So, I picked up another project. This one is a Guild D35 from 1982, which suffered a shattered neck and some really, really bad epoxy and c-clamp based repairs. There is no way that this neck can be reassembled. I paid $5 for it, so it is a completely worth project, and any failures on my part will not break the bank.
While posting about this on the Lets Talk Guild forum, a very nice gentleman offered to send me a neck he had sitting around. It's roughly the right era, and the right shape. It has the tongue of the fretboard cut off, though, and might have a crack in the heel. (I should have it in hand tomorrow, but I have time to post today.)
I'll be doing the work myself. I have done a few neck-resets, and should be able to pull this off.
So, here are my thoughts, and I invite any alternative considerations that anyone might have.
1. I would like to eventually put the original neck back on, that is, the original headstock and serial number. This would require replacing a fair amount of wood in the neck, adding some carbon fiber rods for stiffness, and dealing with a cracked fingerboard. This is not happening any time soon. But it is an eventual goal.
2. The neck I'm receiving has the tongue cut off. I feel (and have read) that the tongue is an important part of the structure of a guitar. That said, this is a Guild, and therefore built like a brick shithouse. The amount of wood in that neck joint is impressive, especially around the neck block. While I intend to have a tongue there, I'm not sure that I need to have it integral with the rest of the fingerboard. I suspect I could get away with having them simply butted up against each other. But then I need to source or create a tongue. I don't really want to just cut the tongue off the other fretboard, but then again, it is nicely damaged by the headstock, so maybe I don't need to save it.
3. If I want to save the original neck, I will need to remove the fingerboard at some point. Should I keep it on for steaming the neck joint, or can I remove it before dealing with the steam needle? I know I can remove it for much easier access to the dovetail joint, but I am concerned that the steam needle really needs that fingerboard there to keep steam in the joint, rather than allowing steam to just blow back out from the joint if the fingerboard is off. Anybody dealt with this? Any thoughts?
I'm blogging the heck out of this (and other things), so there are lots of pictures towards the bottom of this page. http://summergarageluthier.blogspot.com/2012/09/new-stuff-new-stuff...
Thanks for reading that wall of text!
If the existing fret board is in good shape, as it appears to be in your photos, I would remove that first and save it to reinstall on the new neck. That would make neck removal easier as well. Don't worry about allowing the steam to escape as the joint will loosen anyhow.
It seems to me that installing the new neck, with the old fretboard is the sensible thing to do. I totally agree with Eric.
I also agree.
In fact, I don't know that I would even try to salvage the original neck given the mess that has been made if it already. Maybe it would be possible to cut the original serial number from the broken head stock as a veneer then inlay that in the new neck to transfer the number? Don't know since I haven't tried it but it seems like it might work even if it is careful work.
So, the donor neck showed up today. Not bad - rough condition, but okay.
It has the first cracked fret that I have ever seen. See the attached file. Any body else ever run into this? I assume it was just a badly cast chunk of metal that didn't survive installation.
So, the fingerboard on the original neck is complete, but rather badly damaged at the first and second frets - nasty cracks filled with epoxy, and some ugly scars from c clamps.
The fingerboard on the donor neck is cut off at the 14th fret.
I have two plans here -
I'm first going to cut off the original neck fretboard at the 13th fret, and do the same for the donor neck. Then I can attach the extension onto the donor neck, and have a bit more stability. The only issue is that the original neck is slightly wider than the donor neck, but I think I can file that away and make it look pretty convincing.
OR - I can just order a new fretboard and install it onto the donor neck. The original fretboards aren't that great, nice wood, but not well finished - there are lots of sanding marks all over the place. A new fretboard can be prepared to perfection. And I think I'm worth it. :)
Go with the new board. I don't personally know you, but I think you're worth it too.
I also think I'm worth some fancy inlay, but not worth inlaying my name in the fretboard. (My wife thought that my name on the fretboard was pretty hilarious.)
I have to say, it is really nice to fix something that does not have to be restored, has no value in its current state, and will not lose significant value if I mess around with it a bit. But it will be a damn fine instrument.
New FB, and go for the inlay. After all, you'll have two scrap FBs to practice on :-)