The Neck

Moving on to the neck now. At this stage I’m a little bit hesitant of what to do, what first step to take, how to approach this in the 123, step-by-step  manner I usually work in. The body was quite straight forward and I was able to complete it as such without any major glitches. But the neck seems almost daunting. And I say almost because I am really enjoying all the new things I am doing on this project. However the neck has, by all means, from the git-go presented itself as a study that needed to be carefully looked at before I start cutting, routing and carving.

For the neck you have two basic choices: a laminate or solid piece. And then for the headstock you can use a scarf joint or cut the shape from the block. For mine I am using a solid piece (Honduras mahogany) with the headstock cut from the block. I have read that the scarf joint style is stronger though because you don’t get grain run out, which decreases the strength. But I chose the solid single block style as it is more traditional for this model.

Honduras mahogany is a little expensive and hard to get here but I totally lucked out and found a guy selling pre-cut Honduras mahogany acoustic neck blanks on the auction site here. So that is what I am using.

Here is the pre-cut, quatersawn neck block. I jointed the top and headstock on my 8″ jointer to start.

Here you can see the grain run out on the angled headstock. The pencil lines aren’t mine.

After jointing it on the jointer the angle where the headstock meets the neck is off. So I have to take it back to the square pencil line with my block plane.

Now it is all square and sanded smooth.

Next I put a center line down the center of the neck. This is important to get right because the neck is tapered end-to-end and there is a truss rod that will be inset on the center line.

To make the center line mark I use my Incra rule. This is the best sliding rule I know of. Tool pick of the week if you don’t have one.

Here I used the Incra sliding rule to set up my taper. The neck is 44mm at the nut (0 position of the sting near the headstock) and 54mm at the 12th fret. To mark this with the sliding rule I simply find center and mark off 22mm one way and 22mm the other at the 0 position. Then go to the 12th fret and do the same for a 54mm width. Then I draw my line with a steel rule. Nicely centered taper.

After that is all done I am ready to make a router cut for the truss rod. So I set up my table and make two passes for a 11mm wide and 10mm deep slot. Notice the pencil line on the side – that is my stop position.

The truss rod fits snugly.

Looks like I am off to a good start. Small sigh of relief.


About Alex

Love making sawdust and turning wood into objects of practical beauty.
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