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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:09 pm 
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Walnut
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I have two boards of Sapele with the perfect dimensions for neck blanks (1" x 2.5" x 41"). I also have a board of beautiful white oak with the exact same dimensions. So... I could make 2 necks from the individual sapele boards. Or... I could stack and glue the three boards into a Sapele|WhiteOak|Sapele 3-piece laminated neck blank sandwich. Then I could band saw it into three neck blanks.

Obviously 3 necks are better than 2. However, I have three issues that have brought me to ask you guys for advice.

  • I have never read or seen anywhere that white oak is used for making guitars. I know that white oak is highly sought after in the furniture world, because it is extremely strong, dense, and stable. Just look at anything from Gustav Stickley or the Craftsman/Mission style. I did hear the guy from Crimson Guitars on YouTube say that oak is a fine wood for guitar builds except that the grain is large and hard to fill, and it just isn't a very pretty wood, so you'd want to paint it. Anyone else have anything to say about including a .5" board of white oak in a neck?

  • I feel like a three board laminated neck would be more stable, stronger, and stay straighter than a single board neck. However, I do not really KNOW that for sure. It just "seems" to me like the grain directions being glued to other boards... would cause the three boards to push and pull against each other and keep each other straight. Is this true or are single-board necks considered better?

  • The two Sapele board that I have are not flat sawn or quarter sawn. Instead, the grain pretty much runs at an approx 45 degree angle if you look at the end grain. I have seen conflicting information on grain directions and flat/rift/qtr. sawn. Do these two sapele boards sound like I should laminate them with the oak, or is 45 degree rift sawn (?) grain fine?

Thanks everyone!


Last edited by Dolmetscher007 on Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:11 pm 
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Walnut
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I prefer laminated necks most of the time. They are stiffer and more stable. Plus it helps eliminate dead spots.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:10 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Oak is not a very stable wood.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:33 pm 
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I’m not sure what kind of neck you are making. How do you get a one piece neck from a 1” thick board?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:38 pm 
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Walnut
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rlrhett wrote:
I’m not sure what kind of neck you are making. How do you get a one piece neck from a 1” thick board?


I'm not sure I understand the question. I have an ebony fretboard that is .22" thick. So, a 1" thick neck blank + the fingerboard + 1.22" thick. Electric guitar necks are 1" total at their thickest. I will end up carving away a good bit to get to that thickness. If you are wondering about the heal, I will glue on a heal from the scrap offcuts.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:40 pm 
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Barry Daniels wrote:
Oak is not a very stable wood.


What'chu tawkin 'bout Willis?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:21 pm 
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Dolmetscher007 wrote:
rlrhett wrote:
I’m not sure what kind of neck you are making. How do you get a one piece neck from a 1” thick board?


I'm not sure I understand the question. I have an ebony fretboard that is .22" thick. So, a 1" thick neck blank + the fingerboard + 1.22" thick. Electric guitar necks are 1" total at their thickest. I will end up carving away a good bit to get to that thickness. If you are wondering about the heal, I will glue on a heal from the scrap offcuts.



Ah, I see. You are talking a Fender style neck with no heel an a flat headstock. When people talk about “one piece necks” around here they usually mean cutting an acoustic neck from a piece 3” wide by 4” thick. I actually didn’t know anyone laminated Fender style necks. I thought the whole point was Leo Fender redesigned the neck and neck joint precisely so he could use a single inexpensive slab of 3/4” stock. Sorry.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:15 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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White oak is fine, heavy is it's main draw back as a tonewood but Sapele is heavy too.

Laminated necks can be stronger but I can also say the second most common broken necks after Gibson are Ovation and they are typically 5 piece laminated necks.... It comes down too the grain of the exact pieces of wood you are using as to if it will be better or more stable. Not sure how you are planning to laminate those dimensions to get 3 necks though...

