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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:11 pm 
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Koa
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I have twist developed in a Fender style bolt on neck. I thought the wood was well seasoned and stable, but cutting into it obviously released some latent tension. It's was a nice neck, but it goes in the trash, right? I'm usually not an electric guitar builder, so I am not very experienced. There isn't some well known trick for saving a neck with a few degrees of twist is there?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:24 pm 
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If it's not really bad you can dress it out with a fret dress. If it's worse and the thing is worthy of the effort, time and expense to refret it and deepen some fret slots you can remove the frets, level the board ignoring how the head stock will be twisted, refret and call it good.

Based on how excited you seem to be this is likely a POS anyway and if that's the case it's not worth it.

Lastly even Fender Fender style bolt on necks commonly "kick-up" and ski ramp making suitable action impossible. Milling in fall-away saves the day but requires a fret dress too. Before I would consider saving this one part of what I would be looking for is the ski ramp too. It's possible that it was never right.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:36 pm 
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Try reworking it. You might be able to save it, and if you can't...... it was already headed towards the scrap box, right?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:13 pm 
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Koa
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When you say "twist" does that mean that a straight edge laying on the nut end and another at the 12th or 22nd fret aren't parallel? Was it flat before? I don't know if you've glued a fretboard on it or if its a maple neck, if you have radiused and fretted it. If its just a neck blank I would try to plane it flat. If it has a fretboard glued on it would try to remove, plane and replace the f/b. However, I'll also be honest - you can buy very good generic Fender style necks from a hundred bucks and slightly up, it hardly makes sense to scratch build a neck unless you (or I or my customer) is looking for something very specific.

If you happen to be talking about end to end curve (relief or back bow), plane it flat, put the f/b on and do the final adjustment with the truss rod.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:22 pm 
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Koa
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Every board has a bit of twist in it. Usually it cleans up and isn't an issue...

Is there enough meat to flatten it?
Do you have the time to mark it up put it up for 6 months to see if its stable?

If its not stable... Shifting around with humidity changes.... Stop while you are ahead.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:41 am 
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Koa
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Thanks everyone. I hadn't thought of re-planing the fretboard. The twist is subtle, but more than can be corrected by dressing the frets. And, yes, it's twist. Not bow. It all started perfectly flat, but I'm using reclaimed urban lumber. On my archtops I use a laminated neck. This neck is cut from horizontal grain 3/4 wood. I've never had this issue before, I suppose because laminated necks are inherently more stable.

It's for me, so I can live with some cosmetic weirdness in the fretboard. It is also a non-standard size. 1-3/4 nut and 2-1/4 spacing at the bridge. Of course, it is really pretty wood.

I'll try to save it as suggested. If it doesn't work, or twists more I'll reluctantly make a new one.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:00 am 
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Koa
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If it twists the right way just call it an "ergonomic upgrade"

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These users thanked the author david farmer for the post (total 2): gxs (Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:08 pm) • Hesh (Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:19 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Cocobolo
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rlrhett wrote:
Thanks everyone. I hadn't thought of re-planing the fretboard. The twist is subtle, but more than can be corrected by dressing the frets. And, yes, it's twist. Not bow. It all started perfectly flat, but I'm using reclaimed urban lumber. On my archtops I use a laminated neck. This neck is cut from horizontal grain 3/4 wood. I've never had this issue before, I suppose because laminated necks are inherently more stable.


The bold highlighted portion I believe is where your problem lies. "reclaimed" (recycled) lumber tends to be VERY poorly treated and even if it's been sitting in a single spot for 20 years doesn't mean it won't move when you put it in your shop if the humidity level is different. If you used the flat sawn portion as well the wood will be very prone to moving as flat sawn is not the most stable of cuts. Also, 3/4 horizontal grain seems like a VERY thin neck, do you have a picture of the neck inparticular?

And yes, lamination is done to prevent exactly what you are experiencing. Two pieces of wood moving in opposite directions to each other will be inherently more stable than a single piece, because science.

I've repaired some necks with twist but if it requires me to remove more than 1/8" worth of material from the fretboard to flatten it, I usually recommend that it be junked.

Regardless when I see a badly twisted neck on a PRS, Les Paul, or the like, I usually recommend that the client just play it as is and live with the weirdness. Either that or spend a BIG chunk of money to have a fretboard re-planed/refretted and/or replaced.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:15 pm 
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Koa
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Yes, urban lumber often has issues, but this isn't some neighbors tree I grabbed a log from. We have an urban forestry program at Palomar College where the wood is milled, kiln dried and seasoned for some years. It is an amazing resource, actually. My shop is only a couple of miles from the mill.

