Ok just an update for anyone who saw this post a few months ago...
I received my new neck today and it is, in a word, stunning! It is probably the nicest neck I have ever seen.
We ended up doing a 5-pc construction out of flamed maple and purpleheart, with an ebony fingerboard, SS frets and the full vine completely done in natural abalone. Because I wanted real abalone, we could not scallop the top 4 frets (the abalone shell is too thin for scalloping) but other then that this neck came out dead on Jem specs. We left it a natural very fine sanded & oiled finish so it feels velvety smooth. The fretwork looks dead-on (based on close visual inspection including busting out the calipers and straight-edge). I can't give a playing review yet as the guitar has not been completed yet, but I can tell you this neck looks and feels amazing holding it in my hands.
So I just wanted to update this thread in case anyone else was considering using Ernie. Yes, it was several months wait. Yes there were times (such as when this thread was originated) that the communication broke down. Yes, the neck was moderately expensive (more than the cheap necks on the bay but much less than trying to get a Jem neck from Ibanez). But considering all of these points would I use and/or recommend Ernie again?
Based upon my overall experience and very close scrutinization of my final product I would say ABSOLUTELY! Ernie is a very good guy to work with, even though when he gets backed up he can be slow in responding. He is very nice, considerate, and down-to-earth. Considering the work he did for me, the absolute top notch workmanship and materials, I would not hesitate using him again. In fact I am so impressed with this neck I've decided I want to recreate it exactly but with a MAPLE fingerboard (and still the full natural abalone vine) for a new project in the near future... but first things first. I gotta finish the project I'm in the middle of NOW!
So Ernie, in case you happen to read this - yes I got frustrated with the lack of response in the middle of the build. But I am absolutely stoked on the finished product and really looking forward to working with you again in the near future! Thank you so much for the hard work and impeccable build. It is truly a stunning piece of work!
All in all - well worth every penny and every second of waiting.