Cutting a neck pocket - Accurately

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Slowtwitch, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Hi I'm new to the forum (wondering across from Strat-talk ;)), although I feel like I've been part of the forum for a long time, finding plenty of info here.

    I've started with my first guitar build as a novice, excluding the neck and I'm doing it the old fashioned weekend warrior way - no CNC, no CAD, limited woodwork tools. I thankfully do have a router table though.
    I'll post the build as I progress soon, although it will be a slow build.

    I've used Mr. Down's Tele dimensioned body PDF, printed, cut-out transferred to MDF and free hand routered and sanded a body template to router. That's where I am currently, quite pleased with my effort so far!

    The thing the freaks me the most though is cutting the neck pocket accurately so that the neck is properly aligned, fits snug in the pocket and I don't need to shim it afterwards.

    I'm thinking to create another neck pocket template from MDF, (tele or strat neck, still need to source a neck, so template will suite either one) and cut using the router table.

    BUT!!!! once again I'll need to make the template free hand i.e print a drawing, cut it out, trace to MDF, cut MDF free hand by router or jigsaw & sanding.

    -Is that accurate enough?

    - How difficult is it to line-up the template?

    Is this how it's done besides cnc?


    I'm not in the US where I can buy templates, here's so pics of my crude methods used so far.

    Thx for the advise
     

    Attached Files:

  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Take 3 straight pieces of wood or other material and anchor them down to another sheet good to make into a template. In other words you will use those pieces to template rout your template. I'd probably draw out the lines on a sheet of paper using the tdowns specs. A machinist straight edge is handy here also a protractor and a really sharp pencil. A tele neck template has tapered sides, not straight sides. Be aware of that. The neck drops in, it does not slide in from the front.

    It is easy on a tele neck since the back surface is flat. If you had a tele neck you wanted to use, you could clamp it down and put the 3 pieces of material around it. Use a bearing on the bit shank type of pattern bit, not a flush trimmer.


    I did the same kind of thing here:

    See this thread at about post 159 and on.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-low-budget-telecaster-style-build.525258/page-8#post-6148809

    A licensed tele neck should be 2 -3/16" wide at the end. The cavity should be 2-7/32" wide to accommodate paint and a bit of wiggle room to adjust the neck on the body.


    This guy uses 4 pieces. You want the 3 or 4 pieces to be at least 3 inches wide and longer to support the router so it doesn't tip at the end where it ends.


    https://www.google.com/search?biw=1....gws-wiz-img.yKnFq-0-wxc#imgrc=LKUZOiEAgg-XkM:
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  3. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    This is how I made my Tele and Strat templates. I build my own necks so I used my neck templates for this.
    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/an-airtight-neck-pocket-technique.232194/

    The trick here is making sure you have a center line and lining up the neck to that line. Then I line it up with a body template I use for the neck pocket and other cavities. The other thing I do is put a layer of masking tape on the pocket of the template to make it that much smaller. Then I sand the sides of the neck for a tight fit. Of course that won't work with a finished neck.

    No matter how you do it - and Marty's above is probably easier - the center line is key.
     
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  4. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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  5. papaschtroumpf

    papaschtroumpf Tele-Holic

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    I found that bracketing the neck with pieces off wood as explained above works really well, and otbyou make your own neck or buy them from less reputable vendors, you don't have to worry about them being out of spec so much.

    Otherwise, I like MDF for templates, files/sands really well so it's easy to follow the lines. Just check the template on a piece of scrap with your actual neck before taking it to your body.
     
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  6. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's

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    Welcome Aboard

    Template Looks good, (thanks Mr Downs) might be trying to do a deluxe style build myself in the near future.
    Some times its easier to have your intended pick guard on hand before cutting the body out. Lots of variation in pick guard shapes.


    Marty always has good advice / how to threads.
     
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  7. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

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    Forget free-handing with router. Jigsaw and sand to line.

    Spend time ensuring center lines are accurate. Live by them from then on.
    No center line or bad center lines on templates spell trouble.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  8. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Agreed, that's why I spend quite a bit of time designing layout and pickguard.jpeg a custom pick guard, because I'll be moving things around a bit to suite me best. This is where I'm at currently...

    You can also see that I varnished over centre lines to secure them on the template
     
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  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I've tried 'em all... the best, simplest is to use straight edges, attached to the body, either via clamps or double stick tape, I use Golfworks grip tape... because that way I have tape around when time comes to replace the golf grips too.. but really because it's the best double stick tape on the planet...

    here's a few photos to give ya the idea.. the last few is of a "jig" i made to accomplish the same thing..

    and remember you do not need perfectly radiused corners.. all ya need is a router bit of the same diameter... the router cannot cut a 90 degree corner... it can cut the radius though..

    rk



    DSC_6550.JPG DSC_6551.JPG DSC_6553.JPG DSC_7177.jpg DSC_7178.JPG DSC_7184.JPG DSC_7601.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  10. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    That is one slick jig!!

    Do you use the jig or still do it the old way?
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I use the jig... that way, no surprises due to a neck maker not knowing what 2 3/16 is... I'm so tired of guys sending me necks, "guaranteed to specs" whose specs must have come from another universe... :eek:

    When guys wanna send me their parts to cut costs, they're usually a bit taken aback by the cost reduction, or lack thereof... :p

    r
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  12. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I like those long straight edges to line up! For a Tele neck it's fine but for a Strat neck that doesn't have a flat heel profile, which is now what I have for my current build, I'd like to try the "air tight" method ;)
     
  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Use one jig to cut the perimeter body shape; a second jig that has the neck pocket, pickups, and locates the bridge. That way the important bits are all aligned with each other, like your pickups are centered between your neck pocket and bridge location. If you make the neck pocket+ jig inside the same body shape pattern, you used the first template you made to cut it except for the squared end overhang at the neck pocket area, then you just align the second template to the body, clamp down, and cut your pockets.

    Make sure your first master templates are used to make working templates. You'll eventually nick the working template and it's a whole lot easier to glue that nick with a scrap piece of wood and use the master template to recut or just cut a whole fresh working template than to start all over jigsawing and sanding.

    .
     
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  14. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Not really a problem for a handy wood worker... ya just make the correct insert by shaping the heel contour with a spindle shaper, using trial and error.... here's the three most often used....

    r

    DSC_6465.jpeg DSC_6464.jpeg DSC_6463.jpeg
     
  15. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I like that! :)

    Nice touch in the pocket!
     
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  16. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    There is another option, and that is to make the neck entirely by hand. I cut the pocket first, and then make the neck entirely by hand, using the template only to outline the initial size.

    By hand means no power tools at all. This isn't a production method, but it will allow you to fit any small variation.
     
  17. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    While on the subject, to what depth should I router the raw unfinished body?

    Theoretically Tele neck pockets are 5/8" approx 16mm deep.

    Can I router to 5/8" if my neck is 1"? Or will it be too deep once the body is painted?

    I really don't want my neck too high, but obviously don't want to fix a too deep neck pocket problem

    What is recommended for unfinished bodies? I'm putting a poly and clear finish on
     
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    5/8ths is fine.. there's more than enough margin in the adjustments to make up for anything the paint can interject.

    r
     
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  19. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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  20. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fender specs are a 5/8" deep cavity for a 1" thick neck. This will work for a standard bridge.
     
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