Jump to content

Building Necks


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone, I am going to order a bunch of tools/supplies from stewmac on building necks, and was thinking I should run my list by the project guitar team before I ordered, becasue maybe I missed some stuff, or maybe I have some dumb things in my list. So, here goes. Well, here goes!

-9.5 and 12 inch radius blocks

-fret press caul (for use with drill press)

-neck support caul (for use with fret press caul)

-fret end dressing file

-fret cutter

-fret saw/fret slotting mitre box

-fret scale templates (25.5)

-fret tang nipper

-curly maple binding

-binding tape

-jumbo stewmac fretwire

-fretwork step by step book

-3 hot rod truss rods

-truss rod router bit

-white bone nut blanks

and for inlays, I have

-pearl cutting jig (inlay tracing scribe, inlay saw, wooden pearl cutting jig, mini air pump, cutting lube)

-international dremel outfit dremel router

-precision router set (binding router bit, dremel stand, edge guide for binding, air pump)

-1/4-1/8 shank adapter collet

-3/32" collet

-3 carbide inlay bits, 3/32, 1/8, 1/16

Now for a few questions,

1.I am not sure how to route the truss rod cavity with the stewmac stuff, becasue the bit supplied is not a bearing bit. I have a table saw, good idea?

2.I do not know how to guide for inlays, or how to use a template if possible, or am I expected to do it freehand ? I would hope not : |

3.Stewmac doesnt sell stainless steel fretwire. Anyone know where to get some?

4.My list is runnin me over 1100 $, and was hoping to cut it down a bit, maybe anyone could help me by getting rid of stuff I dont need?/is there any core stuff I'am missing?

I have some stuff in there for cutting ends of fret tangs down so I can have neck binding. I was hoping the stewmac natural wood binding would be good for binding fretboards, and Id be able to use that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to read my long list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you are about to drop a chunk of change on this and I would suggest a few things. For the first few necks...

Buy pre slotted fretboards and drop the fret saw, box and templates.

you can use a hard rubber or urethane hammer and drop the drill press accessories (although I do think that is a better way of seating frets)

If you have the ability to laminate your neck blank with several pieces, you can make your center piece the width of the truss rod 1/4, and cut the channel on the band saw before glueing the neck lams together. No rout needed.

Table saw for truss channel - not a good idea

unles you have a CNC or a laser engraver, most inlay is freehand. Hard to get templates that small, ya'know.

and don't forget the drill bits for the tuner holes too. I also didn't see nut files and clamps on your list, do you have something else you will use?

Another option (because I am not familiar with your abilities) is buy the book only, and go from there.

Edited by Doeringer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you are about to drop a chunk of change on this and I would suggest a few things. For the first few necks...

Buy pre slotted fretboards and drop the fret saw, box and templates.

you can use a hard rubber or urethane hammer and drop the drill press accessories (although I do think that is a better way of seating frets)

If you have the ability to laminate your neck blank with several pieces, you can make your center piece the width of the truss rod 1/4, and cut the channel on the band saw before glueing the neck lams together. No rout needed.

Table saw for truss channel - not a good idea

unles you have a CNC or a laser engraver, most inlay is freehand. Hard to get templates that small, ya'know.

and don't forget the drill bits for the tuner holes too. I also didn't see nut files and clamps on your list, do you have something else you will use?

Another option (because I am not familiar with your abilities) is buy the book only, and go from there.

Hey thanks for the reply. I would drop the saw box and templates, but I will need to get them eventually, plus I think id like to have the practice. Yes, I will be making multilaminated necks. I really like your idea about making a lam for the rod and cutting before glueing, the reason I was asking about the table saw is becasue on stewmacs site there was an article by dan erlewine saying itd be a good idea. Does anyone here go freehand? that scares the crap out of me, does anyone here actually do freehand?!

as for nut files I was told to get a welding file kit, and for way less money itd do the same job. I have a few good clamps and will buy more locally. Drill bits for the tuners... I think I already have some, if not I'm sure id be able to get some locally as well for the right size. Ive been building bodies so far, using some of my old prestige ibanez/warmoth necks, and I also bought a neck from doug at soulmate guitars, I had another one on order, but sadly, I cancelled it becasue I decided I want to start building my own.

thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to go with these guys: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/LUTHIER-TOOLS-FRETTI...7QQcmdZViewItem

StewMac seem to be very over-priced for certain things IMO. I've heard great things about them but I'd prefer to have a shop around for cheaper alternatives. A prime example is the straight edge for $98.40 when you can buy a steel rule at the same length from a DIY store for a fraction of the price plus get measurements for free!

