Hey . . . I can finally "finish" the finish . . .
Monday, August 14th:
Well, I WAS a very, very good girl (though it just 'bout killed me) — I did manage to wait until Monday evening (after my CLAD class had been completed) to get back to the guitar. So, here's how I spent Monday through Thursday:
Monday evening, I leveled and rubbed out the finish on the soundbox by wet-sanding (a drop of dishwashing liquid in a bowl of water) with the full gamut of Micromesh sanding cloths (grits 1500-12000, of which 1500 is kind of similar to 400 grit regular sandpaper). I then buffed it out using extra-fine Menzerna compound on my Caswell buffer.
Tuesday, August 15th:
Today I leveled and rubbed out the neck finish. This took me longer, because I had a bit of a problem with the neck in a couple of places. I had a little spot of sand-through on the peghead and then some witness lines. What I ended up doing was to sand it down a little bit and spray on (with the Preval canister sprayer) a few thin coats of the USL finish. I sped up the cure time by placing the peghead under a heat lamp for a little while, and then I carefully wet-sanded the finish again. Success!!!
Then it was time to bolt and glue on the neck. The first thing I did was to bolt on the neck, then, with an Exacto knife and a fresh blade, carefully score the finish around the fingerboard extension. I removed the neck, then removed the finish in that area with paint stripper. What I do is carefully, with an acid brush trimmed to make a finer brush point, apply paint stripper just barely up to the scored lines. By the time I have applied all the stripper, the finish has wrinkled up, ready to be carefully removed with a 1/2" chisel. Then I wipe the surface with a paper towel dampened with water, to neutralize any stripper residue.
After that was done, I let the stripped surface dry for a half hour, then bolted on the neck, gluing on the fingerboard extension only (with Titebond glue). Here it is, after the neck has been glued: