** Making A Neck Pocket Template **

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Jack Wells, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I recently noticed a question about the tapered neck pocket so I thought I'd revive and revise my neck pocket template making tutorial. This has been in my TDPRI photo gallery but that required the viewer to click back and forth between the thumbnails and the photos were a little washed out. Here I'll put it all down in one concise post. This same procedure can also be used to rout the neck pocket on a body without making a template.

    I start by making a partial duplicate of my body shape template leaving the neck end square. I've traced the outline of the neck end of the guitar onto the new template. When the plastic template is removed, I draw a line 3 inches from the end of the neck pocket.

    ......[​IMG]

    I transfer the centerline of my body template to the neck pocket template. I then take a couple of straight boards (1x3s) shown here and clamp them to the sides of the neck using the orange clamp. The green clamps are clamped loosely at this point. I set the end of the neck on the 3 in. line drawn in step one above.

    ......[​IMG]

    I had previously drawn a centerline on the butt of the neck. I line up that centerline with the centerline drawn on the neck template.

    ......[​IMG]

    At the butt end of the template, I stick a steel rule down with double stick tape setting the "3" on the centerline. I then move the neck/boards assembly for equal spacing about the centerline while keeping the neck centerline on the template centerline.

    ......[​IMG]

    With everything lined up, the green clamps are tightened snug. The orange clamp is removed along with the neck. A wooden block is placed on the 3 in. line and attached with double stick tape. A hole is cut for the router bit. I stuck the small block down outside of the neck pocket area but this isn't necessary.

    ......[​IMG]

    Using a pattern bit I rout the pocket on the template.

    ......[​IMG]

    Here's the completed template.

    ......[​IMG]

    I used the template to rout a pocket on a piece of scrape.

    ......[​IMG]

    The result is a nice snug fit.

    ......[​IMG]

    These days I attach my templates to the body blank with two screws ..... one in the bridge area and one between the neck pocket and the neck pickup cavity. All templates, body shape, neck pocket and Thinline chamber, have the screw holes in the same place which makes attaching and indexing the templates easy. You only have to have a tape-held template slip once to realize the benefit of using screws.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  2. Lazor05

    Lazor05 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for posting this! It is a very good walk through.
     
  3. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Another good thread Jack.

    I remember when I first joined this forum, we had lots of these cool How To threads. Now it seams like we have 10,000 new threads a week in the bad dog, and not a lot of posts with substance on the technical side.
     
  4. piece of ash

    piece of ash Friend of Leo's

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    I read "thread Jack"... and read "thread-jack"... getting paranoid I guess.

    Need to shepard my wild thoughts...
     
  5. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    :D
     
  6. JonnyPM

    JonnyPM Tele-Meister

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    Perfect timing, that's all I have left on my body to do.

    Thanks for the info!
    Jonny
     
  7. JessRey

    JessRey Tele-Holic

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    This is great info, Thanks JackW! In lieu of Colt's comment about how there used to be more DIY/How to and more tech substance, I have recently been wondering if it would be possible to petition for a TDPRiU section (as in Telecaster University). So all you good Dr.s here can continue to educate us all in a easy to find local. I know that's kinda what Tele Home Depot and Finely Finished are but I think it would be great to just have a "How to" or Building 101 tab.
    (side note: I just used the Dr.s of Teleocity as a scholastic ref, the tab would be for any and all levels of schoolin')
     
  8. djeffery

    djeffery NEW MEMBER!

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    Hello Jack W,
    I have what may be a silly question for a veteran builder, but I have made pretty much every error imaginable on this, my first build, so I want to be cautious for a change:
    If I have a 22-fret neck, I would still measure 3" from the edge of the neck pocket ...so would I have to move the position of the neck pickup?
    If so, do you happen to know what distance from the edge of the neck pocket the neck pickup would go for a 22-fret neck?
    Thanks a million for any additional help you can provide!
     
  9. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Assuming you're referring to a 22 fret neck with fingerboard overhang, the neck pocket would still be 3 in. long.

    The neck pickup location does not change. Think about the pickguard. The same Fender pickguard will fit an American Vintage Telecaster or an American Standard Telecaster so the neck pickup is in the same position on each.

    To illustrate with a picture, I've used IrfanView to create a composite of each guitar using Fender's photos. I then cropped the composite at the 21 fret. I then drug (dragged?) a rectangle to show the neck pickups are in the same position.

