-Have you tried the stewmac heatstick for removing necks?
-If so, how was it? Did it work and heat/loosen the neck in a reasonable time? Any wood burn? Etc
-Where the larger holes you have to drill a problem at all?
Very easy to burn yourself. It worked, but the stick got stuck in hide glue later on and I destroyed the soldering iron trying to loosen it. Only good if you have a lacquer that can't cope with water.
The holes are no problem with an ebnony fretboard, a small problem with rosewood and a big problem with light wood like maple.
I have had very good results with the Heat Stick(after years of using steam). Yes, there is a larger hole to fill in the fret slot, but done well, it's almost unnoticeable(although I have not used it yet on a maple fingerboard). The big plus, of course, is there's zero worry about steam damage...which is always a possibility, especially with recalcitrant neck joints. One caveat; the Heat Stick instructions direct one to turn the heat control all the way up...not good: that can scorch the fingerboard around the hole. Best to keep the temperature setting below the scorch point. And, I pull the stick out frequently(briefly) to prevent it sticking.
I now have to qualify my above post. On my last neck removal(a '34 Epiphone Spartan), the heat stick became solidly stuck, despite my frequent removal to clean off glue. I did eventually manage to remove it, but it was a bit tense. In future, I plan to remove the HS very frequently, to avoid the problem. I still think it beats steaming.
Another chapter in my use of the HeatStick: I had to remove the neck on a hacked, woebegone '40-ish Gibson L-50 archtop. After loosening the fingerboard extension, I set up and inserted the Heatstick. It took about 1-1/4hours, before the joint let go(mainly, I think, because of the wide heel being glued to the sides, a common Gibson detail). Then I discovered that the top was glued over the dovetail...but that's a different story. This is why I love the HeatStick: no worry about steam damage, during these recalcitrant slow-to-loosen neck joints.
Does running the soldering iron for 1 1/4 hours burn up the iron at all? Are you running it at a low temperature?
It hasn't so far, and I've had several neck removals that took that long. I have the StewMac supplied controller with the digital readout: temp is set about 400 degrees centigrade.
Most removals do not take anywhere near as long.
Sounds pretty useless. What espresso machine (for steam) would get the job done for cheap?
Looking at those machines the ones I am seeing are expensive.
I'm looking to expand into neck resets, so this is the first adventure into it.
PS. Have you guys tried the stewmac neck removal jig, and is something like that necessary? Can't you just wiggle it off after steaming it?
My old espresso machine died years ago, so I got a hand-held steam cleaner gizmo and stuck the Stew-Mac hose onto the nozzle. Works fine, plus it has a handy trigger for on/off. When I want to give the pocket a blast of steam, I first aim the needle into the trash barrel and pull the trigger for a second to clear condensed water out of the hose.
I have the neck removal jig but I haven't used it in a long time. I support the heel on the edge of my bench with a leather-covered block and put a Quick-grip bar clamp on either side of the neck. I can tighten the clamps just a bit and wiggle the neck up and down, back and forth, with one hand while I check for movement.
Can you link me to this gizmo, or something like it? Sounds great being small and hand held.
The one I have is branded "Scunci" and, of course, it's no longer available, but this
is very similar. There are several other variants available.
I use a similar device. I cut my Stewmac hose in the middle and use a small plastic petrol can to catch most of the excess water. I also use a thick rubber band to press down the button for a continuous stream of vapor. I had to remove most of the plastic on the lid of the "gizmo" to be able to refill without waiting for the safety spring to get cold. I will take a picture of the setup :-)