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post: Dolmetscher007 (Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:13 am)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:54 pm 
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Walnut
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B. Howard wrote:
White oak is fine, heavy is it's main draw back as a tonewood but Sapele is heavy too.

Laminated necks can be stronger but I can also say the second most common broken necks after Gibson are Ovation and they are typically 5 piece laminated necks.... It comes down too the grain of the exact pieces of wood you are using as to if it will be better or more stable. Not sure how you are planning to laminate those dimensions to get 3 necks though...


This is how I will get three neck blanks out of this lamination:
Image


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:32 am 
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Dolmetscher007 wrote:

This is how I will get three neck blanks out of this lamination:
Image


2-1/2" tall by 3"wide would be that blank.
Minus two saw cuts =2-5/16". Divide by 3 gives 3/4 for each blank but you still need to join a surface for the fretboard and plane it down to true....netting 5/8 at very best. Going to leave you thin on those blanks!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:08 am 
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Walnut
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B. Howard wrote:
2-1/2" tall by 3"wide would be that blank.
Minus two saw cuts =2-5/16". Divide by 3 gives 3/4 for each blank but you still need to join a surface for the fretboard and plane it down to true....netting 5/8 at very best. Going to leave you thin on those blanks!


Yeah, I'm really worried about that too. One positive thing is, I was off on my measurements when I posted them here. The stack is 2.25" wide x 2.75" tall.

The neck(s) I want to make are close to the Les Paul in dimensions. Les Paul necks are 2.08" at the 22nd fret (according to all I can find online), and they are 1" thick at the 12th fret, and .090" thick at the nut. The ebony fretboard I bought is .22" thick. so I'd need each of these neck blanks to be .78" thick.

I will have to glue on some "ears" at the headstock, as the 2.25" width will likely not be wide enough to allow for my headstock design, but I have plenty of sapele scraps. I will also have to glue on a heel. So this will be a little bit of a Franken-neck. But I own a nice Gibson SJ-200 that has a neck built exactly like this. Curly maple with a mahogany center strip with ears on the headstock. The heel is continuous, i.e. not glued on, but I only need 1/2" or for stability, and also so that my set neck doesn't look like a Fender neck that I just glued in.

Even still, I will be slicing off the neck blanks with a really thin bandsaw blade, so I am concerned that it might wander. I could use my fat table saw blade, but that would be wacking off .25" just in kerf loss. I may very well end up two neck blanks. I'd rather have two workable neck blanks, than 3 crappy-thin necks. Ugh

Edit:
HUGE thanks man! You should have a dang Patreon page where I can leave you a dollar for every $20 you save me with advice! Much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:22 pm 
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Moved


Last edited by fingerstyle1978 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:26 pm 
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Koa
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I'm still a bit uncertain exactly what you are planning to build. You've got the dimensions of an LP neck pretty much nailed, the heel is nominally 1-5/8. As you know, if you are going to do an angled scarfed head you are going to have a great deal of work lining up your center oak stripe and carrying it thru the joint. It is a bit tricky jigging that joint and trying to maintain your stripes and lines will be tricky. On the other hand, a Fender slab head will be pretty easy to fabricate but if you do six on a side the oak will run off the edge.

If you simply glue a block of sapele on to make the heel you will loose the oak and have a bunch of different grain coming together at wonky angles.

I built a guitar with a laminated neck a long time ago - maple center and mahogany sides. It was sawn and carved the the traditional one piece neck style - very wasteful of wood. Everything I build now is scarfed head and stacked heel using nicely quartered wood - I don't use a board just because I happen to have it.

Attachment:
Tricone 5.JPG


Attachment:
Tricone 6.JPG


The other thing about the guitar in that picture is that I knew when I started that I wanted maple trim on the entire guitar to contrast with the flamed koa. I like to carry a theme of woods and colors through the entire guitar.

