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Making A Laminated Neck Blank


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I don't understand why I'm not finding anything with the search on this, you'd think it would already have been covered, so feel free to provide links.

Here's the deal...I'm thinking of making my own neck...yep, you heard me right.

I'd like to use the wood I have here for that--the plank is long enough, but it's not quite thick enough. And besides, I like the idea of a laminated neck, in terms of stability.

I looked at garenhanman's tapered laminate tutorial--it looks like he's just taking several planks of wood and glueing them on top of each other?

My idea, however, is to use the same plank to cut out two or three profiles of the neck (i.e., use a template/router combination to roughly shape the headstock angle and heel/tenon).

I'm thinking if I use three laminates, I can cut the inside layer with the grain in the opposite direction of the outside layers. If I use two laminates, the two layers will have the grain in opposite directions. But I also have a thin plank of maple here that I can use for a center laminate instead, if that will make the neck more stable. (I don't like that striped look all that much though)

Once that's glued up, I'll be able to route for the truss rod and glue on a fretboard (if I can find a pre-fretted fretboard that is--I'm NOT yet ready to tackle that part)

The wood I have here is a nice old plank of birch...looks really good, and I'm assuming that the fact that it's still perfectly straight after at least 20 years of being stored in my father-in-law's garage is a good sign of its stability....the plank's 27 mm thick, and since it's already been planed, I won't need to take much off when I thickness it. Figure it'll still be around 25 mm/1 inch when it's cleaned up. The plank is about 150 mm long (I have a second one that's about half that length) and it's almost wide enough to make a body too...

Is this the way to do it? Sure, I could buy a neck blank, but if I can do it this way, I'd like to try.

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I don't understand why I'm not finding anything with the search on this, you'd think it would already have been covered, so feel free to provide links.

Here's the deal...I'm thinking of making my own neck...yep, you heard me right.

I'd like to use the wood I have here for that--the plank is long enough, but it's not quite thick enough. And besides, I like the idea of a laminated neck, in terms of stability.

I looked at garenhanman's tapered laminate tutorial--it looks like he's just taking several planks of wood and glueing them on top of each other?

My idea, however, is to use the same plank to cut out two or three profiles of the neck (i.e., use a template/router combination to roughly shape the headstock angle and heel/tenon).

I'm thinking if I use three laminates, I can cut the inside layer with the grain in the opposite direction of the outside layers. If I use two laminates, the two layers will have the grain in opposite directions. But I also have a thin plank of maple here that I can use for a center laminate instead, if that will make the neck more stable. (I don't like that striped look all that much though)

Once that's glued up, I'll be able to route for the truss rod and glue on a fretboard (if I can find a pre-fretted fretboard that is--I'm NOT yet ready to tackle that part)

The wood I have here is a nice old plank of birch...looks really good, and I'm assuming that the fact that it's still perfectly straight after at least 20 years of being stored in my father-in-law's garage is a good sign of its stability....the plank's 27 mm thick, and since it's already been planed, I won't need to take much off when I thickness it. Figure it'll still be around 25 mm/1 inch when it's cleaned up. The plank is about 150 mm long (I have a second one that's about half that length) and it's almost wide enough to make a body too...

Is this the way to do it? Sure, I could buy a neck blank, but if I can do it this way, I'd like to try.

You've been around long enough to see toddler68's neck through (remember that one with 7 stripes in the neck, paduak in the centre?) - he used the method of cutting the neck profile and scarf joint and transitions etc before gluing, and it worked well.

Only problem would be that I think it's harder to keep it all aligned while gluing like that, and leaves less margin for error if you need to plane surfaces down flat again due to creep etc.

I'm building a neck-through bass at the moment, and I did what you suggest, roughing it out (gave it an extra 3 mm on thickness of neck profile etc, and on curves), and it's going well. I wouldn't have gone down to exact dimensions before glue-up though.

Edit: Try This Thread for toddler68's guitar. First post has a pic....

Edited by Supernova9
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Edit: Try This Thread for toddler68's guitar. First post has a pic....

Ah yes, very helpful. That thread's from sometime before I stumbled into this place...

For holding the pieces in place, I like the trick with punching staples in there, then snipping off the flat part so just the pins stick out. Put a few of those in there, and I shouldn't have any problem with things shifting about. That's the theory, at any rate. :D

After reading toddler's thread, I'm kind of tempted to go for a neck through instead...no mussing with neck pockets, tenons...and I'd be able to add the angle to my template BEFORE routing the laminates, right?

Now all I gotta do is find a fretted fretboard...

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Edit: Try This Thread for toddler68's guitar. First post has a pic....

Ah yes, very helpful. That thread's from sometime before I stumbled into this place...

After reading toddler's thread, I'm kind of tempted to go for a neck through instead...no mussing with neck pockets, tenons...and I'd be able to add the angle to my template BEFORE routing the laminates, right?

Now all I gotta do is find a fretted fretboard...

I misread your thread title - I thought you were already asking about a neck through blank, my bad. But yeah, you can make the template for the entire cross section then before you begin to build. (Which for me is a great thing, because then you HAVE to draw it out fullsize, and accurate, without diving straight in)

As for the fretted fretboard - c'mon man, you can do it! Buy a pre-radiused fretboard, make sure the slots are clean and deep enough, then you're there! (I know you can't cover it with a pickguard if it goes wrong, but hey :D )

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Do make sure to cut the laminations oversize. Cutting timber, even stuff which is pretty stable, can cause it to move as it equalizes all the internal forces.

When orienting the grain in your pieces, be aware that reversing the direction will make shaping harder, since you won't be able to work with the grain at all times. This isn't a big issue, but given the choice I prefer to have all the runout facing the same way, since it lets you get closer to the final shape using edge tools instead of abrasives.

Also, I prefer to use cocktail sticks to align the sections of laminated necks - no risk if a router cutter finds one later one whilst cutting the trussrod cavity.

Here's a bunch or pics and a few words: http://home.asparagine.net/ant/blog/?page_id=20

Oh, and get over the fretting terror. It ain't that hard, and it doesn't require specialised tools.

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Well, if I don't have to reverse the grain, I won't --I thought that was necessary for the neck to be stable though?

Anyway, about the frets...at this point, it's not so much about the terror, it's more about the time...it takes me so long to get each step done, that adding the fretting on top of it will drive me nuts (I get obsessed while I'm working, it's all I can focus on...which doesn't please the wife...)

But yeah, if I can't find a fretboard, I'll have to make my own...I'm coming into the States next month, think I'll load up my cart at Stewmac :D

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Load up your cart with pickguards?

My tutorial doesn't focus on the laminating(which is pretty straight forward: glue, then clamp) as much as it does getting all of the laminates to taper uniformly. That said, you could still go that route and then cut out the profile before gluing. You might even be able to get two profiled pieces out of each board you taper. All you'd need is a fairly long router thicknessing jig or thickness planer.

peace,

russ

Edited by thegarehanman
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Idch :D , it's so easy. When you eventually do do it, you'll kick yourself for not doing it this time around. This is, of course, if you're like me and little details can get under you skin, especially if you could have done something about it. There's no rush to get #2 done.

Naw, I don't sweat the details...I'm more into the process...doing it all at once takes away from that. :D

But I'm not in any rush, I figure I won't make a real start on the project until the beginning of March.

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There should be a "tip of the day" thread somewhere.  :D

That is one great tip. I'll be definitely doing this from now on.

Glad you like it - I find a 2.5mm bit makes for a nice positive fit. Course, it isn't foolproof - sometime they turn up when you least expect them :D

closeup_neckpocket.jpg

Still, better that than a staple or tin-tack!

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