At this stage, the heel needs to be carved to a near-finish level. I have no power tools or jigs to assist with this process so I use very sharp Crown chisels, cabinetmaker rasps, and sandpaper. The heel contour is another luthier signature and I have built many different types. For Dan’s guitar, I believe that the short 12-fret neck would look best with a modest heel, similar to a Martin but more rounded and slightly less mass.
I have a short story about this process. When I was studying with George Morris in Vermont, we worked from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm. After a full week of this, I could barely move my right arm – it was spent due to the constant activity. When I informed George that I could not move my right arm, he looked at me rather suspiciously and said: “then use your left arm.” And use my left arm I did for the next several days. I have been using my left and right arms equally ever since and I thank George for that “encouragement!”
After the chiseling has removed the bulk, I move to a cabinetmakers rasp to complete the rough shape. A cabinetmakers rasp is used because it has random teeth patterns for quick and even removal of wood.
I finish the heel using 100 grit and moving to 150 grit sandpaper.