Which brings me to the question that I had when I read your first post. What is the rest of your guitar going to look like? Are you planning to use oak and/or sapele for the rest of the build? I can see a sapele body with an oak cap and maybe an oak head plate, but then are you going to build three of them?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:57 pm 
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Walnut
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The guitar I'm building will be...

- Semi-hollowbody like a Fender thinline, meaning... solid body, but the top part, above the pickup vaeties will be hogged out on a drill press/forstner bit, and cleaned up with a router and bearing pattern bit.

- The body shape is my own design, but it is essentially sort of a slightly of-set Telecaster body. It has the same approx. dimensions as a Strat-Tele-Jaguar

-The body will be all maple. The person I'm making this guitar for is a lifelong Rickenbacker 330 player, hence the semi-hollow body, all maple body.

- The neck is a Sapele/White Oak/Sapele lamination.

- The headstock will have a 9 degree back angle. 9 Degrees is the max I can have the headstock angle backwards, yet have it to where when you lay the body down flat on a table, the tip of the headstock will still be 1/8-1/4" off the table. i.e. Trying to have a back angled headstock. but prevent the Gibson 17degree angle broken headstock curse.

- The fretbaord is ebony and will be 24 3/4" scale length, 12 radius... and it will have a Zero fret. I may reconsider and radius it to 10" to be more Rickenbacker like. But this player plays way more single note solos and "math-rock" like notes rather than sweeping chords. DEFINITELY a rock guitar, and not a pretty melody maker.

- Basic simple white dot inlays at the normal positions.

- Stainless Steel Frets

- The nut will be the narrower Fender-style bone nut that I will radius and slot myself.

- The tuning machines will be 3 on 3 like a Les Paul, however... I have come up with this idea where I install four very small guide bearings sticking straight up out of the face of the headstock, about .75" back from the nut, so that the strings can come straight through the nut, instead of the V-shaped pattern that other 3 on 3 headstocks cause the strings to adopt. My thought precess is... if I install a sturdy screw with a conical shaped bearing that an freely spin, when I put the strings on, they will come out of the nut, and then .75" later ride along this bearing and make their angle towards their respective tuning machine. I'd only need four, because strings 1 and 6 will naturally be straight anyway.

- I do not care at all about the sapele/oak/sapele lamination lines matching up properly from an aesthetic's pov. I will be color-coating over the back of the neck.

- It will have a Bigsby B5 vibrato arm and a Schaller rolling bridge. I would not have opted for a Bigsby, but that was the ask, so that's what I'm doing.

- I am making the pickups for this build, and they will essentially be Lollertrons. Meaning... semi-hi-gain humbuckers, in a larger Filtertron inspired over faced cover with an alnico 5 bar mag, and screw pole terminals. It will be a dual humbucker set up with 2 vol and 2 tone pots. The selector switch will not be up on the horn like a Les Paul, but more down where a Strat switch is.

- The guitar top will also have a 1/2" German Carve (cove) around the perimeter.

- The body's front and back will be bound, as will the fingerboard.

- The neck will join the body at the 19th fret

- The neck pocket will continue all the way through the first Humbucker pickup cavity. So, I will essentially cut out the neck pickup pocket for a humbucker, then rout out the neck pocket. And once I get to the step where I glue in the neck, I will have to come back and re-route out the pickup cavity again, because the neck mortise will have filled up the pickup cavity as well.

Image

That is about all the details and specs that I can think to provide. It has been a work in progress design. I am very proud of the design on paper. I am really just hoping that the end result is 75% as awesome as I hope it will be in my head and on paper.

Please fire away if you have any input, feedback, or think something I've written is silly or won't work. I welcome ALL feedback.


Last edited by Dolmetscher007 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:13 pm 
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Koa
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Sounds interesting, looking forward to seeing it when its finished. I've built two chambered guitars (a tele clone and a lester clone) and the weight reduction is significant. I've also built two semi hollows (335 clones) - one pictured above.

