I love my neighborhood -- everyone is so friendly and helpful. I don't have a drill press, so I enlisted the help of a neighbor who has one and we drilled the holes in the neck this weekend following the instructions for installing a bolt-on neck at the StewMac website.
The first step was to clamp the neck into position and align the neck to the tremolo screw holes near the bride. We center punched the hole locations on the neck through the holes in the body.
Here we have the screws set through the neck plate and body so we can measure the depth required for the holes in the neck.
Next we set up the drill press so it will only drill to the required depth in the neck, and carefully aligned the bit over the center punch mark. We also spent some time ensuring the drill bit was perpendicular to the plane of the neck.
With the holes drilled, I bolted the neck on and re-checked the alignment. I find that I have to "work" the neck against the body as the screws are tightened to get it into alignment. So far so good.
My neighbor also has a table saw. We used it to cut a piece of scrap ash into small pieces for practicing the finish. We also attempted to cut a thin piece of ash from the board. With the think piece I'd like to replace the truss rod cover (finished just like the body). The thin pieces are still too thick, so I'll have to work them with a plane and sandpaper. Here are the practice pieces mounted to a board for easier handling...
Each of these pieces will be finished using a different technique -- i.e., different combinations of grain filler tints, wash coat (or not), etc. Based on the experiences of finishing these pieces I'll decide on the strategy for finishing the guitar body.