First neck build - need some advice

GeekyToneChaser

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I made a neck, sorta. It's my first attempt.

Started out well. Some issues though:

1. The neck ended up unusually thick at the heel. 1 9/32" I haven't made the body yet so I have the option to just route a deeper neck pocket. Would that be a bad move? I don't need interchangeable parts.

IMG_0161.jpg

2. When I thinned the headstock things went poorly at the bandsaw and it ended up thinner than I wanted. measures 12.19mm at the 6th string tuner peg and 10.2 mm at the 1st string tuner. I read about this being unsound structurally, so I attempted to bend a 3mm veneer but I couldn't get the radius to match and I'm afraid to mess this up further. I could add thickness to the back of the headstock, but for now I think I'm content to roll the dice and hope it doesn't bend or break. Advice is welcome.

IMG_0159.jpg IMG_0160.jpg
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3. The biggest issue and the one I'm stuck on, is that when I sanded the headstock transition the spindle cut in very close to where the nut slot needs to be. There isn't enough material now. I'm not "married" to the 25.5" scale length but would I have to move the bridge to use a 24.75" scale for example? Or would the saddle adjustments be enough?

IMG_0164.jpg

I'm stuck in analysis paralysis and I can't decide if I should set this aside and start anew, or keep working this one with its flaws.
 
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GeekyToneChaser

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The issue which I think is irrecoverable is your headstock thickness. The angle from the nut to the tuners looks to be massive and is going to cause issues.

I would toss this one and start fresh, using the lessons learned to make a better one.
Thanks RogerC. That's hard to hear, but I get where you're coming from.

This may sound dumb but I want to finish it off so I can make mistakes on the radius, fretting, carving, etc. before I throw it out. Otherwise my 2nd build might get thrown out too, which I'd rather avoid. This can be my "practice neck".

The fingerboard looks quite thick as well.



Scott

To give it a fighting chance I can run it through the planer a few times to reduce the fingerboard thickness a few mm.

Maybe it's academic at this point, but what do folks think of the scale length question? Does a shorter scale require moving the bridge?

Thanks for your replies.
 

guitarbuilder

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I made a neck, sorta. It's my first attempt.

Started out well. Some issues though:

1. The neck ended up unusually thick at the heel. 1 9/32" I haven't made the body yet so I have the option to just route a deeper neck pocket. Would that be a bad move? I don't need interchangeable parts.

View attachment 968903

2. When I thinned the headstock things went poorly at the bandsaw and it ended up thinner than I wanted. measures 12.19mm at the 6th string tuner peg and 10.2 mm at the 1st string tuner. I read about this being unsound structurally, so I attempted to bend a 3mm veneer but I couldn't get the radius to match and I'm afraid to mess this up further. I could add thickness to the back of the headstock, but for now I think I'm content to roll the dice and hope it doesn't bend or break. Advice is welcome.

View attachment 968901 View attachment 968902
View attachment 968908 View attachment 968909


3. The biggest issue and the one I'm stuck on, is that when I sanded the headstock transition the spindle cut in very close to where the nut slot needs to be. There isn't enough material now. I'm not "married" to the 25.5" scale length but would I have to move the bridge to use a 24.75" scale for example? Or would the saddle adjustments be enough?

View attachment 968910

I'm stuck in analysis paralysis and I can't decide if I should set this aside and start anew, or keep working this one with its flaws.




See if this helps out:

 

RogerC

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Maybe it's academic at this point, but what do folks think of the scale length question? Does a shorter scale require moving the bridge?

Thanks for your replies.
Not necessarily. Your neck would just accommodate more frets at the shorter scale length and allow you to keep the bridge where it is.
 

crazydave911

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Your first mistake was starting with too thick a neck stock. On a Fender type neck 3/4" is the maximum thickness you can use. Also 1/4" is the maximum fretboard thickness, both of yours is thicker. I do not have a band saw and before I had much experience I used a primitive router planing jig to thickness headstocks and a 1 1/2 sanding drum in a drill to radius the breakaway point. Also, on the nut end of your fretboard measure 1/8" to 3/16" from the end and mark for your nut. Do NOT go into this area, only taper to the very end, no further.
As you get more experienced you can vary your methods to do these things but I've found this to be a foolproof method to not go to far, which unfortunately you have 😥
 

RogerC

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Not necessarily. Your neck would just accommodate more frets at the shorter scale length and allow you to keep the bridge where it is.
I need to clarify here. I was up for most of the night and wasn't very clear with my answer.

