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Finished My Neck Jig (pics Inside)

Mind Riot

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Okay, so my neck jig is pretty much completed. It was an interesting process with a couple mistakes but nothing big.

First up, I didn't design this one with the dial indicators so don't worry, I didn't forget them. I might add them later, maybe not.

I decided to use a length of rectangular steel tubing for the spine of the jig instead of wood. I would have a hard time finding a good straight solid piece of hardwood locally, and it would cost more than the steel anyway.

I originally made this thing with threaded rods for the neck supports, but after I did that I found that they didn't have enough lateral support. I drilled the holes in the steel, cut threads for the rod, and put a wingnut on each rod so it could be tightened down when the rod was at the right height for extra stability. Good idea in theory, but it makes for a lot of screwing and unscrewing whenever you want to adjust something and it's quite difficult to tap threads into steel by hand and keep it perfectly straight on every hole.

Here's what I ended up with in the end:


The steel is a length of 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" rectangular stock, pretty thick walls. I know they measure that by gauge but I don't know the system, the walls are 1/8" thick on all sides.

The body support is made from 3/4" voidless plywood. It's bolted at six points to the spine with inset bolts. There are four body supports I made out of furniture feet with rubberized cork attached to them with contact cement. The feet only have half inch threads, so they're joined to threaded rod extenders with coupling nuts. There are several threaded inserts I put in the plywood so the supports can be moved to accommodate different body types. Each one can be raised to about five inches above the board or dropped flush if the extender rods and nuts are removed. Should ideally be able to handle anything.


The body board is supported on both sides by the same threaded inserts and adjustable furniture feet, but this time without the cork. I also threw a couple wingnuts on there to clamp them down for more stability.


Here are the neck support rods, that can be raised and lowered manually and locked in place. I used 5/16-18 thread wing bolts for this, and drilled and tapped the steel for support. The rods are spaced four inches apart, and start about an inch and half from the body board. I only need four for a 25 1/2" scale guitar neck.


When the issue of lateral support came up, I decided to take a suggestion from soapbarstrat and put it to work. I cut a hardwood 2x4 down to just barely fit inside the steel and hammered it in with a deadblow hammer. The wood runs all the way down to where the body board starts. I drilled and tapped the steel at the end for a 7/16" two inch long bolt to make sure the wood stays in place. It's definitely overkill, I had to hammer for ten minutes just to get the wood in there in the first place, but now it's definitely not moving.

Unfortunately, my local hardware store only had four of the wing bolts I needed, so I'll have to go back and get two more later.


Here's a close up with one of the rods removed. The rods are made of 3/8" solid steel rod stock, and capped with hard plastic furniture caps. You can see the end support bolt and the wood in the spine that gives support to the rods.


I threw one of my guitars on there just to see how it all works together.




The only thing I'm missing at this point is the headstock jack, which is coming from Stew Mac and should arrive tomorrow if all goes well.


And if I move the body back just a bit and insert the other two rods, I have just enough room to do basses on the thing as well. :D

All of my refretting tools arrived today, so once that headstock jack gets here I should be getting going on my first refret within the next couple days!

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Not too crazy about the TV tray stand, but the jig looks quite nice, especially the ultra clean looking steel beam.

If you can stick a magnet on the bottom of the headstock jack, you wouldn't have to worry about it falling off the beam so easily. I have a StewMac jack, and the pads are Delrin, so hard to glue anything to them.

I guess the wood block inside would be in the way, but imagine a big rare earth magnet inside the metal beam, so that you files would stick to the beam, to keep them within easy reach.

If you have a Harbor Freight in town, keep an eye out for their next sidewalk sale or whatever they call it. Probably early October. They might have the dial indicators at their lowest price. A couple years ago, they had them at the sale for $5.99 each. (you can still often get them for $6.99)

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Oh, I have no intention of doing any work on the TV tray. The drill press I'll be using for installing frets is in the shop, so that's where I'll be working. I also have a very heavy 4x12 cab that I sometimes use as a workbench; it's just on loan to a friend at the moment. :D

I hadn't thought of the Stew Mac jack being so hard to attach anything to. I may end up just cutting a little felt pad to protect the headstock and just putting it in between each time I use it.

I was kind of thinking along the same lines of storage on the jig, seeing as how it's so heavy and unwieldy already it's going to make it harder to carry other stuff. I've already got a little freezer bag that I clip to the body end of the spine (where it's still hollow so the clip can grab) that I keep the straps and such in. It'll hold the jack as well, so everything I actually need to use that's directly related to the jig itself will be on there and I can carry it with one hand (for a ways, at least :D ).

I'm already outgrowing my tool box, I think I may need to get a second one sometime soon for all these new refretting tools. B)

But now that you mention it, since I only ran the wood through to right where the body support block starts there's still some space to use. Hmmm...

There's a Harbor Freight about an hour drive away from me, but I often go to the town it's in for various reasons (it's the nearest Guitar Center, for example). I might keep an eye out for a cheap arbor press as well, but right now I've got a little idea brewing in my head about modifying a clamp into a fret press like the Jaws II SM sells.

I'm glad you think it looks good, it feels solid as a rock and it's certainly almost comically over engineered so it should hold up just fine. I'll be doing my first refret within days (the SM jack is the last part I'm waiting on) so I should have some experiences to share after that.

Any last minute refretting advice? :D

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