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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Building A One Piece Neck.........

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Jack Wells, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    I've been planning on a neck building thread for some time now. As you may know Telex has recently started a neck building thread in Tele-Tech. However it appears we are using different woods, tools and techniques. My construction pretty much follows that found in Make Your Own Electric Guitar by Melvyn Hiscock.

    I've chosen to use single action truss rods since they are fairly simple to make yourself. However they do require you to rout a channel that varies in depth. For the curve of the channel I used the neck blueprint found on page 49 of the Duchossoir Strat book. In building my channel routing jig I first drew the curve onto poster board then transfered it to 2x lumber. I then cut close to the line using the bandsaw followed by sanding to the line with the Ridgid oscilating belt sander. I then ripped this piece in two and put it together glueing equal width spacers at each end. Here's the completed jig. The step pieces at each end are stops for my plunge router base.

    [​IMG]

    Making a neck in a home workshop is all about centerlines. You need centerlines on your template, jigs and on your neck blank. Here's the centerline mark on the jig

    [​IMG]

    Before starting, I used my neck template to draw the outline, nut line and centerline on my neck blank. I'm using 5/4 hard maple from a local supplier here in Albuquerque. Here's the jig mounted on the neck blank. I routed the channel in several passes. I started at the jig high point with the 1/4 in. straight bit just touching the blank. I have the Porter-Cable micro-adjustable edge guide mounted on the Ridgid plunge router.

    [​IMG]

    For adjusting the edge guide I made this bit from a 1/4 in. bolt by cutting off the head, chucking it into the drill press and using a file to form a point.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2007

  2. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    With the edge guide adjusted we're ready to rout. Here's the neck blank after routing the channel and after bandsawing the rough shape. This particular neck will be a vintage style with the adjustment at the heel. The maple I bought was a wide board and being thrifty, I am trying to get as many necks as possible from it. That's the reason for the odd shape of the blank. The shallow point of the channel was routed close to 0.495 in. deep per the Strat book.

    [​IMG]

    I made a neck template from 3/4 in. MDF. This thick template allows me to start the shape routing with a shallow pass on the router table. I do the neck shape routing on the router table using a pattern following bit (the bearing is below the cutter when mounted in the table) making several shallow passes .......... 1/4 in. or less. Here's the neck and template after shape routing. Here's I'm transfering the centerline and nut line from the template to the neck.

    [​IMG]

    With the template still attached, I mark the tuner hole location with a 1/8 in. bit.

    [​IMG]

    After marking the tuner hole location, I remove the template and drill the tuner holes. I stop before going all the way through. I'm drilling for Kluson style tuners.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2007

  3. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Next I thin down the headstock. I want the final thickness to be a little less than 0.6 in. so I cut it a little thicker.

    [​IMG]

    I use the Wagner Safety Planner mounted in the drill press to get the final thickness.

    [​IMG]

    I've built a jig patterned after the one in the Hiscock book for drilling the acces hole to the truss rod channel. Here are a couple of pictures of it.

    [​IMG]

    The long 3/8 bit goes through a guide block made of hard maple and drilled at a 3 degree angle per the Strat book. Depth of 3/8 hole is 1.2 in. beyond the nut line.

    [​IMG]
     

  4. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    I've got three necks underway at this time. On the two earlier necks I drilled a 1/4 in. hole into the channel using a guide block clamped to the jig. On this one I wanted a smaller hole and didn't feel like making a guide block so I drilled this 3/16 hole freehand by eyeballing that the bit was centered in the 3/8 in. hole.

    [​IMG]

    Now to do the transition between the headstock and the fretboard. I'm using the Ridgid oscillating drum sander. In this photo I'm choosing a block to raise the heel so the nut line is perpendicular to the table.

    [​IMG]

    Here I'm using the sander. It's easy to screw up here and sand into the headstock face so I try to stop short and do the final sanding by hand.

    [​IMG]

    This shows the final sanding using the sanding drum by hand.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Jan 6, 2005
    Iowa USA
    Admin Post
    Great stuff Jack!

    You'll have me ready to fly solo on one before you know it. ;)
     

  6. Jellecaster

    Jellecaster Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2006
    New Hampshire, USA
    You know, you can buy necks already built - I've seen 'em! ;)

    Just kidding - this is awesome stuff. I'm a long way away from building my own necks, but this will help when I do!
     

  7. chickenpicker

    chickenpicker Friend of Leo's

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Great stuff as usual Jack.

    How did you fix the mdf template to the neck blank?
     

  8. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    This picture shows the fret slot sawing set-up I used on neck #2. It should be understood that the StewMac fret slot miter box is intended for sawing fret slots in separate fret boards ....... not one piece necks. In normal use the fret board being sawed has parallel sides. This setup consists of a long board with the miter box attached in the center and MDF strips attached at either end level with the base of the miter box.

    [​IMG]

    Here I'm sawing the slots. The neck is taped to the StewMac fret scale template. The template has notches which engage a pin in the miter box thereby making measuring unnecessary.

    [​IMG]

    Slot sawing completed.

