Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Guild F-50 Neck Reset Begins

Oh, it starts so innocently.  You do a few neck resets and you get the hang of it.  You own some Guild guitars that need neck resets.  You read the interwebs and people say how repair people charge extra to do Guilds.

Then you do one, and it goes swimmingly.  Easier, in fact than that Martin you just did.  "Self," you say to yourself, "is this Guild 'hard to reset' thing a myth?"

Thinking that it might be, you start in on another Guild.  A really fancy one.  And only then do you find out The Truth.

Which brings us, gentle reader, to the latest project.  A neck reset on a 1977 Guild F-50.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Guild (and Gibson...) finish their acoustic guitars after the neck and body are attached.  What this means for a neck removal is that you need to take some precautions to minimize damage, chipping, etc., to the finish on seams.

See the neck joint here - the finish is over the joint.

What we do is lightly score the seam (don't cut it) with a sharp utility knife.

 I also brushed on some lacquer thinner at the neck joint seam and the joint between the fingerboard extension and the top of the guitar.

You will see this guitar is maple and spruce...yummy.

So far, so good.  Nothing unusual.

I pull off the 15th fret, which is above the dovetail joint.  It goes extremely well - no chips come out of the fingerboard.

Then armed with my usual assortment of tools including my high-tech fingerboard extension heater, I start loosening the fingerboard extension.

This is where the fun starts.

It takes me an eternity, or a couple hours, to free up the extension.  Most of the extension heats up and frees up fine, but there is a huge glob of glue right under the 15th fret in the middle.  I cannot budge it.  It gets hot, but I can't get a knife into it!

I get the whole extension freed up, except for a circular area about 15mm in diameter.

I use 2 knives at once.  I heat the knives and dip them into hot water.  Finally I shoot some steam in from the soundhole end right at the glue glob.  I use a sharp seam separation saw on it, and this breaks it up enough, finally.

Now I drill some access holes into the dovetail.

The drill dropped down and I was pretty sure I had hit the dovetail.

So I put in in the neck removal jig and start steaming.

Long long story short, after about 15 minutes of steaming spread over a couple nights, the top part of the joint separates.  The bottom is still glued solid.  I've put pressure from the jig on it, but I'm leery about putting too much on - I don't want to crack the heel.

So I just got some longer drill bits and will have to see if I can get further into the joint.

In the Dan Erlewine neck removal video, he says that Guilds used a lot of glue when attaching the neck.  And apparently, instead of cleaning out the hide glue pots, they would just keep replenishing them "until the glue was green."

If that's true, it sure explains what I'm seeing.  I'm fairly confident it will come apart, it's just going to take patience.


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