I'm of the belief that the two reasons Gibbies break at the head are (1) sawn necks and (2) the large route for the truss rod adjuster. I'm convinced that a properly done scarf joint is strong and a double acting truss rod with a small adjuster minimizes the weakness. I did a back strap on one guitar and volutes on a couple, but they are more aesthetic than structural. Also every one of my guitars lives in its case so there isn't much chance that they will get knocked off a stand or a wall hanger.

If this is your first electric build I always recommend getting Melvyn Hiscock's book - sounds like you have this pretty well thought out.



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:27 pm 
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A couple more thoughts. Get your geometry dialed before you cut any wood. It looks like that is flat topped with a bevel down to the sides - more or less SG without the pointed cutaways. You may need neck angle, overstand or both to get the geometry you want. Work from you actual bridge - have it in hand. If you are using a ToM you are more or less committed to 12 inch radius. Consider a roller bridge with your Bigsby

For a 19th fret body joint definitely run your tenon as far into the body as you can. Short tenon Gibsons have a bad reputation - I have repaired some short tenon/18 fret guitars that have failed at the joint.

Do think carefully about the sequence of routing the cavities. I would suggest routing the neck pickup but not the bridge. Make your neck pocket template long enough that it can be screwed into the bridge p/u area. You are right that once your neck is set you need to go back and clean up the neck p/u cavity. For that reason I don't glue the f/b on until the neck is set and cavities are routed

Attachment:
IMG_3297.JPG


Otherwise, looking interesting


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Last edited by Freeman on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:34 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
Sounds interesting, looking forward to seeing it when its finished. I've built two chambered guitars (a tele clone and a lester clone) and the weight reduction is significant. I've also built two semi hollows (335 clones) - one pictured above.

I'm of the belief that the two reasons Gibbies break at the head are (1) sawn necks and (2) the large route for the truss rod adjuster. I'm convinced that a properly done scarf joint is strong and a double acting truss rod with a small adjuster minimizes the weakness. I did a back strap on one guitar and volutes on a couple, but they are more aesthetic than structural. Also every one of my guitars lives in its case so there isn't much chance that they will get knocked off a stand or a wall hanger.

If this is your first electric build I always recommend getting Melvyn Hiscock's book - sounds like you have this pretty well thought out.



This is my first full-on build. I have built a couple of kits, and I've done a lot of repairs etc. But I've never carved a neck, installed frets, cut the slots, etc.

My biggest fear right now is the headstock scarf joint. I just shelled out huge money (to me) for a nice thickness planer. But I do not have a joiner. So, I've seen a lot of YouTube videos where they...
- Mark out a square line across the face of the neck blank
- Then use a protractor to scribe a line along the one edge of the blank
- Then mark a square line across the back of the neck blank
- And finally use a protractor to scribe a second line up the second side of the bank, and if this final line meets the original square line... then you're good. If not... try again. Check that the blank itself it square and uniform in thickness, etc etc.

I can do all that. But... one guy on YouTube used a ban saw to freehand cut the scarf joint.
One guy use an elaborate table saw jig.

They both ended up flipping the off-cut so that the two angled cuts make a skateboard ramp-shape. Then they joint, plane, sand, or in some way level the two. I am concerned that THIS is the step where I will make a human error. I don't have a jointer. I do have a beautiful Veritas low angle jack plane, but I'm poop at using it. Way to scared to bring that thing near something this "fine."

My solution is to build a super flat sanding-block by gluing and screwing together two 3/4" pieces of MDF. Using double stick tape to stick stick down some 120 grit paper that is just slightly smaller than the block so as to not round over any edges by accident or inconsistent pressure.

But I don't know if this will work, and I don't know if it is best to sand in a circular motion, back and forth in the same direction, just sand in one direction picking up the block each time to return to the beginning of each stroke. I am in uncharted waters with trying to get to piece of wood THIS flat without a jointer.

