I am determined to get it playing again. That's the easy part. Fixing the minor finish damage may take a little creativity. I've never worked on a painted guitar before. I may try to remove the neck without a jig next time.
I sanded a .08" wedge off of the heel, a number I thought would get me in the ballpark, hopefully slightly short and I'd have to sand off a little more.
I glued some shims to the heel dovetail and sanded them until I got a very snug fit, a fit I hope would not budge under string tension.
I installed a set of EJ-16's, tuned to standard D. The heel is rock solid, no gap under tension. YAY!!!
BUT, I find the action is 1/32" for both E's. DANG!! Sanded off too much!! I need to add 1/16" under the bridge, which happens to be the thickness of a tongue depressor.
Now the action is 1/16" for both E's. Close enough for now.
The nut action is quite high. Not surprised.
AND!!! It sounds dreadful. A honking blues box. At least it will look good hanging on the wall.
There's still plenty of work to do. Make a shim for the bridge. Make a shim for under the fretboard extension, the top is a bit sunken around the sound hole. Polish out the finish blushing from using the steam to remove the neck. And finish touch up. And of course glue the neck back on.
This morning I had an "AH HA!!" moment! I had overset the neck (taken slightly too much off of the heel) and was planning on shimming the adjustable bridge.
BUT!! Fixing the neck angle is removing material in the shape of a triangle. If I've made the triangle too big I can make another triangle on the opposite side! In this case, I can take a little material off the TOP of the heel vs. the BOTTOM. The .06" error at the saddle/3.8 (the heel length to heel-saddle ratio) = .016" off the TOP of the heel.
The hard part is you can't measure what you're taking off. It's a guess. Well, my first guess worked. Tuned to D, the action is a hair over 1/16". I assume tuning to E will increase that slightly. Good enough!! It'll be playable!! And the guitar sounds awful, so it doesn't matter all that much. But there's finish repair to do first before I can glue it back together. And then hope it ends up where I think it will be.
Impressive to tackle that job..my skill level is over taxed sanding a saddle. FB marketplace had one of those guitars posted last week for $400.00. It had the same headstock and color as yours.
There was a Kay version of this on Shopgoodwill.com. I was considering getting it if it stayed around $50. Now that I've heard one, I'll pass. I have another wall hanger. Dont need any more wall hangers.
I had a few tough days trying to touch up some of the black paint, including the bottom of the heel. I hit it with a hair dryer a few times and put a second coat on the next day instead of waiting 48 or more hours like they suggest. And it shriveled!!! Then I waited a day for it to harden and I sanded most of it off.
3 days ago I made a tapered shim to go under the fretboard extension to take up the gap made by taking material off of the heel. The maple fretboard is very stiff, unlike a rosewood board. I epoxied it in place and was fine tuning the fit an hour later. And a few minutes here and there for the next 2 days. Along with fine tuning the heel fit to the guitar. I thought it was sitting good, but I found a slight rock side to side. A couple of sessions of fine sanding in the right spot and it sits much better.
2 days ago I brushed on another coat of black paint on the bottom of the heel, and on the edges of the new fretboard extension shim.
Yesterday I finished the heel fit and sanded and polished the brass frets. It looks like they leveled the fretboard with 80 grit sandpaper and left it rough. So I taped each fret (this is a finished maple fretboard) and sanded each fret with 360 grit and 0000 steel wool. They look pretty good. Not shiny. It'll be a wall hanger.
AND at 9pm yesterday, I decided I'm not messing with the paint again and declared the neck done and used hot hide glue to glue it back on. The neck projection looked to be where I wanted it. I won't know for sure until I string it up. Maybe tonight.