I taught myself how to disassemble S&W revolvers simply by observing what was going on with the sideplate off.
Regarding the sideplate...
NEVER EVER attempt to remove it by prying it off! You'll bend it, bugger the frame, and it will never look right again.
I use a Phillips head screwdriver for my rebound slide spring removal. Works great.
The best reason to disassemble is so that you can properly lubricate the internals with a layer of gun grease. Grease is FAR better than oil in the closed environments of a Smith revolver as it stays where you put it. Oil slowly (or quickly) runs away, leaving you with a dry gun that is difficult to relubricate.
And, I have to disagree with the advice to use WD-40. It is far too light an oil to provide any real long-term lubrication value, and it can (being a penetrating oil) get where you don't want it, such as the primers in rounds that are carried in the gun.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.