And yeah... as you said... I don't know how I will be able to glue it up. I haven't seen any 9 degree angle clamps anywhere, :-)

Any tips on either of these aspects would be awesome!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:20 pm 
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Dolmetscher007 wrote:

- The headstock will have a 9 degree back angle. 9 Degrees is the max I can have the headstock angle backwards, yet have it to where when you lay the body down flat on a table, the tip of the headstock will still be 1/8-1/4" off the table. i.e. Trying to have a back angled headstock. but prevent the Gibson 17degree angle broken headstock curse.



The angle isn't the problem with the Gibby head breaks, it's the way the end of the truss rod channel is machined to accept the nut and an external wrench that leaves a minimum of wood in the area to carry the load. It carries the load fine, they do not like being abused, tossed around or knocked over.... but no guitars really do.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:03 pm 
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Koa
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I have neither a planer or a jointer. I cut my heads with a cheap band saw, however I've got to say I have spent a fair amount of time tuning it. I've actually seen pictures of a guy doing it free hand with carpenter's saw. Flip the end over, clamp to the neck stick, plane and sand flat. I have a couple of decent little planes, and once again, I've taken the time to make them scary sharp. I roughly thin the head piece on the band saw, final thicknessing can be done with a plane or a Safe-T planer.

A very good flat sanding block is an inexpensive metal carpenter's level from Lowes or Home Depot. Put sandpaper on with double sticky tape or get sticky back sand paper. I use one of these to shoot joints, to sand the top of a neck before putting the fretboard on - in fact I can't remember when I last used it to level something.

One of the decisions about doing a scarfed joint is whether to put the head on the end of the neck stick or on the bottom - there seem to be advantages to both. I've tried both and have settled on the end - I think it does make a slightly stronger joint (and it would make lining up your oak stripe easier).

One big problem with the scarfed joint is holding the pieces while you glue them - wet glue is a great lubricant and the joint is a classic high school physics example. I've built all sorts of jigging lashups, the last one I did (about a week ago) it just used two tooth picks to align everything and the glue up was simple. (Nice thing about tooth picks is they won't destroy a router bit like a metal brad would).

I suggest buying a pre slotted pre radiused fretboard from one of the forum sponsors. I've built 24 guitars to date, only mitered one board and got a fret slightly wrong. I do so many different scale lengths that it would be a nightmare trying to make templates for all of them (altho I'm considering making a digital readout ball screw miter box as shown in a recent issue of American Lutherie magazine).

Here is a thread that I did a while back about a chambered guitar, set neck, some curve to the top, many of the things you are talking about. The head part is on page 2 (note I did not use the tooth pick trick on this one, I can show pictures of that if you are interested). This also deals with the neck geometry, routing the pickup and neck cavities, routing the truss rod access and so forth.

https://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/fo ... clip-added

Good luck, hope it helps



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:16 pm 
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Koa
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Here are some pictures of the neck I am currently building (acoustic OM style guitar). I trued the side of a 1 inch blank with the carpenters level, clamped it to a big block of wood to keep it from tipping and sawed the 16 degree angle by eye

Attachment:
IMG_4877.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_4878.JPG


Here is the glue up. The tooth picks can be seen in front of one of the orange clamps

Attachment:
IMG_4880.JPG


Stacking the heel

Attachment:
IMG_4881.JPG


After routing the truss rod channel

Attachment:
IMG_4901.JPG


I'm working on the heel end now - this will be a bolted M&T joint and I want to make as many saw cuts as I can on the band saw with square sides. No pictures but I think its covered in that thread for the style neck you will be making.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:27 pm 
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Walnut
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Man... those are some awesome pics.

I too plan to do the scarf joint with the headstock (off cut) on to of the neck, than underneath. For the same reason B. Howard mentioned, I am considering a volute. The extra "beef" under the truss rod opening and nut may help with sustain, and strength in case it ever falls over. Also... if I leave the material to try a volute, the worst thing that can happen is, I have to file/rasp it away if I choose to not keep it.

