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Very Slight Bow In Neck Blank

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Hey Guys,

I have a blank of nicely figured curly maple, it's not big leaf, I think it's eastern red maple. I know this is some what softer than the normal rock maple. This piece has a very slight bow in it, it would take feeler gauges to measure it but I don't own any yet. My question is should I just plane it back to flat, I don't own a thickness sander, or should I try to use some weight to counter the bow? It's about 5 1/2" wide and I will be cutting down the middle to use for a laminate with some jatoba I think. Jatoba is super hard and heavy. Would make a great neck on it's own in my opinion.

I believe with the jatoba in the middle the neck will be very sturdy and I know that the wood is completely dry, so I'm not too worried about anymore bow. I will be using the curly pieces on the outside and turned onto the quarter sawn edge to help with strength, should I have one with the cut edge facing me and the other piece facing away from me? In cut edge I'm talking about when I cut the neck blank down the middle, the two resulting pieces will be the outer pieces of my laminate, and they will be turned 90 degrees to their quarter sawn edge. So should one be flipped 90 degrees and the other be flipped 270 degress? Sorry that came out so messy, it was hard to explain, I hope you can understand it all!

Thanks for your help with this, and don't worry this is my experiment blank I have another I'm making out of rock maple! Jason

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Well, obviously, you'll need to have a flat and perfect join before you glue. You could force by clamping, but over time the glue join will be weaker and it's not a good practice to do that.

However, having worked with slightly bowing neck woods before, I can suggest a few things.

First off, let the board lay flat in the area where you will be working with it and let it aclimate. I've started leaving my boards flat for at least 3 weeks before touching them. It's made a huge difference in the way things behave during the whole build process. YMMV, but some of that bow may work itself out, it may not.

Second, for a considerable amount of bow, you may want to cut the board into laminate strips and glue up the neck that way. It's a little hard to explain. In one of my necks, the board was slightly warped. I was able to get 3 straight pieces by cutting out the profile of the neck in the board and then glueing them in a stack (reversing the grain in the center piece). The result was a straight neck blank that I could shape as usual. Again, it's hard to describe. You start with warped wood and cut straight pieces from it.

If the bow in almost nill, I would be tempted to work with it like terrax suggested. Sanding it down would be a safer (albeit slower) alternative to planing.

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If you are going to re-saw it. You should straighten it up with a joiner or plane. That will allow you to use your guides and make straighter cuts. After it is cut depending on how thick the pieces are it may move a bit after the cut (the heat of the blade will cause the cut edge to dry a bit more than the uncut edge). If you are doing laminates a thickness sander would be very helpful. One way or the other you will have to straighten and mate up all those glued joints (square). If you don't it will be sloppy and you will kick yourself for it later.

Peace, Rich

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Thanks guys,

I will probably sand it flush, like I said it's not that bad at all. I just knew it would not be a good idea to just start cutting it for the laminate and worry about it later, I figured it would be much better to fix it prior to any cutting. I had to plane one edge because it was rough cut, and needed to be smoothed a little, I can see why you say don't plane figured woods. I didn't have any tear out but I could feel it catching in the curl of the maple, so I stopped and sanded it smooth.

Thanks everyone for the help. The piece I have is well oversize for a neck blank, so sanding it down will be no issue! Thanks again and I'll let you know how it turns out! Jason

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I just went to work on it for a little, and got it evened up about 90%. I very happy about this, as I've had this board somewhere around 3-4 weeks and haven't touch it, I was gathering tools and planning my whole project through. Thanks Jehle I didn't think about letting aclimate, but I have had it for a while so this works out perfect, I will be cautious about this in the future though. I ended up using some coarse sandpaper and a surform. I know that most people dislike the surform but it worked great for me, it made easy work of the problem areas and didn't leave any nasty gashes, then took the sandpaper and smoothed it all up. I used a large straight edge and it help a lot to locate all the areas needing sanding. I wish I had a thickness sander already but I don't, hopefully I'll have one by the time the holidays roll around, for now it will have to be done by hand or taken up to my friends house, which is a long drive!

If you're cutting down the middle then gluing those for laminates it will have to be perfectly flat. Really it just does. I don't know why we have to keep stressing that every joint needs to be perfect before gluing.

I know this already this was not my question. If asked if it was cool to just glue up some crooked piece then maybe your response would be valid, but my question was the best way to correct this problem by sanding it down or using some weight to counter it. I'm sorry if you keep getting people asking if they can glue up warped wood , but this was not my question. Thank you for the response though, everyones opinion counts to me and the more I get the better. So sorry for the mix up and thanks again.

Thanks again everyone just a liitle more on one side and it will be ready to be cut. If there is anything I should know before I cut this let me know the course of action. I know Rich you said the blade can dry out the cut edge , I didn't realize this, but it makes perfect sense though. Is there a way to minimize this drying, I'm fairly confident that the board is completely dry, I believe this bowing was most likely in the early stages of the drying process, as this piece was air dried. Thanks Rich for the tip.

Thank you everyone for the help. Jason

Edited by jmrentis
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