I forgot to mention. 3 days ago I removed the neck. It was NOT FUN!! I figured the broken heel would separate And I'd have to press the lower piece out separately. NOPE!!! It wiggled a bit, just enough that I couldn't wiggle the lower piece to loosen it. When I finally got the neck off the bottom of the heel has softened from the steam and had deformed. It's a good thing I'm going to strip and refinish the whole neck, otherwise, this would have been a disaster!! I clamped the neck & heel in the vise to hold them together until they dried.
The next day I did my best to spread the crack and wipe Titebond into it. A lot!! Then reclamped it.
Last night I carefully drilled holes to pin the heel from both sides. The fun part is eyeballing the compound angle while drilling and not come out the side!! Then put some epoxy in the holes and press in the dowels. Pay no attention to the epoxy slopped all over the place. It'll all be sanded away during the neck reset.
The heel is a bit deformed from the extra steaming to get the neck off.
I forgot to take pictures before I started sanding the neck.
Also 2 days ago I spent about an hour repeatedly steaming a large dented area on the back of the neck. It's the worst I've ever seen, at least in the amount of area it covered. The worst of it was about 1/16" deep!!!
MANY steaming sessions, repeated again last night.
I think this is after steaming.
The shaft of the neck is 98% sanded. A bit of the worst of the dent is still visible.
Tonight I plugged holes in the headstock. I'm planning on putting the bass tuners in the upper & lower holes and plug the middle holes. Hopefully, it works. I never verified the 25" scale strings are long enough.
I bought a plug cutter set at Lowe's for $24, including 5/16", 3/8" & 1/2". I wasn't impressed. The cutting edges had some burrs on them. Worst case, if they didn't work, I'd go to Woodcraft in the morning and buy a probably better quality plug cutter for half of what I paid for these 3. Woodcraft is a half hour away thru crappy traffic. Lowe's is in town.
The plugs. I need (2) rosewood (for the top face) and (2) mahogany (for the bottom face). Hopefully they match after sanding. I forgot to mention. I made the plugs from the face of the boards, not the end grain like a piece of dowel would be. They have grain and will finish like the existing wood, not have the finish soak in and end up dark.
The back of the headstock.
The front plugged.
The back plugged.
The screw holes plugged with toothpicks.
I did all the plugging before sanding, hoping the sanding will bring all the plugs flush to the finished surface.
Lots of "progress" today!! By progress, I mean 1 step forward, 3 steps back!!
I sent the following to my mentor in Colorado:
I've sanded all the finish off of the neck. Yea, that was fun!! They used the dark stain to hide that the lower heel piece is some kind of crap wood.
But, the biggest problem is worse than I thought. The heel is very distorted, as I already knew. AND it looks like it compressed 1/4"!!!!! I knew I squished it a bit, but I had no idea it was that bad!!
It's going to take a while to get the heel to fit the body again. A lot needs to come off, but now there will be more taken off in the middle than the end. AND I'm going to have to make a 1/4" thick heel cap.
AND, because of the sanding of the neck, there are finish gaps visible on the body, when the neck is in place.
I'm not even sure where to start!!!!
Because the heel is distorted sideways also, I'm thinking of taking another 1/4" off to get it back to where it's not curved on one side. The 1/2" thick cap should probably be pinned to be sure it doesn't pop off during the neck reset.
I think that should be first. Then the difficult neck reset.
I also need to fill in the finish on the body at the heel area. I've used a marker and shellac with pretty good results. I should do that last so it doesn't get damaged during the neck reset.
I already filled in a couple of the areas of the side that was torn out by the heel. That has to be done so I have a flat area to be able to sand the heel.
That makes me think of a joke I heard today. The doctor walks into the delivery room and introduces himself as Juan. The father says "Help me O.B. Juan, you're my only hope.".
Lots of progress in the last couple of days. I made many changes to the bridge design. A complete 180! I ditched the tailblock and individual saddles idea and went back to a pin bridge but an archtop type saddle! Adjustable for intonation and action. I doubt there's anything like it in the world! And it fits in the existing bridge footprint!
I've since moved the pin holes .08" towards the saddle. That should make the bridge stronger. I still worry a bit about those big pins splitting the bridge. I'll have to be careful to not drive them in.
I also bought (1) each sets of cream and black bridge pins. Not sure which will look best. Only $13 shipped!
Then I realized I don't have a tapered reamer that big!! I've read acoustic bass bridge pins are just regular guitar endpins with a string groove. So I bought an endpin reamer on eBay from a vendor in the US. $8, I think.
I almost forgot to order the thumbwheels!! Ordered (3) sets, just in case. $18.