Hello from Nova Scotia!!!
I am about to start a new project. A Model 1915 Washburn. I believe she is from the '30's.
She needs a neck reset and I was hoping someone could confirm the dovetail joint placement so I don't go fishing with the steamer! Looking to confirm that it should be under the 13th fret. I've had problems in the past and would rather not make that mess again.
Otherwise, body is in great shape! Not crack repairs anywhere. Solid rosewood back and sides. Lots of alligator crackle.
Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
Yes, you should be safe with the 13th fret, standard dovetail. If you want to play it safe, while a little unorthodox, you can release the fingerboard extension first and see where your opening knife stops. That should be the end of the dovetail/tenon.
Thanks Doc! Turns out I was off by 1/8th inch. It still worked and it's the cleanest I've seen a neck come off (I've done about 8 or 10 now). My problem now is a chewed up bridge plate.
Any suggestions on how to repair or remove it? I really don't want to remove the back because it's in perfect condition.
I can send pics for your archive of the neck joint if you like!
These instruments were rather lightly braced and there may be a chance your bridge plate acts as a brace and the entire support of the lower bout. If this is the case and you'll be keeping the instrument in original build condition and consideration, than I would recommend a complete replacement. Removal shouldn't be too much of an issue as I imagine hide glue was used in the instruments construction. I wouldn't be surprised if flexing the top allowed you to locate a loosened area of the plate, for which to slide your opening spatula into. A little pure alcohol will help hide glue along with debonding as well as heat and moisture.
- thanks for the offer on the photos. always happy to add to the files.
Here is a shot of my 1917 style 115 Washburn parlor copied from the neck re-set gallery.
There is a couple of shots of the bridge plate/ brace from the old thread John has found here...
You can see the bridge plate/ brace runs full side to side across the top. The damage is caused from ball end steel strings which should not be used and won't intonate properly anyway. Is this the same in yours John? Short of removing the back, this would be quite difficult to remove and replace through the sound hole. I opted instead to leave the back on my Washburn and worked through the sound hole to address the problem. I basically removed just as much material as was absolutely necessary with sharp knives and sanding blocks. The Maple plywood patch I made was fitted dry, trial and error and then glued in place with hot hide glue. The remaining gaps/crack between the maple patch and the existing Spruce bridge plate/ brace was filled with West system epoxy. If your interested, I can go through my image archive when I get some more time and post a few more images.
I would truly appreciate that Paul.
And I notice that the end of the dovetail in your pic is flat. Mine is as well. Was this a standard practice at the time?
Before image copied from the other thread.
You can see in this image that the Spruce bridge plate/ brace is not only as wide as the lower bout but it is also held captive under the kerfed lining. I don't see how it could be feasible to remove and replace this through the sound hole. With my Washburn, all of the damage is right along the edge of the Spruce, as you can see.
I whittled out what I could with probably an Exacto knife (it's been a while) and then sanded with this sanding tool that would ride along the edge of the bridge plate and do a reasonable job of ending up with a straight edge in the plate to work with. Pretty down and dirty in regards to process.
I made a small bridge plate out of some Maple veneer, with each layer at 90 degrees...plywood. I opted for the plywood solution because the pin holes with end up close to the edges of the plate, a solid bit of wood wouldn't cut the mustard.
A few process pics. Hot hide glue used.
Done plywood with a shape penciled onto it. I used a piece of White masking tape applied to the Spruce plate and rubbed the edge of a pencil lead on the edges of the damage to transfer the approximate shape to the new plate.
I also needed to make a caul for the clamps on top of the bridge. I used Friendly Plastic on a bit of thin plywood for this. The Infra Red lamp is on, warming things up and so is the light bulb inside.
I found some Hematite beads at the bead store and the work very well for ball ends on plastic strings. The ones in the picture where a bit large and wouldn't go through the pin holes. I went back later and found some smaller ones that did go through the holes, 5/32" I think.
Hope this helps John.
Not sure why Washburn thought it would be a good idea to make the dovetail stumpy and wondered about that myself. It's not an issue with my 99 year old guitar and no one left from 1917 to answer the question.
Nice step by step.
Thank you for the info. Looks like my next couple of weekends will be occupied.
Your welcome John.
Please take some process pics as you go and post them.