    [​IMG]

    Here I'm cleaning out the nut slot with additional cuts. As you can see, if you were making a one piece Strat neck, you'd have to do some of the slots without the miter box.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks guys .............. I think putting this thread together so it makes some sense might be more work than actually building the neck.

    Chickenpicker .......... the MDF neck template is attached with double-stick tape.
     

  9. telex

    telex Tele-Holic

    573
    Dec 23, 2006
    New Hampshire, USA
    It's nice to see someone else's approach!;) Looks great so far.

    A couple of questions:

    Did you decide on an anchor yet? Another possibility is the top of a valve stem for a fawcet. It has the same thread usually (10-32), and If you knew a plumber, you could get some for free maybe.

    Did you hit the channel where you wanted to? That part is scaring me!

    That's a long 3/8 bit, where did you get it?

    I'll have to get a safty planer for the drill press. Good idea!
     

  10. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Although the fret slot cutting above worked out OK, it was a bit tedious setting up the miter box for the correct depth of cut and the sawing took some time. I chose another method for neck #3. I purchased the StewMac thin kerf fret slot cutting circular saw blade for use in my radial arm saw. I cut a special fence and installed a pin to engage the template notches.

    [​IMG]

    Sidebar: I'm a big fan of the radial arm saw having used mine extensively over the last 30 years. I've recently discovered that DeWalt no longer makes them and they were not shown in a recent copy of the Sears tool catalog. Probably less call for them with the advent of the sliding compound miter saw. I think they are still being made by a company in Canada but they may only be large industrial models.

    Here's neck #3 after cutting the slots. This probably took only about four minutes. The template has been taped to a piece of 1/4 in. MDF with a centerline drawn on it. The neck is taped to the MDF with the neck centerline aligned to the line on the MDF.

    [​IMG]

    With the fret slots cut we're ready to radius the fingerboard. I used the StewMac 9.5 in. radius sanding block with 100 grit self stick paper and some elbow grease followed by 320 paper.

    [​IMG]

    Next step ...... drilling for the fret board markers.

    [​IMG]

    Telex.......... I haven't found an anchor yet. That top of a valve stem is a good idea. I've even thought of making one from an hex nut by filing notches with a triangular file.

    I've bought several foot long bits from Lowes. However the sizes are limited. The 3/16 in is a little small. The 1/4 in. is a little large. I'm thinking I may be able to enlarge the 3/16 in hole a little with a shorter bit........ maybe.

    I did hit the channel with the 3/16 in bit........... not perfectly centered but close enough. I'll show a picture later. This post has used up my four pictures.

    Woodworkers Supply had the Safety Planers on sale cheap a while back. It's been quite a while though. It may have been a clearance item.
     

  11. tdowns

    tdowns Former Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Texas
    Why does jwells make his own Tele neck instead of buying one?

    BECAUSE HE CAN!! Hehe.

    Man, that is crafsmanship at its finest. I can't wait to see you cut the profile.

    Thanks for posting.
     

  12. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Glueing in the fretboard markers. These markers were purchased from StewMac. I think they're 15/64 in. I used a super glue gel. After the glue set, I sanded them flush with the radius block and 320 paper.

    [​IMG]

    Here I'm preparing to drill for the side dot markers. I'm using the level to choose a riser block for the heel to make the bass side of the neck parallel to the drill press table. I'm using 2mm plastic rod I purchased some time ago from Warmoth.

    [​IMG]

    Here a picture showing the holes I drilled from the headstock into the truss rod channel. The top one is a 1/4 in hole drilled using a guide block in the jig. The second one was done more or less free hand. Both are a little off to the treble side. Looks fixable to me.

    [​IMG]

    Since I have room for one more picture in this post here's a picture of neck #2 which will have the truss rod adjustment at the headstock. The channel is was routed to within about 3/4 in. of the end. A 1/2 in hole was drilled with its center about 1/2 in. from the end with the depth the same as the channel at that point.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks Terry .......... but in my books, you're still The Man.
     

  13. Stuco

    Stuco Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 27, 2006
    GA
    Looks like you are doing a fine job on this neck. Thanks for documenting this.
     

  14. Lostheart

    Lostheart Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 26, 2005
    Germany

  15. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati R.I.P.

    Mar 25, 2006
    Jeez Jack... I don't even like installing a nut if I don't have to!

    Nice work. I like your jig for cutting a bend in the truss rod slot.

    Pete
     

  16. Vegasrock

    Vegasrock Tele-Meister

    156
    Jul 28, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Awesome thread....I always look forward to your build threads jack
     

  17. blacklove

    blacklove Tele-Meister

    493
    Jan 8, 2007
    Small Pond
    Beautiful work and really inspiring!
     

  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    I am sooooo jealous..... just lookit how neat and organized that shop is..... that's just not right.

    Ron Kirn
     
    cboutilier likes this.

  19. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Ron ............... I'm not really sure what you're looking at. Maybe it just looks neat in the pictures because stuff gets moved from one horizontal surface to another for picture taking. Horizontal surfaces typically look like this.

    ......[​IMG]
     

  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Ahhhh. . . that's more like it..... looks like home......

    Ron Kirn
     

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