Update # 3: The timing chain set was replaced, push rods rolled true, timing cover work included new oil pump gears that were replaced and a new oil pump cover was installed. .008 gasket gets me .003 clearance (plastigauge) with the gears moving easily without any effort. Are the oil cover gaskets available in .007 or is there a .001 that I can add to an existing. 006? If there is I'd bet I could get to .002 top clearance.
Cover carbon buildup was removed from the piston tops; over bore (piston heads (30) and oil pan mating surfaces (030 / 005) stamped. Next step: confirm over bore.
I bought a bore gauge to double-check. 0'd the bore gauge using digital caliper set to 3.791. No reading from the larger cylinder hole. I got confused and proceeded with 0 ing out the bore gauge in cylinder, then I took the bore gauge to the digital caliper. I sampled 1-point (thrust side) for each cylinder and measured 3.8115 . Not the way I saw someone perform this task online but it's where I ended up last night.