As for slotting your own boards, unless you're going to be making loads of them in unusual woods I doubt that it would be worth the time & money. I recently spoke to Melvyn Hiscock about some slotted boards & he pointed out that he buys them pre-slotted because it's usually just as cheap as buying them un-slotted. I'd rather buy a pre-slotted rosewood board for £10-£20 than buy the wood, cut it to size, set up a jig & saw the slots....that's assuming that I actually had the tools to do the work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

doeringer was talking about freehand inlays...not truss rout.no free hand work on anything except inlays...bad bad idea

preslotted boards are a great investment.i used to slot my own but it sucks...really very much so.unless you are using a certain exotic for the board,buying preslotted and radiused is an excellent alternative.

i don't like the idea of the center lam beinng 1/4"...imo it is not good from a structural standpoint....i have never done it or even seen it done so i would be hesitant.really routing the truss rod channel is an easy,easy thing...all you need is either an edgeguide or a straight piece of wood to use as a guide for a template bit...

allied lutherie sells ss frtwire now...

also...have you considered graphite nuts?they are much nicer than bone imo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

-for the first 20 fretbaords i slotted i did it by hand with a square and carefull measureing, this is the way melvyn hiscock shows in his book. It takes longer but it can work well. Its only recently i have got around to buying the stew-mac templates and mitre box and it definatly saves me some time.

-The radius blocks are a good idea but if you want to save money look into making your own, there have been loads of discussions on doing this.

- I like the fret press caul and wouldnt do without it but there have definatly been some good home made examples around here.

-The caul is a good idea

- fret end dressing files can be replaced with normal mini-trinagular files.

- the fret cutter and tang nipper may be subsitututed for something cheaper - again do a search

I would go on but basically the message is that the stew-mac stuff is good but if you want to save money you can do alot of the work with more basic/common tools - just do a search and you will see plenty of examples for most of the tools you have mentioned.

you route your truss rod slot before cutting the neck out from the bank (when it is still rectangular), that way the fence of the router can run along the edge of the neck blank.

Inlay is almost always done freehand with the dremel type tool in a router base.... unless you have access to cnc

I have never used stainless wire but remember that its going to be a lot harder to work, which will also push the price of tools up since they will wear out quickly, and not everyone prefers the sound - apparently it can sound too bright!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, I ll definatly do some searches on cheaper alternatives on tools. The thing about slotting my own fretbaords, is i DO plan on using ALOT of exotic boards, plus I will be doing 7 strings and maybe 8 if I am able. I think I will just do without fancy custom inlay for now, drop almost all of the inlay stuff, save myself a few hundred for now. I ll just do it in steps. Also another question, is tru oil good for fretboards?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have ss fretwire on three of my guitars...it is superior in every way and no it does not wear out your tools...because you are SUPPOSED to get the fretboard perfect before installation of fretwire.i have not needed leveling on any of my three.

a steel file will not be worn out by it,my nippers are still sharp(tang nippers as well)and if you are careful while beveling,they will polish pretty easily.

but the tiny bit of extra planning and care required is more than worth it because they just don't wear like the nickel frets do...your fret job stays perfect for years.

i think the brightness thing is a myth...i have noticed nothing of the sort.my guitars sound exactly like what you would expect with the woods used.can you tell the difference tonewise between graphite or steel locking nuts?yes,it is there...but is it audible enough to bother you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, i should stress that i havnt actually used SS frets so take anything i say on the subject with a pinch of salt.

I still think it would be unwise to use SS frets if you havnt done a fretjob before, not sure if you have or not but i am presuming you havnt from your first post

Link to comment
Share on other sites

StewMac seem to be very over-priced for certain things IMO. I've heard great things about them but I'd prefer to have a shop around for cheaper alternatives. A prime example is the straight edge for $98.40 when you can buy a steel rule at the same length from a DIY store for a fraction of the price plus get measurements for free!

Yes, StewMac aren't the cheapest for everything. But a straight edge is different from a steel rule. A straight is precision ground to 0.0015" per foot accuracy, a steel rule will be nowhere near that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dunno nothin' about nothin', and I used a router + fence for my truss rod channel. But I don't see why a table saw is a bad idea if you have the right... er... kerf (?) for a one-pass or even multi-pass way of doing it. Even easier if you haven't tapered the neck yet. Seems initially like a good idea to me! Not sure what you'd do about the other end, though-- you want a square end for the truss rod to butt up against. A table saw would get you a very gradual curve up and out of the channel. I suspect there'd be clever and not-difficult ways to accomplish the job, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure what you'd do about the other end, though-- you want a square end for the truss rod to butt up against.

thatis exactly the problem...aside from the multiple dead on passes you would have to make..a router is just better.

for $30 us you can get a decent router from harbor freight with an edge guide included...that is what i use for truss rod channls because the edge guide is about the easiest way...i switch over to a better router for everything else...although it is adequate for everything else as wll...i just don't want to over use the cheapo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

to do this on a table saw is very easy . Just do it while stock for the neck is all square still. you could do it with one saw blade or with a dado bade and shims to get it done in one pass. I'd recomend that it be done in several passes so you can flip the neck around end for end, and that will ensure that your slot is perfectly centered. Once the slot is cut, glue in a block to butt the truss rod against , and fills in the rest of the slot.

If you use a router, it sould still be done with mutliple passes..

JasonBird :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...