Last fall, I posted here about repair following a series of events that left my living room ceiling damaged and a rotted section of end joist in dire need. The end joist and floor joists have been repaired. I got a quote for the small (~2x4) section of ceiling drywall and had a bit of sticker shock. It's understandable: this is a tiny job! I've had a fair amount of drywall experience. I'm not the best, but I think I can manage this. MY questions are more or less how far to take it prior to actual mud and tape. The replaced drywall section is pretty straightforward, and the corner seam where it meets the wall is too. The part that has me hesitating is the main seam of the original drywall. The leak ran down from above and left that seam damaged, with the damage getting worse as it got closer to the patch that's now in place. My first thought was to try and remove the original tape, sand, then retape and mud. But as I worked the area, I found that what I thought was a mesh tape is, I think, actually part of the original drywall. I reached this conclusion because when I worked the corner seam, I *did* find paper tape, and after pulling some of that off and sanding back a bit, I noticed that the same mesh was pretty far out of the range of the tape width. What I have is a decreasing width crack that has a few small areas with water stain. My current strategy is to cut a slight V notch along that crack, removing anything that is really loose (there's not very much of that) and to NOT try and find the tape edge. Then, once sanded, to fill that notch out in the usual way with a number of thin coats, ending with 2 or 3 skim coats. Looking at the cracks that remain (I stopped at a certain point), they are more along the lines of paint cracking, not seam or drywall cracking. My thinking is that I could easily follow every small crack on this ceiling and wind up with a MUCH larger job than it needs to be. Everything is totally dry (it's been almost 2 months since I did the joist repair and totally stopped all leaking). Any thoughts on this? Should I proceed this way or bite the bullet and start widening the crack to tape width? Will the notch that varies from about 1" down to 1/4" wide fill correctly? And was it ever common practice to not tape a seam like this? I ask b/c for the life of me, there is no obvious tape line or sing of tape in this part of the ceiling seam! TIA.