Acceptable Neck Blank Warp

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by flyjumper, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. flyjumper

    flyjumper TDPRI Member

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    I have a StewMac curly maple neck blank (30") that I want to use for a guitar I'm building right now... However, I noticed that it has a considerable bow to it. After doing some research, it appears it's not the best idea to try and force the wood into position either by wetting it and pressing or just pressing alone.

    I will attach some pictures below to show how much warp I'm talking about. I think I might be able to get by with just using the truss-rod to bend it into position. And position the neck so the strings are pulling against the bow. This is my first time buying curly maple for a neck and I do realize that curly maple isn't very stable and it might move a bit, I just don't know what's acceptable for a neck.

    Thanks for the help!
     

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  2. Maricopa

    Maricopa Friend of Leo's

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    I usually won't build from a blank that hasn't been in my cache for less than a year...and most for 2-3. Shipping wood from the East coast to the West coast you're going to get some movement. Give it some time to acclimate before deciding what to do...and don't wet and press it.
     
  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Hopefully the wood is oversized from your final dimensions. Maple isn't the most stable wood and I hesitate to buy something thicknessed to size already. Curly maple is even more unstable due to the wild grain. I did one time buy a Lowes piece of maple which did warp and came in undersize as a neck. It's fine if you like thin necks, but if you don't then it doesn't work out that well. If you don't have material to joint and plane off to square it up, I'd send it back.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
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  4. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    If you can just push down on the middle with your hand while it is on a table and it flattens out, everything will be fine. if you have to stand on it with both feet to get it to flatten out, then you have an unusually strong piece of maple and I would return it.

    Strings pulling against the bow = right idea. I assume you are using a double acting truss rod. That plus the string tension will straighten that sucker out easily. When you are worried about the strength of neck wood you have to do a really good job of installing the truss rod, glueing on the fingerboard, and it doesn't hurt to strive to have the fingerboard extra thick.

    I tend to do things the hard way, but I would also figure out how to clamp it so that when I glued the fingerboard on top, the neck was pulled flat. Then, when the neck was in use, there would be the least strain on the fingerboard-to-neck glue joint. I'm thinking I would have the neck supported by the ends and put a carpenters level on top of the fretboard. Then when I put weights (clamps) on the level in the middle of the neck it would push the glue joint together and flatten everything out.

    It wouldn't hurt to store it for a few months and see what happens. I would store it on a flat strong surface and put a moderate weight on the middle to see if it would sink down. Some pieces of maple can be bent to shape with very little work. When the neck is in use the strings are pulling hard on it so it is not wrong to test the wood by pulling hard on it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  5. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been there, with tops and necks. Clamping to a flat surface for a few weeks in your shop can help. Don't wet it though.

    How long has it been in your shop?

    Do you have a lumber yard near by? (Something from a local place will be ready to work in a week or less depending on humidity)

    The wood needs to acclimate to your shop for a few weeks if you just got it. Like Marty was saying I too let my neck blanks acclimate for a year + and I tend to cut them thicker/wider than I need incase of movement. I get some stuff from the west coast and I will wait 9 months to a years to consider when I'll work with it.
    It is possible to work against the bow, but that is an uphill battle and if it's just out of the package, you'll want to wait on it, it will likely move a bit more before it's where's it's going to stay.
     
  6. Deegatron

    Deegatron Tele-Meister

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    Check this blank very carefully. if it's bow only I agree with the above but if there is any twisting side to side whatsoever I would return it.
    Wood is going to move with humidity, humidity changes with the seasons. the last thing you need is a neck twists every summer and is only playable in the winter months.
    YMMV
     
  7. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

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    It doesn't matter if it's bowed or twisted or cupped...as long as you have enough wood to
    square it up on all sides so you can cut out the shape ,have a flat surface for the fret board
    and heel you will be okay.

    That neck Blank is 1.0" thick but a fender neck only needs to be .750"

    You are never going to get a perfect neck blank and as you remove wood it's going to move anyways.
    PRS has neck blanks sitting around for months and years as they only remove small amounts of wood at a time
    to avoid problems. But you aren't PRS with Millions of Dollars at stake... So you might as well just go for it.
     
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  8. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    You didn't mention if it's a one piece or two piece neck that you want to build. If it's a two piece then you should have plenty there to plane it and get it flat. If it's one then I would try pushing it down and see what happens. Otherwise, send it back.
     
  9. flyjumper

    flyjumper TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the help guys... It is in fact going to be a two-piece neck. The Stewmac neck blanks are 13/16" thick so I have very little room to work with.

    Some of you were talking about planing the piece... and please forgive my ignorance here, but if I send it through the planer, that's not going to take care of a bow or twist correct? I'd assume it'd keep the warp, but just make it thinner.

    Thanks for again for all of the help.
     
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  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Jointing and planing are two different things. Jointing removes the warp from the bottom by flattening out the bottom surface and is done preferably on a machine called a jointer. Planing makes the jointed top parallel with the freshly jointed bottom surface, and is done with a surface planer or in some cases a thickness sander. That's part of the squaring up of a board. Rough lumber comes warped. Home center wood can be purchased warped. I seldom buy S2S lumber unless I know I can further work it down to my final dimensions. For a 1Pc maple F style neck, I buy 5/4 lumber. That way I know I can get a 1" thick and flat neck when I'm done.

    https://www.familyhandyman.com/diy-advice/planing-rough-sawn-lumber/


    There are other ways to do jointing and planing like a hand plane, thickness, sander, and more often than not around here, a router planing jig.

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Plane-your-wood-slabs-with-a-Planing-Sled-that-you/
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
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