I like the huge block idea where you clamp the neck to it as a square assist for band sawing. I have a craigslist Sears craftsman bandsaw that I don't even know how to "tune." I have a lot of reading to do online, and I have a pile full of scraps from 2x4s, and hardwoods that I plan to make at least 10 "scarf joints" before I attempt the real one with my good wood. I am a pretty patient woodworker. Some of my friends will literally drink a couple of beers and then go using saw (yikes!!!) to try out new things because they suddenly have some liquid courage in them. F-that noise! I get down right zen about this kinda thing. I want to feel at one with the saw, and at one with the wood. Ha ha ha.

So you drilled pilot holed, and used tooth picks as dowels to glue up the headstock? That's genius. I still don't see how you are able to clamp even pressure along the scarf joint that is wanting to slip past each other due to the angle. Sure the toothpicks help, but... am I missing something?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:34 pm 
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Koa
Koa

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A volute is a good idea - there are basically two kinds. The original Martin "dart" was part of an elegant joint that they used to use on their necks. Rather than the simple scarf which relies on glue, they did something called a "birds beak" which automatically pulled itself together. The dart is the bottom part of the beak. The other volute you see a lot on fancy archtops and other high end guitars - the area between the neck and head is purposely left thick and is sculpted into a graceful, but stronger, curve. Another option is to put a separate veneer on the back of the head that flows into the neck, thats called a back strap. Any of them would strengthen your neck.

One potential problem will be thinking about how you are going to cut the neck and head to leave enough material for your volute. I cheated on one guitar and made it a separate glued on piece (its the Martin dart style). Once again this would be a nightmare with your laminated neck. This is a good picture to show the parts of a built up neck. The head is quite thick because its going to be a slot head

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IMG_0942.JPG


However, in my opinion the reason necks break is that the head is sawn across the grain and is fairly thin at that point. You've got a huge amount of string tension pulling the head back towards the bridge. All it takes is a little thump to do the rest. Having the truss rod cutout there makes it worse, but I've fixed a bunch of necks that didn't break in the truss rod cavity.

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IMG_3386.JPG


Notice that this broke right along the grain line.

Big advantage of the scarfed joint is that the grain of the head runs parallel to the head. You are relying on a glue joint but its a big one and the fretboard is laminated on top of the joint itself. Properly made that glue joint is stronger than the parent wood.

As far as the tooth picks, this might be a better picture. There is a white piece of plastic under the head at the very end of the angle and another on top clamped to the flat part of the neck. Those help align the head and at least partially keep it from moving. I clamped it all up dry (without the glue it doesn't want to slide around) and drilled the two holes out of the way thru the head and neck in one pass. The holes are the same diameter as the tooth pick. Slopped glue all over it, aligned it between the two plastic blocks (they are a high molecular weight industrial plastic that glue doesn't stick to, I like them for cauls), slipped the tooth picks in the holes and started applying the clamps. I was prepared to pull it all apart if it slipped but it didn't and it was infinitely easier than all the other things I had used.

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IMG_4879.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:24 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:28 am
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First name: Leonard
Last Name: Duke
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State: MI
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Not everyone thinks this way... but many of us do:
I pick wood by knocking on it (or dropping it on a wooden table). Most samples of the famous guitar woods get a clear click followed by a resonant boing. I've never tried a piece of oak that had anything besides a dead thump. Personally, I stick to the famous traditional woods unless the piece I have in my hand really speaks to me in the click test.

In the seventies Gibson built a lot of electrics and archtops with multi-laminated necks. Many players felt that these necks were too stiff and that the guitars just didn't get a good relaxed sound.

I've built a few multi-laminate necks and I am careful to make the wood fit together carefully so that I don't have to force it together with heavy clamps. I don't want to glue stress into the wood. Arthur Overholtzer explains his theory of not glueing stress into a guitar in his book "Classical Guitar Making".


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