You can use the same neck. But you need to be sure that wherever you place the nut on that fretboard, it's the proper distance from your saddles, whether it's 24.75" or 25.5".
 

boop

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Where is the end of the trussrod in that neck? My thought is to wack the entire headstock off and scarf a new piece of wood as far down as you can. The steepest angle possible ensures the most surface area and a stronger joint. Agree with Crazydave that you can start with a 3/4" piece of lumber next time.
Untitled Diagram.jpg


It looks like you have enough thickess on that fretboard that you could cut it off and possibly still use it if you choose to rebuild
 
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GeekyToneChaser

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I need to clarify here. I was up for most of the night and wasn't very clear with my answer.

You can use the same neck. But you need to be sure that wherever you place the nut on that fretboard, it's the proper distance from your saddles, whether it's 24.75" or 25.5".

Thanks for the clarification.
 

GeekyToneChaser

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Where is the end of the trussrod in that neck? My thought is to wack the entire headstock off and scarf a new piece of wood as far down as you can. The steepest angle possible ensures the most surface area and a stronger joint. Agree with Crazydave that you can start with a 3/4" piece of lumber next time.
View attachment 969227

It looks like you have enough thickess on that fretboard that you could cut it off and possibly still use it if you choose to rebuild
Wish I would have thought of that. I ran it through the planer a bunch of times to get down to 1/4" - so this neck is that fingerboard's final resting place.

I'll consider the scarf joint it the veneers don't work out - luckily the truss rod access is at the heel so this seems doable.

I started a new neck today as well.
 

epizootics

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The others got the headstock side of things covered, so I'll chime in about the thickness at the heel.

On one occasion, I ended up with a body that was 5mm thinner than planned (a piece of mahogany that had a lot of inner stresses and required a lot of planing down to remove what was a pretty bad twist). The neck pocket would have been too deep for my taste.

I cases like that, you can mark the heel area and use a straight bit in your router table to remove material there, a little bit at a time (no more than 1mm per pass), using the rest of the shaft as a reference against the top of the table. You need to be very careful and press down pretty hard on the neck so you don't tilt it one way or another, but this way you know that the new plane you are creating is perfectly parallel to the original one.

Finishing the neck, however bad things went so far, is a good idea. F**k-ups are natural and going through them is the only way to learn! :)
 

JohnnyThul

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Hm, is there a chance to remove the fretboard? If so, I'd do that and then sand/plane the neck to the required thickness, re-rout the trussrod channel, glue on the fingerboard (planed to 6mm) and check the break angle. If the break angle is okay, I'd veneer the headstock's back to proper thickness. That will lead to a little more work on the headstock to neck transition, but I think, it would actually cool, especially if you would use a contrasting veneer.

Otherwise, if nothing works out, as you already mentioned, use the neck as a practice piece and put on a radius, maybe try a binding or how to drill a hole for trussrod access from the headstock side. This way you can learn a lot on building a neck and makes you feel more confident for the next ones.
 

guitarbuilder

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The others got the headstock side of things covered, so I'll chime in about the thickness at the heel.

On one occasion, I ended up with a body that was 5mm thinner than planned (a piece of mahogany that had a lot of inner stresses and required a lot of planing down to remove what was a pretty bad twist). The neck pocket would have been too deep for my taste.

I cases like that, you can mark the heel area and use a straight bit in your router table to remove material there, a little bit at a time (no more than 1mm per pass), using the rest of the shaft as a reference against the top of the table. You need to be very careful and press down pretty hard on the neck so you don't tilt it one way or another, but this way you know that the new plane you are creating is perfectly parallel to the original one.

Finishing the neck, however bad things went so far, is a good idea. F**k-ups are natural and going through them is the only way to learn! :)

Dovetailing on this response, you can set your fence so the heel retains outside rails that don't get routed off. Then after taking the majority of the wood out of the center of the heel, you can remove the two "runners" with a plane or other tool to get everything level.
 

GeekyToneChaser

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At least you could salvage the fretboard by simply sawing it off; it looks like a nice piece.
Thanks - I actually am going to finish it off. I used a plunger router to cut out the areas where I made mistakes and glued in more wood for a re-do!

I'll post pics soon that is, if the result is not too embarrassing :)
 
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GeekyToneChaser

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