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Files, Rasp, And Surforms...


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Bandsaw,Router,Sanding Drum in a drill press,Spoke shave,Scraper and Care.

Pnumatic die grinder and an aluminium cutting bit. Stepping up to a fine rotary file for finish work. And a couple hand rasps to make everything even.

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Unless you're doing production, there's no reason to go powered in my mind. Add a spokeshave in there and you'll shave at least an hour off that time. Maybe some kind of machine cutting would be nice to rough one in, but in my experience, the roughing in doesn't take very long by hand. It's one of my favorite parts of the build, so I'm biased.

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Ahhh, nothing like "ye olde fashioned waye". I routed the sides of the neck this time. But everything else is shaped with spokeshave, flat, halfmoon and round rasps, sandpaper, and straightedge. I really like shaping heels and headstock bases with the rasps.

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bandsaw and sandpaper and a neccessity.

when i have a neck laminated from several different woods, i use a dremel and foredom bit to shape it.

when the neck is one wood, i use a spokeshave.

those fordom(sp?) bits are amazingly better than dremel's. they just don't wear out, and they cut a lot better to begin with.

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I also rough mine out with a router to remove some of the waste. I am not huge production but I like to be able to focus on the details and not the rough work, so I made this neck routing jig. It saves some time and is very cheap to build if you have a router already. The bit is about $70. Make sure you have an adjustable speed router so you can slow that big bit down (7/8" radius).

For the rest (or if I do it all by hand) I use the spokeshave and rasp set that Southpa uses. I make 1/4" mdf templates to check the carve at the 12th and 1st frets as I go along.

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Interesting jig there Myka. I was thinking of something similar this morning and your design is loads easier than what I was thinking of. Thanks.

In the mean time, I've been carving necks out with the bandsaw (to just knock the square corner out), a rasp (for all the roughing out), the belt sander (to get most of the rest of the way), and then hand sanding to smooth it all out. Each step gets the profile a little more of the way there. The results are nice and aside from the belt sander, it's quiet work done by hand and it clears my mind.

I wanna make noise though. I've gotta build that neck jig. :D

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My first couple of necks was done with spokeshave, rasp, and various grits of sandpaper. I've also used surforms, wood blocks with sandpaper, and even a paint scraper that has been sharpened razor sharp. They work great for building necks, and I can see how each person can find it as a fun part of the building process. I currently use a copy carver setup to rough the neck shape out, that way I'm closer, then I still can enjoy the hand sanding. I really like the setup jig that Myka made, and if I already didn't have a machine to do this, I'd definitely build one. I do know that you need to be aligned properly for it to work correctly. I'd imagine that you'd have to make sure the side of the neck your going to route, facing up, would have to measure the same distance to the bottom of the table all the way across in order for the bit to cut correctly or you'd mess up big time. Basically it doesn't matter what tools you use, it's what results you get in the end that count. Just learn to use what you have at the time to your best ability.

MaTT Vinson

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Nice jig you got there, Myka, but what whould I do with all my spare time if I built one? I just like to mess with a spokeshave for an hour or so every couple of days until the neck quits offending me. Gotta to have a 12" straightedge sitting around to keep me on course but that's my neck-shaping in a nutshell. Scrape and sand afterwards and you are (GOD, I hate this term!) good-to-go.

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Bandsaw,Router,Sanding Drum in a drill press,Spoke shave,Scraper and Care.

That pretty much covers it for me. I will be building a jig like David's soon, just gotta save up for that bit :D I little trick I use that works really nicely is using razor blades as scrapers. I use the heavy ones that you would use in a utility knife and turn a slight hook on them and youre ready to go. They are great as theyre so small and are easy to manuver around a neck. They take off nice fine shavings and flex just enough. They work really well after you finish with your spokeshave. Lee Valley has some mini scrapers that I will be adding to my next order, but the razor blades really work well for me.

Devon, I couldnt let this go :D

Add a spokeshave in there and you'll shave at least an hour off that time.
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I just got back from the home depot lol. I got a pack of files for 10 bucks..... Im really wondering if they are going to be any good. They are located here... After i bought them i was thinking only 10 bucks for all of this.... So i dont know, they are prolly inferear and crappy stuff but never know until u try right?

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I rough cut my blanks on the bandsaw to within 1/8 inch and then sand it to thickness on the spindle sander. After that, I mainly use a nice heavy rasp and rip right through it. Of course hitting it with a lil sand paper everyonce in a while to check for low spots and what not. I find that the rasp is quickest especially on flamed maple where you cant use a spokeshave.

The rasps I use I actually get for free. I get them from the blacksmith over at a farm when hes done using them for shoeing horses. He says they are used and worn out but to me they are like new. So no complaints from me. I have like 3 or 4 of them now and they are amazing, I just wonder what they would be like new.

MzI

Edited by MzI
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  • 2 weeks later...

Jigsaw (don't have a bandsaw), router/sanding drum (robosanders are great) for the headstock, and hand tools for the neck. A good Sandvik half-round is great, and japanese-style hacksaw rasps work well, but my favourite tool for neck carving these days is a microplane rasp. Fast, clean finish, controllable, great stuff. Sandpaper for cleaning up/shoeshining the back, just to make sure everything comes out smooth.

A set of cabinet scrapers in various sizes is absolutely essential as well, and costs just a few bucks. Lee Valley has a nice selection of stuff.

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