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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. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Come on, now. Think long and hard about that.
     
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  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You're thinking of all those headstocks snapping off?
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Some/ most, and up[ to the present for sure, but if we think about the entire history of truss rods including Martin refusing to install adjustable rods until the '80s, there have been a variety of approaches.
     
  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Huh?
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Gibson headstocks?
     
  6. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    So both of those are what I refer to as one piece necks. I know, technically the skunk stripe and headstock plug are separate pieces. But I think a lot of people refer to that style as one-piece and the ones with separate fretboards and truss rod installed from the top side as non-one-piece. So just to clarify it’s the skunk stripe, heel adjust neck like the top one in your picture that I’m specifically asking about in this thread.
     
  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Years ago I read an interview with Don Randall (head of Fender Sales) and he described how the Broadcaster got its truss rod.

    Leo Fender was adamant that his necks needed no truss rod because the maple he used was extremely stiff and could withstand the pull of the strings without deforming.

    At the first NAMM exhibition attended by Randall, other makers laughed at the goofy plank of a guitar with the rodless neck design because they knew guitar necks move around by themselves in reaction to temperature and humidity. Francis Hall (of Electro String, one of Fender's competitors at the time) took Randall aside and advised him that unless he could convince Leo to install a rod in his necks, his guitars would not sell. Hall and Randall were friends because Hall was Fender's distributor for his earlier lap steels before severing the association with Fender to buy Electro String.

    Randall had a difficult time convincing the bull-headed Leo to comply--but ultimately he won the battle. Fender initially tried several ways to get rod into the neck because Leo was a cheapskate and wanted the simplest method to expedite production and save costs.

    They settled on the skunk stripe on the early necks that had no separate fretboard. It was a simple and elegant solution.

    Nothing happened fast at Fender.
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    They drilled the full length without a skunk stripe?
    When did they do that?

    It doesn't matter if it's CNC or what, the problem is a flexy 2 ft long drill bit!
     
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  10. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    The skunk stripe channel was done with a router, and then two counterbores were drilled--one into the headstock end for the anchor and plug, and one into heel for the barrel adjuster.
     
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  12. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    So I watched the 1959 factory tour video repeatedly last night and I think I know what the guy is doing with the neck in the drill press!

    If you watch carefully you will notice there is no large fixture on the drill press. I suspect the table is removed and probably replaced by a steel arm of some sort. On the arm I suspect ( I can’t actually see) based on how the neck is put in place, that there is a small plate set at a 3 degree angle. I suspect the plate has a 3/16” -ish diameter pin sticking out. All of that would be pre aligned relative to the drill bit. If you watch closely, you see him hang the neck on something. I suspect the truss rod channel goes on the pin. He lets gravity pull the neck plumb (vertical/parallel to drill bit). And right before he drills you see him pushes the heel end back against the 3 degree angled backer plate and just holds it in place with his thumb. I also suspect in that clip, the 3/8” counterbore has already been drilled. It looks like he does something to the heel end of the neck before he puts it in the jig and after he takes it back out. I suspect he is inserting a 3/8 OD x 3/16 ID drill bushing to ensure the through hole to the channel stays concentric to the counterbore. I don’t know if the counterbore was drilled in the same way, but as long as the bit doesn’t walk when you first start it, I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be drilled in the same way. If the bits are long enough, I think the headstock end could be done the same way. I am thinking to build a jig that works on the same principle, but has a longer board/plate with two pins that go in the truss rod channel to align it vertically. That way it would be a little less free handed. I would probably just turn my drill press table up to 3 degrees and clamp the board to it. It would take a bit of work with a level and such to get everything aligned, but I have some ideas that should make it pretty simple.
     
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  13. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Note the heel is 2º. It's the neck side hole that is 3º. :)
     
  14. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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  15. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I was wondering about that. I did some cad drawings of my own based on some DXF files I downloaded. I think they were of the neck drawing that Ed Hawley did. I got them from the German plans site I think. Anyhow, I believe the heel end was close to 2 deg and the headstock end was close to 3 deg. I didn’t bring that up earlier because I was more concerned about determining the method of drilling than I was about what the angle numbers actually are. I used the 3 deg number kinda loosely to describe the jig being angled because that is a number that a lot of people use. In reality, I don’t know if a 1 degree difference will affect much on the actual neck, but I think technically you are right about each end being different. I wonder if the channel curve could be manipulated to make both ends at 3 degrees?
     
  16. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Not sure if that would work. The trussrod route is asymmetrical, with the highest spot about 2/5 of the way from the headstock. Also, the headstock plug exits the neck a bit higher than the truss rod nut hole.
     
  17. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Your adjustment rod nut in the heel would be up higher and at more of an angle.
     
  18. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    The other way around, no? It looks like the adjustment rod comes out about ⅛" from the neck top, the walnut plug about half that (depending on how aggressively they sanded the transition radius).

    IMG_4159.jpeg IMG_4160.jpeg
     
  19. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    By setting the heel end at 3 degrees? If that is what you mean, then yea, can see that. Which would not be what I want to happen. I suppose one could adjust the radius of the channel curve and probably adjust the location of the lowest (shallowest) point of the channel to make both ends the same angle and still come out at the right height. But I was just going off the curve shape that was drawn by others. If I remember correctly I believe the heel end is at a smaller angle than the headstock end.
     
  20. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    Here's a longer version of the video, at around 8:22 you can just catch a glimpse of the same worker drilling the headstock end of a neck. I believe this is the unrestored version of the video, which if I remember correctly, is the only surviving video of the Fender factory in the 1950s, if not the whole pre-cbs era.
     
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