I only mention this because I believe in supporting urban forestry programs. I don't want to leave the impression that all urban lumber is best thought of as wood chips. Too often I've seen beautiful wood turned into mulch. Of course that doesn't guarantee stability. And in this case all that carefully milling wasn't enough.

As for starting from 3/4 stock, I believe that is what Fender has always spec'ed for their rosewood fingerboard necks. Flat sawn 3/4 maple. To be honest I started with rough lumber at 4/4+ and squared it up to 3/4 before milling. The completed neck with fingerboard is .82 under the nut and .92 at the 12th fret.

I don't build electrics often. As I mentioned I almost exclusively build laminated necks on my archtops. But I didn't feel like there was too little wood to carve a neck from. What size do you use?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:41 am 
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rlrhett wrote:
Yes, urban lumber often has issues, but this isn't some neighbors tree I grabbed a log from. We have an urban forestry program at Palomar College where the wood is milled, kiln dried and seasoned for some years. It is an amazing resource, actually. My shop is only a couple of miles from the mill.

I only mention this because I believe in supporting urban forestry programs. I don't want to leave the impression that all urban lumber is best thought of as wood chips. Too often I've seen beautiful wood turned into mulch. Of course that doesn't guarantee stability. And in this case all that carefully milling wasn't enough.

As for starting from 3/4 stock, I believe that is what Fender has always spec'ed for their rosewood fingerboard necks. Flat sawn 3/4 maple. To be honest I started with rough lumber at 4/4+ and squared it up to 3/4 before milling. The completed neck with fingerboard is .82 under the nut and .92 at the 12th fret.

I don't build electrics often. As I mentioned I almost exclusively build laminated necks on my archtops. But I didn't feel like there was too little wood to carve a neck from. What size do you use?


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As I've only made 2 necks my entire life I'm hardly an expert. They both were replacement necks so I wasn't doing anything original, just copying the specs, profile, shape, cut that sort of thing. The owners of the two guitars were both suffering from extreme neck twist so I tried to take precautions to make the neck as stable as possible, of course wood moves so I don't know where they are now but I haven't heard back so I guess that's good news.

My method started with a block that was nearly 5/4 thick rift sawn hard maple. The piece had been properly stored and dried over the space of about 8 years. I purchased it from a cabinet/table maker. It wasn't the prettiest cut but it was straight with almost no grain runout the whole length of the block. (that's a critical part, learning to read the grain and check for runout before you even start cutting)

I took my 5/4 block and made several cuts. And then left it alone for several weeks to let it move if it wanted to. Came back and made some more cuts, again let it sit for 2-3 weeks before I cut it again. I had it cut down to the profile with the heel cut after about 2 months or so of cutting a bit, waiting for a while, and then cutting some more. I followed this pattern of work up to installing the truss rod, fingerboard etc...

Once that was done, I did the final prep, Fretwork, setup, client was happy.

It took a LONG time for both with my methods but that's the reason I've only done 2. I know there are faster methods but in both of these cases I decided to take the long road the best way I know how. I wouldn't advise my method if you're working in a hurry, as it took me over 4 months to do one neck. YMMV but that worked for me, again I don't make necks for a living so I'm sure I made some mistakes.

There's nothing really wrong with what you did, but I think that if you started with thin stock then that makes your product more prone to twisting as you don't have any material to remove in order to correct any twisting/bowing that will naturally occur. Also flat sawn is not the most stable cut of wood, even if Fender recommends it.

I agree with you about urban forestry, but alot of the time I see people using this wood and then promptly wondering why it twisted into a potato chip on them. Most of the time it's because of the aforementioned, poor/cheap cut, flat sawn, thin, etc... If your laminate methods are working to keep necks from moving, I'd keep up with that regardless of how pretty the wood is, laminate necks will naturally be more stable than a single piece. Hence the reason Martin started their laminate neck methods sometime back on their X series guitars.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:12 am 
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Koa
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There's always a risk of wood twisting off the saw or when the weather changes significantly. It doesnt have anything to do with an urban tree or not...

I know there's no real way to know at this point... But... Do you have any conjectures as to whether the twist came from the fretboard or the neck? Certain fretboard woods like Ebony just never quit moving. And every year they shift hither and yon when the weather changes.

Thats why I would really love to let it sit a couple months and see if it flattens out again... If it does - its scrap - likely reaction wood of some sort... If its stable - it could simply be some kiln drying stress finally relieving.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:05 pm 
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Koa
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truckjohn wrote:
Thats why I would really love to let it sit a couple months and see if it flattens out again... If it does - its scrap - likely reaction wood of some sort... If its stable - it could simply be some kiln drying stress finally relieving.


That makes a lot of sense. Thank you John.


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