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Adding Thickness To Headstock

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Anybody know a good way to add some thickness to a headstock? My router was set to remove 7mm on the back of a 3/4" headstock, to end up with a 12mm headstock. The gauge on my router wasnt' properly tuned, so I remove +-10mm instead, duh.... 9mm for a headstock is probably ok, but it doesn't look cool at all. It's way too slim.

Glueing a veneer is not really an option; the scarf joint is already carved (rounded). I can use some wood putty, is it a good idea? I usually use it to patch little holes, not adding 3mm to a complete headstock. When covered with paint, does wood putty dent easily? Or is it strong enough?

Any idea?


Edited by MescaBug
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Ok. Any trick for glueing on a carved piece of wood? I can use clamps, but you want to be sure the veneer is in contact with the headstock on the entire surface.

Why not make a template of the headstock shape out of MDF, apply the veneer, pop the template over the top to make a sandwich and clamp it all tight? That's assuming your headstock surface is flat. Should work fine.

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I did something similar on the last guitar. I wanted to experiment with a deep-scooped headstock, but then decided that the scoop was too extreme.

So I made my own veneer using a matching piece of body wood. First I shaved off a few slices of wood with a table saw, then I cleaned them up to about 2-3 mm using the router and a thicknessing jig. I wanted several because I knew I'd screw up a couple along the way.

After that, I used a microwave steaming method I'd read about to pre-shape the veneer. Basically you wrap the wood in a wet paper towel, heat both up in a microwave until the towel starts to steam, then quickly clamp the veneer to a mold (I used an old headstock for that). It's kind of delicate--it'd help to have two hands. It only takes a couple of seconds for the towel to cool down too much.

Doing that a couple of times was enough to have the veneer pretty much in the shape I needed to glue it to the headstock. I used small clamps and a piece of thick dowel to match the scoop and slow-setting wood-glue.

And it worked really well --


Like I said, the scoop on the headstock was pretty deep, so it was inevitable that the wood would split a bit. But not nearly as much as I feared, and atfer sanding it and finishing it, it's pretty difficult to see the split. You have to know it's there, and know what it is.

If you used a proper steaming method, and more patience, then you should be able to do this without splitting the wood at all.

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I actually just tried the micro steaming method a couple days ago and didn't have all that much success. I was doing it on a headstock cap for the back which needed to conform to the volute. I was able to get some bend, but had some cracking as well and just wasn't all that pleased. Its tough to see in the pic, but its a solid sized volute, when I get closer to being finished you will see it better, in the pic it looks tiny. The wood was bubinga and it was maybe 1 3/4 mm thick. So I made another cap, thinned this one to under 1.5 mm and went with the method Setch mentions on his website, which is spritzing it with distilled water, wrapping it all up in foil and then using a heatgun until its steaming. I tried this last night and it seems to have worked well. I also made a caul which I used to clamp it to the headstock so that it matched the shape. I'll post a pic to show. It worked out well.

Cap bending Setch style

I could have probably gone longer, but I didn't even hear one creek when clamping the caul down, which was beautiful and the bubinga is figured as well. Worked great and took only minutes really. J

Edited by jmrentis
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