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Unsetting a multi lam neck safely.


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So after Mondays catastrophe where my router ate a pot recess. I'm building a new body for the guitar. The issue I'm worried about is unsetting the neck from the old body - The neck is made up up of 5 maple/mahogany lams, glued together with Titebond I. The neck is also glued into the body with Titebond I with the same glue used to stick on the fretboard and it's binding. 

Any suggestions on how to safely unset the neck without delaminating the neck from itself? I was thinking about placing a clamp on the heal to keep some lateral pressure on the lams while heating up the pocket but the heal is a bit on the small side. My fallback option is to just bandsaw the body off and scrape off excess glue/wood but I'd like to avoid completely wasting the body if poss.

Cheers
Ash

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first off, just want to say ... how bad can the other side be?  such a beautiful piece of work would seem a huge shame to dismantle it.  couldn't you just flatten the top with a router sled and put a new top on?

I'm certain your not looking for advice from me... and you can weight my response with my experience, but looking at it and thinking "what would I do"... I think I'd put this on my router sled and take off all the material behind the neck, get a better look at the joint... then perhaps hand saw up either side of it, then use a jig saw to rough cut the body away from the neck, then begin cleaning up the neck with router/hand tools.  just a thought... I'm sure there will be better/more-seasoned ideas along shortly.

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I'm with @mistermikev here, you should be able to remove the top fairly easily. After all, there isn't much wood on the sides of the neck. Plane it flush and remove the side pieces with a Japanese saw and a chisel. Fitting a new top can't be more difficult than what I did with my thru-neck semi-hollow and if I could do it, you most certainly can too!

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18 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Fix the pot recess and make the inside finish dark enough to be opaque, and use your new body for a new guitar.

Since it's only about one pot recess instead of all three, and since the damage was relatively minor, and since the guitar is a "home made" experimental instrument for a friend rather than a master build with a five digit price tag, and since the new top looks like to be of higher quality than the original one, I'm accompanying you in that opinion.

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4 hours ago, mistermikev said:

heck, turn it into a feature... maybe some inlay there...

Gotta love these threads. The longer they get the more brilliant ideas pop up!

Instead of mop dust, how about redrilling all of the cavities with a slightly oversized forstner bit, plugging them with a contrasting wood for a collar and reshaping the cavities?

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Thanks for all the advice, although I know I could fill the area. I'd already decided it's going to have a new body for a few reasons, I want it to be the best it can be, he's already paid more than enough to cover the cost of the new body and the refin and I expect when he sees the final result he'll throw some more money at it. This build has already opened a couple of doors in terms of new build prospects. I just want everything I do now to look as professional as possible so can start charging properly for the work.

Couple of lessons learnt from this experience - Bought a new, much higher quality router bit to do the pot recesses in future and glued the new top with titebond 2 (instead of 1), will also won't be using titebond 1 for neck lams in future, though I expect titebond 3 would be better.

Oh yeah, he's decided he wants the toggle switch on the upper horn like the mcarty model as he's used to his gibbos so I've had to make the body slightly thicker to accommodate a switch there, 20mm cap and 30mm mahogany body. I still need to suss out if I will be able to incorporate the carve into the back.

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Somehow I missed the "new body", I've thought about a new top all along. Or maybe that idea just stuck somewhere amidst the discussion.

Anyhow, since the neck join is visible from all possible angles, the neck should be fairly easy to remove by sliding a heated palette knife to the seams. The biggest issue in that method is the lip under the pickup. You may try to build a Jerry Rosa steamer similar to what I linked in another post, built from a whistling kettle, some hose and a football pump nozzle. Drill a few holes beside the  lip and let the steam do its job. Titebond will crack with heat, it'll only take a little longer than hide glue.

Another option worth trying for the heel is to heat the bottom of the guitar with a clothes iron to crack the bond. Again, sliding a heated knife into the seam is recommended.

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