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Neck Construction

Cutting and Planing

The sycamore was cut and planed into two lengths about 38mm wide, with the grain running vertically where the neck will be cut from:

Also a 12mm wide strip of sapele was cut and planed to laminate in the centre of the two sycamore plates.

Laminating

The three pieces of wood were laminated together (I used dowel to prevent the pieces sliding around whilst gluing):

Once the clamps were removed the neck blank looked like this:

Routing The Truss Rod Slot

A slot was routed to fit the truss rod:

Bandsaw Thickness

The neck was cut out using a bandsaw, aiming to leave enough wood to make another neck later.

Headstock

I cleaned up the neck and planed the headstock to the right thickness. I found some burr oak at my dad's house and cut a few sections out to use as a headstock.

I think it'll look nice with the rosewood fingerboard and the sycamore neck.

A day later, I changed my mind and went with the rosewood !

I then glued on a photocopy of the plan, bandsawed around it, cleaned it up on a bobbin sander and planed and sanded it to the right thickness for the machine heads:

Then I drilled 10mm holes for the tuning machines:

Neck Tenon

The tenon needs to be cut very accurately - this took me a few hours to do by hand. It is a really close fit - not too tight and not too loose.

It really does look like a guitar now....

Neck Shaping

Before cutting the neck to width, I shaped the profile of the neck so that I could keep everhything squared up and equal depth across the neck.

I then used a bandsaw to remove most of the waste on the sides:

Again, by photocopying the plan, I made some templates to determine the shape of the neck....

Here is the initial shaping - I shaped out the distal part of the neck (near to the nut first and then started joining it to the near part with long lines).

Glue Truss Rod

I used epoxy and glued in the truss rod and fillet at the same time.

Neck Shaping Continued

I made the fingerboard, glued it on and inlaid the headstock before continuing the shaping. I then sanded it down close to the final shape, checking with the templates to measure progress.


Fingerboard

Thicknessing

The fingerboard was first planed flat and then thicknessed.

Fret Slot Marking Jig

I built a jig in order to accurately mark and cut the slots:

This consists of a flat piece of MDF with a second piece (that is absolutely straight) glued and screwed on to it.

Fret Slots

I wrote an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the fret positions based on a 24 9/16 inch scale length.

The jig has lines parallel to the block of wood marked lengthways. The fingerboard's centre line is matched up with one of the lines and marks for the frets are scribed across, using an engineer's square. The slots were then cut with a gent's saw that has the same kerf as the thickness of the fretwire that I am using.

Position Markers

Finally, the position markers are drawn on (geometrically by drawing diagonals across the fingerboard fret slots).

I then drilled holes and epoxied in the mother of pearl position markers (6mm diameter for 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th frets and 5mm diameter for 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th and 21st frets).

Trim Fingerboard

Using a shooting board the fingerboard was planed to size.

Radiussing

I used a 12 inch radius sanding block to shape the neck to the correct radius. The first picture shows this, whilst the second shows the completed fingerboard.

Glue To Neck

I trimmed the truss rod fillet back, checked the neck angle (once again), made sure that the fingerboard fit accurately on to the neck and onto the body and then glued it on to the neck. I placed two panel pins through fret slots to keep the fingerboard in place and used strap clamps as well as clamping cauls.

Side Position Markers

I used 1.5 mm mother of pearl dots. I drilled out the holes on a pillar drill using a 1/16 inch drill bit that ensured a tight fit and then epoxied the markers in place.

Fretting

Not too much to say here - I used a small amount of Titebond in each slot, banged them in, filed them back on the sides and angled the side to 35 degrees... I will level them once the finish is on.


Headstock Inlay

Design

I do a lot of caving and quite like bats so a bat seemed appropriate (also Nicky was pretty persuasive about having a bat logo !).

Cut Out Mother Of Pearl

I printed out the design and glued it to the mother of pearl blank.

Then, using a jeweller's saw and a 3/0 blade, I cut around the design to leave me with a nice piece.

Rout Out Cavity

I glued the piece on to the headstock with some Copydex glue and scribed around it with a needle. I then used a dremel tool in a router base and small chisels to rout out the cavity.

Glue

The piece was glued in with Araldite epoxy (only on the bottom).

Fill

I then used some Titebond with saw dust to fill the tiny gaps at the sides. I held it close to a light for a few minutes to force air bubbles out. This needed repeating a couple of times to fill the pockets formed by the air bubbles. Finally it was sanded flush (very little sanding was needed).

After this sanding a little of the filler came out. I then redid the depressed bits.


Glue Neck To Body

I almost had a disaster here. I checked everything fit nice and snugly and then applied the glue. I then had a nightmare - it all locked up and wouldn't seat properly. I thought I had enough room at the back (it was an open mortise) and at the front (the sides of the neck were relieved at the body) for glue to escape. Obviously not ! Anyway, with a bit of wiggling, judicious use of clamps and brute strength it settled in to place - phew ! (Note to self - relieve bottom of tenon next time !)