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

First neck build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by newuser1, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    47
    318
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Here is my first neck build attempt. I bought 1" X 4" X 6' poplar from HD:

    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.poplar-d4s-1x4x6-feet.1000172689.html

    In reality the poplar is a tiny bit over 3/4" or about 19mm and that's what I needed according to the Crimson Guitars guy videos. I started with poplar because it's much cheaper than maple and my first few attempts will surely go to waste ;).

    Here are the 2 necks after a quick jigsaw cut.

    IMG_1535.JPG IMG_1536.JPG

    After that I used my plunge router to cut following the neck template, and finished the headstock with my spindle sander:

    IMG_1537.JPG IMG_1538.JPG

    I've had several tear outs on the long straight lines, and probably this is due to the fact that the router bit I used had long cutting length.

    IMG_1539.JPG IMG_1542.JPG IMG_1543.JPG

    How do I avoid tear outs when routing, do I just do it in very shallow passes with a short router bit?
    Was what I have done so far a good approach, or should I have done things differently?

    Next I need to route the truss rod channel. I have a new router table that I'm yet to assemble, however now that I think about it I don't have a straight edge reference on either sides of the neck anymore, so I can't use the router table fence as a reference :(. My neck template has a truss rod channel cutout - is there a way to use that somehow with the router to cut the channel properly?

    How do I cut the truss rod channel after the neck sides have been cut to shape?
     

    Attached Files:

    2blue2 likes this.

  2. GotTheSilver

    GotTheSilver TDPRI Member

    78
    Jan 4, 2015
    Houston, TX
    First of all, congrats on taking the plunge into making necks! Making a neck is the most intimidating part of building a guitar - until you have actually done it! Once you have it finished, you will realize it is not nearly as daunting as you thought it would be.

    I don't consider myself an expert - I have only made two guitars so far - but I hand made the neck on both of them. In fact, I made one of the same errors as you. I figured out too late that you should do certain things like routing the truss rod channel, before you do other steps. Live and learn. It is not a lost cause!

    Once you have your router table put together, try this. Get a small piece of wood and attach it to the side of the neck near the nut. This piece of wood should be wide enough that when you place the neck up against your fence, this piece of wood and the body end of the neck touch the fence and keep the neck parallel to the fence so that you can route the truss rod channel directly down the center of the neck. You will probably need to play around with the width of the piece and where exactly to place it on the neck. Also depends on how wide your router fence is.

    Another possibility could be to take two straight pieces of wood and attach them to the top of the neck leaving a channel down the middle of the neck for our router bit with bearing to go down. I have not tried this, but seems like it should work.

    As for the tear out, a router will do that. A lot of people, including me, do the final shaping by sanding rather than by router. Sanding does not produce the tear out. I use a robo-sander that I got from Stew Mac. It is a spindle that goes in your drill press. It has a bearing on it similar to a router bit. You ride that bearing on your template and sand the shape of the neck.

    Hope this helps. Whatever you do, don't get discouraged! Keep on going and you will get there!
     
    newuser1 likes this.

  3. Flynne

    Flynne TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    27
    Jun 27, 2018
    Ohio
    Poplar (compared to maple) is a pretty soft wood so tear outs are a bit of an issue. I find that the most common cause of tearouts is me not paying attention to the grain. If you cut with the grain you will have better luck. Like GotTheSilver said routing around the shape of the head stock is pretty tricky. I like to just use files and a spindle sander to shape the head stock. First i get the shape close with a jig saw or band saw then go at it with files and sanding. IMG_2601.JPG IMG_2604.JPG


    As for the truss rod most people cut that while the neck is still a rectangle with good square edges.

    You could build a jig and square it up with the center line of your neck and route it from there or if you have a fence for your router table you could find the center line on your neck, then stick the back of the neck to the center line of a squared piece of wood and route it on your table. You can use carpet tape or the super glue and masking tape trick to stick the neck to the guide wood.
     
    2blue2 and newuser1 like this.

  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I would attach the neck to a thin piece of plywood with double sided tape. I would make the straight edge of the plywood parallel to your centerline for the truss rod.

    Then you can use the plywood edge along a fence to set up the fence to cut your truss rod slot.

    Trying to rout a peghead is almost a guarantee of tear out. Rough cut the shape and then sand to the line on a Ross type sander if you have it.

    When pattern routing you need to watch your grain direction and feed accordingly. This is more easily done when you aren't taking off much wood, as climb milling tends to send your work across the room. This is why folks buy that 100 dollar spiral pattern bit.


