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I have just gotten a 1954 D18 in my shop and even tho I have done resets before I have a question.  This is being done for a friend at a discounted price so I am trying to keep overall cost down.  My question:  To help lower finish damage would it be best to cut the fretboard at the neck/body join or leave the fretboard intact?  Not only did I give a good price but the customer sold the guitar to a soldier who will only be home from Afgan. for a few weeks and he would like to get the guitar before returning, so this has turned into a rush job.  "To cut or not to cut" is my question.

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Cutting off the fretboard tongue won't help you in this situation. If you are worried bout the steam damaging the finish, you can rig up a shop vac hose at the neck joint when steaming. Somewhere on his site, Frank Ford has some pictures of his similar but much more sophisticated set up.

I've reset a lot of Martins and have never had to cut the board. On one as valuable as this one there is no way I'd go that route. The normal turn around on a Martin reset is only a couple of days anyway so I can't see the gain? 

Thats what I was thinking Eric, thanks guys!

Not a good idea to cut the fgbd; If original, it is glued with hide glue, which will come apart with a little heat .. I use a clothes iron and a very thin spatula... I'm sure you know all this... as to a 'rush' job.. I wouldn't want to rush a reset... better to take your time and do it right..

If you cut the board , the dovetail cant lift up and out , as it is under the f/b tongue.Am I missing something?

It apparently used to be common practice to cut the fretboard at the body joint and remove the section over the body to give access to the dovetail pocket.

After closer inspection someone had already cut the fingerboard, solves that question for me!  Thanks everyone.

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