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Neck Tools


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My 'neck making toolkit' looks something like this:

Fingerboard shaping:

Router: jig to cut basic radius

Radius sanding block: clean up/fine-tune radius

StewMac mitre box/template/Japanese handsaw: slot fingerboard

Fretting: look that up elsewhere, or this gets silly

Shaping the neck:

Router: truss rod, CF rod channels, template routing outline

Half-round rasp: neck shaping

Japanese hacksaw rasp: neck shaping

Microplane rasp: flat rasp, fast bulk removal

Drum sander: certain contours, headstock transition on a strat-style headstock

scrapers, various shapes: fine-tuning neck carve/transitional areas

Sanding blocks: long, flat blocks, get rid of lengthwise lumps

sandpaper: thick backed, for 'shoeshining' the neck to even out the carve

Straightedge/Light/hands: use a straightedge, light/shadows and your fingers to feel when it's done

Some people like spokeshaves, I'm not wild about them. Maybe because mine are lousy, but a rasp is just as fast, and I like to mix it up a little as to which rasp I use.

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A hand plane and straightedge are essential in getting the neck blank flat and true. A stationary electric planer is nice also and a lot faster - but you still need to ensure that the board is flat.

If you're making the fretboard yourself, you'll also need a band saw to resaw the wood unless you want to spend time trying to find the proper piece of wood, already thicknessed to 1/4".

Radius blocks for sanding a radidus on your fretboard and levelling frets after they're installed.

The stew-mac fretting saw and miter box are really nice for cutting slots.

A small hammer or fret press to install frets.

Small pliers to cut the fret wire.

A metal file to file down the fret ends (if its a bound neck, its a different story - you'll need to cut the tang on the frets).

A drill press to cut the tuner holes and drill bolt holes for attaching to the body.

A coping saw or scroll saw to cut the peg head design.

Clamps to glue stuff together.

Rasps and wood files and maybe a spokeshape to contour the back of the neck.

If you plan on doing inlays, you may need more tools.

Edited by guitar2005
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been able to make a neck with just the following.

An electric drill with drill bits and a drum sander.

A Swiss army knife.

A rasp.

Sand paper.

Frets installed with...

A hammer.

Wire cutters.

A bastard file.

A coping saw.

Aside from the drill, those are all hand tools. I could even use a hand drill if I needed to. I seem to be using power tools less and less. I think I just know where they do the most good. The really fine touches have to be done by hand in my opinion.

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