I've done between 30 and 40 neck resets over the years. Mostly vintage Martins. Sometimes some finish touchup is necessary, but they always come out nice and clean.
However, I had a bad experience with a Gibson B-25 probably 20 years ago. The wide, square heel required a lot of heat and steam to break the glue bond, which resulted in blistering the surrounding finish. That finish touchup was a tricky one, but in the end it looked great. Ever since, I've shied away from doing neck resets on guitars with square heels. Just not worth the headache. I'm not at all fast with finish repairs and touchups, and I don't particularly enjoy it.
I have a Guild D-25 that was given to me. Needs a neck reset, but otherwise in nice shape. A perfect opportunity to gain experience, and the liability is small since it's not a customer's guitar. But, it would be cool if I could pull off a clean job without a whole lot of finish touchup.
I've scribed the finish around the perimeter of the heel, and have the tongue separated from the top. Just need to heat the neck off. In the past, I've used a modified espresso machine to shoot steam into the dovetail, but I recently acquired a heat stick, and I've had good results. My only complaint is that it requires a hole that leaves a footprint which is wider the fret can cover.
Any advice regarding how to achieve a clean removal on this old Guild would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Don’t be in a hurry to get the neck off, apply steam then maybe let it sit for 4 or 5 minutes, then another shot of steam and let it sit again. I grab the neck and rock it trying to see movement at the joint. Once you are confident the the joint is loosening then I apply a pusher to the heel and try and push it off.
almost 100% of the time there is no finish touchup required, and if any is required, I use an artists brush, no spraying.
You can also take a thin spatula and gently work it along the neck/body joint on those wide heels to help separate the joint too.