When I first got it opened, the extent of the damage to the neck block was aparent. And here you can see the mailing labels someone had used to help repair it many years ago. Also notice I had damaged the top getting the neck out before I realized that I could take the whole top off and how. I cut with the grain, so that I could stain it and minimize the visual impact.
Here we see the original patch job on the broken ribs. The wood filler was up against the paper on the inside. Next is the "back of the front".
Heat Damage here from my first attempt at melting the glue holding the neck in. I figured I'd have to re-finish the back anyway, but this damage to the finish cinched it. Also, notice that one of the tuning pegs has a key missing.
After the paper came out, the broken ribs were loose and of course the wood filler fell out.
Here's the very small dovetail joint of the neck. I drilled pilot holes for screws to hold it in while I tested the action for the neck-reset. I figured that later the screws would help out with the tension, but I hide glued it (as I did everything else except for the two broken ribs) back in in the end.
Here are the re-enforcement ribs I put in -- I've seen them in other lutes. It just helps with the structure and helps keep the ribs sturdier and harder to push and break. I hide glued them in. Note the dowell above... I thought I might need it to stiffen the body to help the action, but when I tested putting it back together near the end, the fixed ribs and the support the braced top gave the body, I decided it wasn't needed and left it out. And the next picture (top right) is to illustrate that I did, in fact, make a new key for the peg and used JB Weld to glue it on. Worked great.
The end product (except that I need to make and replace the decorative wooden frets missing on the body below where the neck attaches. It'll be prettier.
And finally, here's where that hole was.
Hide glue, by the way. Mix 1 part unflavored gealatin with 3 parts water, heat to about 150 degrees. They say over 160 will weaken the glue. And you do get a LITTLE time to work with it, but once you put a piece in, don't pull it back out. You can move it some for about a minute, but make sure you've got it where you want it. It will gel and the death grip will set in. If you have any doubts about the strength, don't.
Don't believe me? Test it on a couple of pieces of scrap wood first. In 10 or 12 hours, you will be quite re-assured.