bottom. Pull staples carefully of course, then work sock down carefully, just as a nylon hose on a beautiful woman lets say. If you are careful you should be able to access all drivers without removing speaker terminal."
I did this a couple of years ago and the biggest problem was releasing the bases from the glue. Be patient and careful and it should come off. All the drivers are accessible, tweeter is a little hard. I had to get the mids out due to the surrounds going bad. To restaple the sock, I used an electric stable gun and 1/4" staples and hammered down the ends if they didn't go in all the way. The bottoms stick back on the existing glue pretty well too.
Good luck. Oh, as far as the beautiful women thing goes, Jvia is correct there also......slow and easy is the ticket.