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How did Fender drill for truss rod in one piece neck?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TenaciousP, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Like a lot of builders, I use a low-tech, maple block guide for the 3º, ⅜" hole, clamped to the headstock/bench with a single clamp. I put a strip self-adhesive 320 sandpaper on the mating edge of the block to help it stay in place.
    I follow it with the 3/16" hole, centered freehand. I have only done 10 or so one-piece necks and it does feel unnerving every time but it always comes out nicely centered (maybe I've been lucky).

    I used a ⅜" 2" rod drilled out to 3/16" to help with centering the 3/16" hole but doing it freehand seems to work out fine.

    I use one of these Kreg step bits for the heel/nut end -- it would sure be nice if they made one long enough for the headstock.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I started to 3d print a drilling jig and half way through it came off the platen..... I also modeled a neck in 3d with a 3 degree channel to guide the drill. That would have to be cut on the CNC. I just got bored/board :) with Fender necks so I shelved both ideas...LOL.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  3. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    I travelled back in time, and can show you the 3D jig I designed, and actually started to make (of course, I never completed it). It is a one-size fits all truss rod router jig for tele, strat, and bass neck. Removeable, interchangeable curved ramps for the router base to follow. I have all of the pieces made, but never assembled it. I can dig around on my old hard drives and see if I have the CAD files if you're interested.
     
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  4. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Tried it and that's how I ended up with the box of shame so I only do double action rods. Preeb shows some of it in his early builds.

    Let us know how it turns out.
     
  5. Goldenshellback

    Goldenshellback Tele-Meister

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    Out of the stacks of necks and bodies no two were exactly the same. Hand tools, and sweat, no shirts required. These were the days before rock ‘n roll. Housewives and weekend surf guitarist, blowing saxophone at that ‘down joint’ on the weekends. 14 dollars a day earned on the day job. Lucky Strike cigarettes and pints of whiskey on afternoon breaks. This my friends, all of this, made these guitars the most sought after in this high tech age. These were the guitars the gods played and loved them.
     
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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Melvyn Hiscock shows a jig that will do it in his book. If you are interest I can copy a picture from an article about Warmoth that shows how they do it. I have no idea how Fender does.
     
  7. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Hi Engraver,

    Cool jig you designed there! Don’t worry about digging up cad files because of me. I actually have something similar already drawn up that I plan on building for cutting the curved channel if nothing else. I think I came up with something for drilling the ends using a drill press similar to what is shown in the video that Marn99 posted. I’ll do some 3D modeling to see if it looks like something that will work and I can actually build.
     
  8. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Good thing - because I did find the files, of sort, and somehow the 3D Rhino files got exported to AutoCRAP files and all of the solids are now just curves. I am going to rebuild the solids, just because I can. I despise AutoCAD - It really did suck back in the 2010 era. I used ACAD from 1980 to 2010, and Rhino 3 and 4 since then. Now I use Solidworks and CATIA, but, oh well.......
     
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  9. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Hi Marn,

    That is a really cool video! I wish I could see more clearly what the guy is doing with the neck on the drill press. It looks like he just hangs it on something. But it’s given me an idea that I want to try. I’ll have to let y’all know if it works or not.
     
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  10. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I like using Catia V5. It’s what we use at work so it’s what I’m familiar with. It’s certainly a powerful design software if you know how to use it well. Which I do not... ha ha!
     
  11. hnryclay

    hnryclay Tele-Meister

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    I would have thought they would have done those on an automatic lathe with a fixture that aligned a block of wood, instead of the finished neck. The drilling processes would have been done with a turret fixture, instead of a tailstock. Dont think thats what they did but thats what i would have tried to do.
     
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Not applicable but years ago I read somewhere that Gibson drilled full length truss rod holes by bending the mahogany neck blank, drilling the full length, then releasing the blank back to straight, leaving the single hole in the desired curve.
    Any truth to that?
     
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  13. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, like making one-piece necks... ;)
     
  14. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    The direct answer is that Fender used custom made jigs and machinery for things that don't seem straightforward. It is possible that a horizontal drill press was used as the primary tool for the process. And also, I would think that they drilled the hole before the headstock "scoop" was sanded in, so they were not drilling across a curved surface. And, of course, you need a long drill bit. (G&L still has some of the early machinery for processes like this, like drilling the hole for the truss rod access – restored and up and running.)

    As a way to circumvent the question, if you don't need an accurate vintage style reproduction, consider using something like the old G&L Bi-Cut process. It makes for a more stable neck, as well as a very clean look. The neck blank is split in two lengthwise, then run through a jointer. One half is then routed for the truss rod, from the plane of the future gluing surface. The rod is installed, and the halves are then glued together. The slightly off-center joint is usually hard to see, and occasionally practically seamless. There is no skunk stripe, and no separate fingerboard is necessary. You could engineer it with either a head-adjust rod or a heel-adjust rod (G&L did head-adjust).

    It takes more labor time, so I can see why they discontinued it for mass production. But the results are beautiful, and don't require as much in the way of custom jigs and templates.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
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  15. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I have not heard of that before. But I’m pretty sure Gibson just routed a slot for the rod and then glued a filler strip over the rod and then the fretboard on top of that.
     
  16. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep - that's how I do mine

    http://mojotronics.com/images/Guitar_builds/202001/20200626/20200626_211821.jpg

    without doing any transitions, I get the thickness of the head down to 11/16th and set the drilling block to an exact distance from the top of the head and it works every time.
     
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  17. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm pretty sure the intial method was to use a jig to flex the neck onto a back-bow condition, and drill it through. When the neck relaxed, it created that gentle curve or scoop shape of the bore for the truss rod to work properly under tension.

    Here are two sliced-open early Fender necks that show the orientation of the rod in the neck. Note that these are both stripe necks--not one-piece.

    I hope I can glue these back together so my old Fenders don't lose any value.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Got it 3d'd: upload_2021-1-26_20-5-51.png
     
  19. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Isn't the skunk striped neck a one-piece, whereas the slab top fretboard necks or veneered fretboards are considered two-piece necks?
     
  20. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
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