    Plenty of useful info here:

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/lets-make-a-neck.755300/


    You may want to read some of the old build threads and learn from the mistakes of others. You'll see what techniques work better than others. Now that you are into it, they may make more sense to what you are doing.

    If you have a drill press, you can drill your peghead holes along a fence clamped to the drill press table. You would do this after making the peghead edge flat using a sander or hand plane.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
    newuser1 likes this.

  5. GotTheSilver

    GotTheSilver TDPRI Member

    78
    Jan 4, 2015
    Houston, TX
    This is a much better approach than my idea!
     
    guitarbuilder likes this.

  6. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

    717
    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    SOP: Cut to 1/16 of the line. Use a sharp, good quality router bit. Route at a deliberate pace, just above “burning the wood” rate. Don’t route end grain at head and at heel.
    When you get to maple real thing, consider routing your truss rod channel first, while blank is still square, then shape the neck around that.
     
    newuser1 and 2blue2 like this.

  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Just curious as to why you would want to use a spokeshave? Have you used one before?
     

  8. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    47
    318
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    No never used one, I saw it as a suggestion for neck building tool a few times here on the forums, and the Crimson Guitars guy mentioned it in one of his videos.

    What about the plane, would that do for neck and body work?
     

  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    For the most part, very few here use a spokeshave. LOL. I've seen the Farrier's rasp, surform tool, ROSS, angle grinder with an abrasive wheel, and other similar tools used... but not many use drawknives and spokeshaves that I can recall. There is less surface area resting on your neck, so you end up with more high and low points to sand out. I'd suggest a wide rasp and half round files. A spokeshave will work. I have one and made my first necks with one... Haven't used it for a neck in decades. As always...YMMV.

    I'm not a plane guy, although I do have a few, I don't have one like that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018

  10. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

    717
    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    My 2 cents: A low angle plane is a beautiful tool to have, but you probably wont find too much use for it on a neck. As Marty suggests, a spokeshave is usable, but not sure its the first tool a beginning builder should reach for.
    Better investment for necks is a Nicholson patternmakers rasp
    https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/nicholson49patternmakersrasp.aspx
    If you can swing it, get the 49 and the 50.
    If you can find old american-made ones in good shape, MUCH better.
    If money is no concern, look at Auriou rasps.
     

  11. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    I start with a Microplane. Eats through wood like butter. I finish up with rasps and files. I see no use whatsoever for a hand plane nor a spokeshave. From what I have seen spokeshaves have a learning curve and some get the hang of it and some don't. You have much better control with rasps, files or something like a microplane.

    https://us.microplane.com/woodworking_en_us

    Have you watched David Fletcher's videos on Youtube? If not watch the series. It is step by step and when you get to shaping the back of the neck refer to Marty's great thread on neck building that he posted above. Between the two that's all you need to know and follow.
     

  12. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    I route the truss rod slot while the blank is still square then I draw the centerline of the truss rod slot and cut out the neck shape. I use a Shinto Rasp to shape the back of the neck.the facet method keeps the neck profile even. Works great for me.
     

  13. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 25, 2011
    Perth Australia
    I've carved my necks with just about every tool imaginable, at least whatever takes my fancy.
    I do use spokeshaves, Shinto rasp, other rasps, drawknife, scrapers, Arbortec (not so much now as I prefer non-power for necks), chisels and small planes. And sandpaper!
    I love carving necks, possibly my favourite part of the build.
     

  14. GotTheSilver

    GotTheSilver TDPRI Member

    78
    Jan 4, 2015
    Houston, TX
    On the neck I recently completed, I used a medium coarse rasp to rough out the shape. I then used an Iwasaki carving file for the detailed shaping. The Iwasaki files are amazing! Similar to the microplanes mentioned above, but a bit different. I picked up a couple when Woodcraft had them on sale recently, and I totally love them! They can take off wood pretty rapidly, or barely shave it if you use really light pressure. And they leave the wood very smooth, not rough like a rasp. If you are only going to buy one Iwasaki, get a "fine" one.

    And I use the facet method, also.
     

  15. brownale99

    brownale99 TDPRI Member

    65
    Feb 18, 2017
    Newcastle, UK
    Marty's guide above was a massive help when I started neck building. I still have nightmares about routing the first neck I attempted (and the second). As mentioned it's possible to do without a router but if you really want to use one make sure you sand as close as possible to your lines after sawing to limit the tearout. I only ever rout the straight edges now, curves such as the headstock and heel are done solely on the spindle sander where all of the end grain is.
    As most have mentioned above a shinto rasp is fantastic for removing wood, take the majority off with the coarse side and get close to your facet line with the fine side. Work the transitions in with a half round files or an Iwasaki file then work though the grits checking as you go.
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.