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Headstock Replacement


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Alright guys,

I thought that I had posted this on Friday but it doesn’t seem to have worked so here we go again….

…. A while back when I was shaping my headstock I came across a dodgy bit of wood. This bit would have ruined the finish, so I decided that the best bet was to cut it off. My original plan was to make a feature out of it by cutting off the end of the headstock and replacing it with a bit of contrasting wood (African Walnut in this case as this is what I am using for my inlays). However, the more I look at my headstock, the more I wished that I had made a standard Gibson style one. What I want to do now is just chop the rest of the headstock off and replace it with a Gibson one. Obviously to hide the join lines I was going to veneer the front and back of the headstock.

Is it possible to chop off the headstock and replace it with another one and can someone please explain the best way of doing this? I realise that there probably isn’t many people (if any) have done this, but any advise would be appreciated before I break out the power tools and just cut it off.

Cheers dudes.

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What do you mean the wood was a bit "dodgy"? Thats a new one! :D As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words. We don't know how far along you are at shaping your neck so the next step could be a bit "dodgy". B)

If you want a Gibson style headstock then you can cut a "scarf" joint. You cut the wood you don't want off at a 15 degree angle (or at whatever headstock angle you want). Then take your "addon" piece and cut one end at the same angle. Make sure both pieces are square and make sure both cut faces are flat. Flip the addon piece and glue/clamp to the end of your neck. If you've already started shaping the back of the neck then you will run into problems with fitting the new piece on. Thats actually one of the very last things I do, even after installing truss rod, fretboard, frets etc.

headstockangle.jpg

Edited by Southpa
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Oops, yeah I think a bit more info would have helped. Sorry dude.

OK then, the neck is very nearly the right shape, theres a bit of shaping left to do at the body end but only a bit. I'm leaving the final shaping for as long as possible just incase the neck pics up a few knocks here and there. Truss rod is installed etc.

The headstock has already been cut at 13 degrees (scarf joint) and the headstock shaped. It's kind of like a PRS style headstock. On one of the tips of the headstock (in the maple laminate) I came across a streak of really dark wood about 4mm wide and 2mm deep. It looked horrible and easily broke off when I was prodding it with a small screwdriver. I decided that there was no point having a fault running through the headstock and I also didn't know how far into the neck it went so I broke out the jigsaw and chased the streak bit by bit down the headstock hoping that it was only small and praying that I wouldn't have to throw the neck out. The streak didn't look like a mineral streak, it looked decidely rotten. Bleaching it wouldn't work either as you could tell the difference in the grain of the wood.

The streak only went through the wood for about 3/4 inch but this means that my headstock is now too small and doesn't look very nice. What I'm thinking of doing is chopping it accross the part where it's widest (just above the nut) and sticking on a solid piece of maple. then for aesthetics veneering both sides. To be honest, providing I do a good joint I can't really see a problem, but just because I can't see it doesn't mean it won't be a nightmare.

I'll try to swipe a digital camera from work tonight but I'm not promising.

Cheers dudes

Kaj :D

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Nah, fret board isn't attched yet. I'm too busy ballsing it up trying to put an inlay in it :D

Setch, if you could give me a bit of a better description/pics that would be great. I think I get what you're saying but pics would be very helpful.

Cheers dude, have you done this before then?

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Cheers dude, have you done this before then?

I do this on all my necks. They're scarf jointed with the joint in the headstock, covered by a veneer on the front. I rough cut the scarf on the head and the piece to be joined, then use this jig to trim the joint surface flat and parallel to the front face of the neck.

I clamp/tape the neck (or the blank to be more accurate) to my workbench and clamp rails on either side.

setup.jpg

Then I run my router over the rails so that the glue surface is trimmed flat. I use a base screwed onto the router to let me trim over the full width of the blank.

router.jpg

On my necks I glue on ears after I've scarfed the head, you could do the same on yours, it adds strength and hides the scarf joint from the sides. Then, with the tuners in place and the front veneered the scarf is pretty tough to spot.

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