Hey, first steel string… mit neck!

I’ve been slowly shaping necks.  Got the first one to where I think its a good shape.  I have a hard time telling on neck shape as I’m not much of a guitar player… hell, I don’t even own a real steel string guitar.

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Sanded both the body and the neck, crossed my fingers and glued it on.  Overall I’m fairly happy.

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There are a few things I’d like to improve as I progress.  Of course, I noticed spots that needed more sanding as soon as I looked at it in a different light.

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While the hot hide glue was heated up, I glued the fretboard on the third neck.  The second guitar is pretty close to being ready for assembly too.  Just a bit more sanding on both pieces.

I’m going to stain parts of both of the flamed maple guitars.  Hope to start that soon.  I have a few steps before I can seal with shellac.  Then the frets, then the finish.

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Neck shaping

Made a neck carving fixture. Got the idea from another luthier online.
It’s nice because you can clamp it horizontal to work on the fretboard edges.

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Then it clamps vertical in the vise and keeps it high enough to use a spokeshave.

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Got one neck pretty close. Need to drill the tuners and final sand before I put it on the guitar.

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Then two more necks to catch up on.

The necks are neck and neck… and neck?

Jeez, did I just type that?  And will I leave it in?  If so, pardon me,  I’m tired and delirious.

Necks.  Yes.  Almost there.

Bullet point list to reduce potential risk for bad puns:

– laminated 3 strips of mahogany for each neck board.  Did that sometime earlier.  Maybe when tops were drying?

Neck boards

– Laid out the board for scale length, etc… not exciting, picture a board with lines drawn on it.*

– Made a very fancy and elaborate jig for the band saw to cut a 14 degree scarf joint.  I did the last ones with hand tools.

Fancy jig

– Once cut, the cut pieces are placed on top of one another and trued up or flattened (being square is given in all these steps).  Cut was smooth, so sandpaper worked pretty quickly to level everything.  Hand plane is another way to go.

Flattening

– Short piece of the scarf joint is flipped over and put under the longer side, thus making an angled peg head.  Clamped and glued ON the bench.  Use wax paper underneath to avoid gluing TO the bench.**  Stops on the bench placed to keep the joint from sliding out of place.

Scarf gluing

– Excess length on the long end of the neck is cut down into shorter sections and stacked to make the heel.  This is then glued into place at the proper spot.*  Lots of things clamped down to keep things from sliding.  Glue is surprisingly slippery.

Heel stack

– Neck blanks are ready to be cut to the proper angle to the body and dovetailed in.  I’m not so ready.  Need a fresh start for that.  Also need to make dovetail templates.

Neck blanks

* There is obviously a lot of detail skipped here.  If you want to know how this works… don’t ask me.  Read a book, research online, see how the pros do it, that’s what I do.

** I say this not because I actually glued something to my bench.  Notice that I use clamp cauls in these glue ups.  I usually have one side covered in clear tape to keep glue from sticking to it.  I did have one of these flipped today.  One stuck to the face of the one of the headstocks.  Luckily there was little squeeze out and it knocked right off.  I’m just cautioning…Don’t glue anything down to your bench!

Ok, stop typing and go to bed…

Guitar stands so I can move them out of the shop

Finished my guitar stands and finally moved them out of the shop.  The humidity in my house is pretty close to what it was in the shop when everything was glued up, which makes me fairly comfortable.

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Didn’t really plan on the guitars matching the woodwork, but it kind of seemed to work that way.  This is my music room, though I still need to move a few pieces of furniture in, which requires either finding or making a new table.  That’s a whole other story.

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Actually I have a picture rail in that room.  I put the guitars in and thought “why didn’t I just make hangers for them for the picture rail?”, it would have been much easier.  I’ll probably make some one of these days.
Finally, I was able to really clean up the workshop in preparation to make a mess again in the very near future.

Wood shopping trip…

My dad and I went to the local saw mill.  This is what I picked up.  More flamed maple, two boards.  One big board of flamed ambrosia maple.  One board of amazon mahogany, and a big chunk of basswood.

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The maple I picked up last time was flat sawn, which I will use for laminated necks.

I love the local sawmill.  Its so inexpensive.  The ambrosia maple is about 1″ x 12″ x 8’ long.  It has some nice figure, which is hard to photograph.  I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to use it, but it was 14 bucks!

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This time I was trying to find pieces of flamed maple that had some decent quartered grain in it for backs and sides.  Both boards have a mix of grain.  One thing I realized… new band saw blades are definitely needed!  I think I’ll order a couple carbide tipped blades before I try to saw any more.  That and I need a few good hours to really set up the band saw.  Then I can go at it and resaw all my backs and sides.  I somewhat successfully resawed a section of the smaller board.  Despite the poor saw job, it looks like it will work.

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I made the piece long enough for sides.  Worst case, I’ll cut them down to side width.  Took a pic with the template for my classical on top.  Next guitars will be OO size, but the template is close enough for now, just to see how it would look.

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Last look inside guitar one- closing the box

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Last glimpse inside guitar number one. Lots of little steps to get here. Added mahogany side braces.  Cut and added reverse kerfed mahogany for the back.  Shaped to a slight angle from below the waist to the heel.  Sanded to … Continue reading