Let's make a neck!

gb Custom Shop

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Posts
159
Age
29
Location
Winnipeg, Canada
FWIW, I've become a proponent of machining the neck taper before facets & profile carving. This offers a consistent taper along the neck, without bumps/divots. It is more difficult and time consuming (for me at least) to get a perfect taper with hand tools

What I do is rip some tapered stock on the table saw to act as an angled shim. Say I want a 0.10" taper from the 1st to 12th, the stock I'll rip would then have that difference of a thickness across ~12-13". I'll then place that shim underneath the neck (fretboard side). Then with the router (with a base that I use just for this), I'll set the depth I want off at the first fret. Say I want my first fret thickness to be 0.85", and my neck is 1" thick to begin with, I'll then set my router depth to be 0.15". The shim underneath takes care of the rest, and I should then end up with 0.95" thickness at around the 12th fret. After a few minutes, the taper is perfect and I can move on to drawing my facet lines.

I'll explain my set up for this, with pictures, in my current build thread in a couple weeks time. But I got the idea from Steve at Maximum Guitar Works, although he uses a safe-t planer in the drill press instead - you can find his video here, which is an excellent video resource on neck carving:

 

Billycaster21

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Posts
123
Age
57
Location
Lunenburg MA
I also wondered about the necessity of doing the back taper first because it seemed like the facets could be calculated (and cut) based on the full neck thickness. This was my first neck, so I deferred to the experiences of guitarbuilder and others and started with the taper.

In retrospect, I'm glad I did. As a first step, making the taper helped me to visualize the neck taking shape. The taper sets the thicknesses at the first and 12th frets, so the centerline drawn on the taper is a visual stop sign for where you should not touch until the final sanding.

As guitarbuiler mentioned, it also makes facets lines seem more "logical". Having never carved a neck, I was sort of blindly following the technique, so anything to help make it easier for me to visualize where I was going was a benefit.

I did document doing the carve. While this and other threads are definitive sources on neck building, perhaps my rookie thoughts and pics can provide another perspective.

https://www.tdpri.com/threads/emerald-ash-borer-build.1095918/page-4#post-11360876
Thanks! Your thread is fantastic! What program do you use for the cross-sections used to determine the facets?
 
Last edited:

Billycaster21

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Posts
123
Age
57
Location
Lunenburg MA
FWIW, I've become a proponent of machining the neck taper before facets & profile carving. This offers a consistent taper along the neck, without bumps/divots. It is more difficult and time consuming (for me at least) to get a perfect taper with hand tools

What I do is rip some tapered stock on the table saw to act as an angled shim. Say I want a 0.10" taper from the 1st to 12th, the stock I'll rip would then have that difference of a thickness across ~12-13". I'll then place that shim underneath the neck (fretboard side). Then with the router (with a base that I use just for this), I'll set the depth I want off at the first fret. Say I want my first fret thickness to be 0.85", and my neck is 1" thick to begin with, I'll then set my router depth to be 0.15". The shim underneath takes care of the rest, and I should then end up with 0.95" thickness at around the 12th fret. After a few minutes, the taper is perfect and I can move on to drawing my facet lines.

I'll explain my set up for this, with pictures, in my current build thread in a couple weeks time. But I got the idea from Steve at Maximum Guitar Works, although he uses a safe-t planer in the drill press instead - you can find his video here, which is an excellent video resource on neck carving:


Thanks for your post and the video link. I look forward to your build thread! I was going to use my edge sander on the taper but I’m considering your method now. It seems to provide a little more control.
 




Top