Okay and thanks for your inquiries. (1.) I don't know much about Ruben Esquivel, other than what was told to me by John Truitt who was the vice president of guitar studies at the University of New Mexico. I purchased the guitar from him. And a second Esquivel guitar was sold by Stan Berg at the Guitar Vista in Albuquerque. All I really know is that the guitar was built under the watchful eye of Lorenzo Pimentel in his shop. I think Esquivel was a student of his. I believe he is in Florida now but I don't know for sure.
(2) Removing the top is not all that difficult if you have the right tools and do it VERY carefully. Begin by pulling the 12th fret and razor saw cut through the fingerboard. Everyone probably has their own way of removing a top, but I use a Dremel tool with a cutter bit and a guide. (3) I think you could find a comparable rosette, so no I wouldn't try to use the old one. (4) It takes me about a week to replace a top if I don't have a lot of interruptions. But this would depend on your wood working skill level I think. (5) The guitar is beautiful beneath all the scratches and worn finish. If it were me I would strip it and refinish the entire instrument. That said, there is the school of thought to just leave it alone and polish up the original patina. It would be a personal choice if you replaced the top. I just went down to my shop to measure the top and it's right at 2 mm. I also looked it over again and really you could just leave it alone except for top if you wanted to replace it. It seems to have been repaired by several luthiers. You can go to my site to see a before and after montage of a classical guitar I restored from South America bluewaterguitars.com
When I first bought the Esquivel I was going to just do a complete restore since it was such a nice instrument but just have been too busy. I had listed the guitar for considerably less here locally but this isn't exactly the best place to offer nylon stringed instruments. So I upgraded it (new tuners) and did a few more repairs on the top. That said I would take less for it without a case or tuning machines if you wanted to clean it up yourself.
All THAT said, You just leave it alone and play it! I played the guitar for a local newspaper crew who was doing a story on my guitars and the team lit up when I played the Esquivel. The general reaction was "wow". But being the perfectionist (an illness with no known cure) I just would like to see it restored. I'll see if I can attach a couple more photos.
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"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Segovia