What about the Lupus Neck Heater or the Aria Neck Straightener? Do these really work at all? I've been collecting a few Stellas and such from the '30s and their necks are only slightly off... we're talking action at the 12th fret of 5/32 and maybe just slightly sharp at the intonation. It doesn't seem as though a reset is really worth it and I was wondering what experience any of you have had with these heating devices?

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Straightening necks with heat is matter of feel and experience. Some necks have a mind of their own. Some respond very well to the heat. I have had good outcomes with heat to straighten non-adjustable necks and some didn't seem to respond that well. Some caution is needed if their is plastic inlays or binding. The right amount of clamping will vary from neck to neck also.

I guess that what we're aiming for is, slipping the glue joint between the neck and fingerboard, so the type of glue that you're dealing with will come into play(I'm thinking hide glue in your case). Also, some people have mentioned that the heat will bend the actual wood of the neck ( much like bending sides, compressing the wood fibers of the back of neck and tensioning the wood fibers of the fretboard, or the other way around if you're dealing with a backbow). Frets will sometimes spring loose with the heat.

Some people use heat lamps to get the neck hot enough. Extreme caution must be used with heat lamps.

The best thing to do is experiment on lesser valued instruments to get a feel for it, and go with small increments. Slow and steady wins the race.

François L.
Is the action that high because of forward bow, neckset, or a combination?
the action is high because of a slight forward bow
A neck reset has no effect on neck bow, only the angle at which it meets the body. On the instrument you're describing a reset would be the wrong approach, regardless of cost.

I have used heatlamps to heat-straighten necks. No matter how you heat the thing, the results are unpredictable, and I always caution customers that it's a crapshoot.
I've never used a commercial made heating tool for this job,
What I have done is place a block between the nut and fret #1, and another where the neck attaches to the body. Lay a 2x4 on the blocks, and a padded clamp in the middle to create an upbow. Next wrap the neck in a heating pad(available at the drug store) and set in on the medium or high setting.
Set it aside for a couple weeks with the heating pad going.
This has worked for me but I'm not sure how permanent a fix it will be.

I like your method Jim - a lot safer that heat lamps - but a couple of weeks? Seems a bit long to me. Wouldn't a few hours be ample?
Have you tried shorter and come to this conclusion or is it one of our 'luthiers intuition' things?
A few hours wouldn't do it. The heat needs to penetrate the whole neck/fingerboard assembly, as these pads don't get that hot even on the high setting.
Maybe 2 weeks is too long, you could try it for a week and see what happens.
2 weeks is just an estimate of what I did the last time I used this method.

Basically I apply blocks, 2x4, and clamp, wrap in a heating pad, plug it in, and set it on a shelf and forget about it for awhile, and I'd just estimate I forgot about it for 2 weeks.
I'm sure I'm not applying enough heat to slip the glue joint, but with heat and the neck upbowed, I think the neck takes on this shape with time.

Hey thanks - I was thinking it was hot enough to slip the glue joint.
I'll have to try heated pads - I have no experience of them. I'm using heat lamps at the moment but it does feel like a very primitive method and not very accurate. And of course I've got to keep an eye on the lamps where as with your way I can be doing something else.
Ok, I'm off to the drug store
I just had a friend's Martin D-41 in with a majorly up-bowed neck (too much relief). The truss rod could only get it to 0.024." I tried loosening the rod and clamping it straight, as described, but it went right back to 0.024. Since it was under warranty, I advised the owner to have Martin fix it, but I'm curious if the heatpad trick might have worked. Maybe next time.


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