Martins are generally quite nice guitars to perform neck resets on. They're usually well made and the way they construct their instruments makes resetting a little more easy.
Martin applies finish to necks and bodies separately and then assemble them, so there isn't the same risk of lacquer chipping and cracking when the neck is removed. Also, Martin applies glue to the interior of the dovetail joint and not between the neck heel and body. This is more than sufficient to give a strong joint and makes it easier to disassemble.
Except when it's not.
Very occasionally, I'll come across a Martin that is the exception to the rule Maybe it's a Monday-morning-guitar thing but sometimes the guitar gods throw you a curve-ball.
Check out my last post on Martin Neck Resets for the 'right' way for the job to go. I'm not going to go over all that information again—I'll just talk about that curve-ball I mentioned.
This neck-joint had a lot of glue. Seriously, a LOT of glue. The arrows in the image above show that there was tons of glue on the 'cheeks'—the part that contacts the side of the guitar body. This isn't a major problem (lots of manufacturers—Gibson for instance—make this a glueing surface) but it does slightly complicate an otherwise straightforward Martin reset. If I didn't know better I'd have said this neck had already been off and re-glued but there were no signs that was the case.
Further complicating things, there was no gap at the back of the joint. There's usually a small gap between the male and female parts at the back of the dovetail and this is a nice access point to get steam in. Not so lucky here.
I ended up having to drill a few holes to try get good penetration for the steam all over the joint. This made for very slow going. You need to be careful as you obviously can't see inside the joint until it's disassembled.
Sometimes guitars fight back. This one took a lot of wrestling, a lot of steam, and a lot of swearing.