    ......[​IMG]

    The Telecaster neck pickup is ~ 1/2 in. from the neck pocket. A G&L ASAT Classic has a 22 fret neck without fretboard overhang. Its neck pickup is also ~ 1/2 in. from the neck pocket so its neck pickup is a little closer to the bridge.

    I don't think the position of the neck pickup is critical. However if you don't stick to standards you'll have to make your own pickguards.

    The G&L neck pocket is a little longer than a Fender but actually not much ..... maybe ~1/8 in. The picture below shows that a 22 fret neck is really not that much longer than a 21 fret neck. On Fenders and G&Ls, there's less fretboard after the last fret on the 22 than on a 21.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  10. mb571

    mb571 Tele-Meister

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    Hi Jack,
    what is normal depth of the neck pocket? 3/4"
    Do you drill out most of the waste first or right to it with a pattern bit?
    I did it with a straight bit and guide bushing on the router baseplate on my sample route on waste wood. It is easier to control the depth but it is tricky adding 1/16" to the template to allow for the distance from the outside of the bushing to the edge of the cutter and still achieve a snug fit. I would rather use a patterning bit but the agressiveness of them makes me concerned about tear outs. My patterning bit has a 1" long cutter on it.

    Mark
     
  11. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Normal neck pocket depth is 5/8 in.

    I drill out most of the wood with a forstner bit but only drill about 1/2 in. deep. The Forstner bit will leave marks on the floor of the pocket. These are remove with the pattern bit on the final pass.

    I use pattern bits. I don't know what you mean by "the agressiveness of them".

    With a 1 in. long pattern bit and a 3/4 in. thick template you should be able to make an initial pass of < 1/2 in. StewMac sells a patter bit with a 1/2 in. long cutter but you can probably find one elsewhere for less.
     
  12. mb571

    mb571 Tele-Meister

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    I just found this 5/8 measurement in my Hiscock book. My Stewmac Tele plans seem a little out to lunch then. The lack of iron clad dimensions is driving me batty. So on a two piece neck, are these dimensions correct:
    3/4" thick at heel (1/8" above pocket). 3/16" fretboard, so surface of fretboard is 5/16 above the plane of the body?

    When I was testing my 1" bit on a scrap body on the router table it grabbed and shot out of the router. I had chucked it up to far out trying to reach the top of the body. My 14 yr old who was holding the shop vac nozzle freaked out. (This was the day before I had an explosion and fire in our paper shredder)

    Mark
     
  13. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sounds like you're unaware of this Telecaster drawing provided to us by the great Terry Downs. It has all the dimensions for a Telecaster body. It is based on an actual Fender blueprint. Keep in mind it is for a vintage style telecaster.

    Terry Downs' Telecaster Drawing

    A few routing tips:

    Alway maintain a minimum of 1/2 in. of the shaft in the router collet.

    On the body outline cut close to the line and make shallow passes taking off just a little wood at a time. Make each pass 1/8 - 1/4 in. deep. If it takes a little more time to complete the job ....... so what? We're not working on the clock here.

    When you've extended the bit as far as it will go and still need to rout more, remove the template and readjust the bit. Use the previously routed portion as a template. You should be able to rout a 1 3/4 in. body outline with a 1 in. long pattern bit.

    To paraphrase Norm ....... don't forget eye protection. Personally, I wear a full face shield when working on the router table.

    Edit: Here's a post where I previously tried to explain 'downhill routing'.

    Downhill Routing
     
  14. mb571

    mb571 Tele-Meister

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    Jack,
    can you comment on some more measurements that a beginner like me needs to learn?
    If I'm building a 22 fret with overhung fingerboard, where does the bottom of the fingerboard end up? Does it lie on top of and touch the pickguard? So a 3/4" thick neck will have approx 1/8" protruding out of the pocket? Should the pocket depth change if the pickguard is not quite 1/8" thick?

    Mark
     
  15. Chris189

    Chris189 TDPRI Member

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    Question: According to the Terry Down template, the corners of the neck pocket radii are 1/4". So, do you have to use a 1/4" diameter bit to get a correct fit?
     
  16. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If the radius is 1/4" then you would use a 1/2" diameter bit.

    Radius = 1/2 the Diameter.
     
  17. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Got any clever tricks for a strat/JM style neck pocket? :)
     
  18. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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  19. Chris189

    Chris189 TDPRI Member

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    face palm...thanks for the math refresher.
     
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