Yesterday I started working on the neck angle, setting the tape on the heel at .04" and pull sanding to the tape. The neck projection was .06" below the bridge. Used the Dremel to undercut the heel more (faster than rasp & chisel), set the tape at .04" again, filed the heel and sanded to the tape. The neck projects .015" above the bridge.
Time to put it in the neck jig with string tension and see where it is. Tuned to "D", the neck projects .05" below the top of the bridge and the action is a little under 1/8" low E & 7/64" high E. The strings are 1/32" off center.
This is with the new saddle that sticks out of the bridge .17".
I reset the tape at .04" and filed & sanded to .03". I also took .030" off the bottom of the nut. The nut action is close. The neck now projects .01" below the top of the bridge low E & even high E. The action is 3/32" low E & 5/64" high E. I sent an email asking about strings, action and tuning. It'll be a while before the finial stringing, I still have to figure out how to fix all the finish damage.
I received the guitar with the strings about 1/32" off center, and they still are. So I filed the edge of the pickguard and the whole length of the bass side of the heel to pivot the whole neck slightly. It worked, the strings look to be centered, but manually filing the bass side I ended up taking a little too much off of the bottom and there's a slight gap. And somehow the action went up slightly, even though I did 6 pulls with the sandpaper on both sides! It 's up to a little over 3/32 low E & a little under 3/32" high E. I need to set it at 5/64" low E & 1/16" high E. I'm thinking I should leave it as is and think about the finish mess. Then finish the action.
OK, I couldn't wait. I used the Black & Red Mahogany lacquer touch up markers on the neck & heel area. I have to find out how long to wait before applying more.
It's been a week. I did some touch ups with the red mahogany lacquer marker. And building up the chips in the neck with the black lacquer marker. The red mahogany looks a bit dark. The black is almost level with the old finish.
Building up the black.
The ugly view.
Most of it is covered by the heel.
But sanding the taper on the heel to correct the neck angle leaves the bottom of the heel area more exposed.
Today I used alcohol on a Q-tip to remove the high spots of the red mahogany marker. And added some amber clear lacquer over it to build it up. It will take a few coats, with a day between. I think getting it smooth is more important than a perfect color match. The areas will have to be scraped and lightly sanded, attempting to not sand thru the finish.
After swabbing with alcohol. It looks a bit better.
Added some clear lacquer. Yea, it's ugly again. It will be lower as the lacquer evaporates. I'll have to build up a few coats in the deeper areas.
The neck finishing is done. It's not perfect, but it's black and shiny and you won't notice the tiny defects unless you're looking for them. In most cases the pictures make it look worse than it actually is.
After sanding with Micromesh and polishing.
Added tape to keep the polish off of the dovetail.
The body finishing is done!! Again, it doesn't look as bad in person as the reflections in the picture make it look.
After sanding, polishing and buffing.
I shouldn't have used so much of the mahogany tinted lacquer, but around the heel it blends into the black neck.
Overall, I'm happy with it. I can't be chasing perfection and risk scraping/sanding thru the mahogany stain and have to start over. It's been a little over 3 weeks messing with filling the defects, occasionally waiting 3 days before I can scrape and see where it is.
Here's the BEFORE pictures.
Some small chips in the finish and a slight mismatch in the crack.
I am VERY relieved that this part is over. Now I can get back to the neck reset and finish this. The other 2 guitars I picked up at the same time as this, were delivered yesterday. I hope to have the neck back on in the next couple of days, then let it sit for 2 to 4 weeks to settle in with full string tension.
The 12th thru 15th frets are crowned & sanded. They were leveled because of the typical "14th fret hump".
And I pull sanded the heel a few times, having to undercut the heel once. Had to touch up a little where a few small chips of black lacquer flaked off. The neck projects .04" above the top of the bridge. The action is 5/64" low E & 1/16" high E (with the first fret pressed).
Need to add shims to the dovetail, then the neck is ready to be glued on!!
Today I glued the shims on the dovetail and sanded them to fit the neck in the pocket. Then glued the neck on with fish glue. It's back together!!
Tomorrow I'll put the 2 other strings on, tune it, and see where it is. Then fit and glue the heel cap back on. Then all that's left is let it sit and wait for 2-4 weeks. And play it once in a while. Even with the old strings, and clamped in the neck jig, it sounds great.
Last night I sanded and glued the heel cap on. Sanding the excess off the heel cap was fun. It must have taken close to an hour. The side of the guitar isn't flat, there's about a 30" radius. I had to sand until I matched the radius, they keep the radius as I continued to slowly sand about 1/16" off.
And today I removed the tape.
The guitar sounds great! I wanted to hear what it sounds like with new strings, so I finished it. He's probably going to want it back next weekend. I'd like the strings to settle in for a week.
Sanded the radii on the ends of the saddle.
Oiled and cleaned the fretboard with Howard Feed 'N Wax and 0000 steel wool, lightly glued the nut in place with 2 small dabs of Titebond, and installed EJ16's.