The Neck – Part 1

Starting out with a rough cut slab of hard maple and rosewood.

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Cutting it down to a usable size

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Bring it down to the final thickness of 3/4″ in the planer

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Then we draw the centerline and trace the outline of the neck using our template

 

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We have to route channels for the truss rod and carbon fiber rods before we cut the shape out so that we have a regular, flat edge to register against the fence on the router table. In the case of my shop, “router table” and “fence” is used somewhat loosely since I whipped the router table up myself out of plywood, and my fence is just my straight-edge which I clamp tp the table wherever I need it.

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I use a 7/32″ spiral up-cut bit to route the truss rod channel. This is done is several passes until the correct depth is reached. Trying to cut the full depth in one pass would have ugly results.

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I switch to a 3/8″ bit but not quite as deep to cut access for the barrel of the spoke wheel which is wider than the rest of the truss rod.

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the result

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Heres the full channel all cut.

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and the truss rod in place. I use the hotrod, double action truss rods from Stewmac

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Now we repeat the same process for the carbon fiber rods. I wont bore you with my methods of determining where to place the fence so that the channels are located in the right places. If interested, send me an e-mail from the contact form and I’ll get back to you.

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Channels cut. I use a gel CA glue to bond them into the slots. They are a snug fit so have to be pressed in, but not super tight.

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Off to the band saw to trim off all the stuff we dont want, including the long ends of the carbon fiber rods.

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Starting to look vaguely neck-like.

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Disk sander is used to sand down to the line. Its really important to take this as close to the line as possible at the end of the headstock and at the heel because these areas are end grain. When routing end grain the router can grab and throw your workpiece across the room, (or at your face!), or just split the end of your board, so we sand these areas so closely to the line that we leave only the teeniest sliver left to the router. This gives us the cleanest finish and reduces the danger mentioned above

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Using the same masking tape trick I described in the body section, I attach the template to the neck and use the router table to trim it to the exact dimension.

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There we go. All trimmed up.

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I use the template and a center punch to locate where the tuner holes go and a straight edge and pencil line to make sure they are perfectly aligned and spaced.

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Onto the drill press and using a 3/8″ brad point bit I drill the holes. I put a flat piece of scrap maple underneath and drill right through the headstock into the piece below. This is so that when the point emerges from the bottom of the headstock it doesnt tear out chunks of wood around the tuner holes and leaves them nice and clean.

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the brad point allows me to place the drill very precisely so my holes are perfectly aligned.

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Voila!

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Page 4 – The Neck part 2