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Routing The Neck Pocket


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just wondering what's the best way to do this? on my first build i used a pattern i made from 3/4" MDF. (the neck fit was kinda sloppy - lots of glue to fix)

i was thinking of getting the neck done, and clamping it to the body. then butt some STRAIGHT scrap up against the neck and double-side tape it down. then use the scrap as a guide for my hand router.

just wanted to see what most of you do??

thanks!!!

matt

madhattr88@yahoo.com

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I find it easier to cut routing templates out of a thinner medium (say, 6mm or 1/4" masonite) and then when I'm satisfied with that, transfer it to a thicker medium (12mm or 1/2" pine at the moment ... cos I have a sheet lying around).

It's fairly easy to cut the masonite slightly inside an outline of the neck using a jig-saw and than file or sand it out until I get a precise fit for the neck. Once I have that, I use double-sided tape and route out a thicker and more stable template to keep.

Trying to create a template straight on to a 3/4" piece of MDF would require more luck, skill, or patience than I possess!

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I just line the neck up and draw a line around it.Then I use painters tape and outline it as a guide.I cut just inside the line and finish it by hand.Snug as a bug.

Dean, I've seen your other threads about your builds. You seriously need to consider getting a router and working with templates. And make sure your templates have smooth lines (i.e., not bumpy wiggly lines) and that things are symmetrical. Even though I can understand the appeal of working with hand tools and all.

As for the neck pocket thing: I think it definitely helps to work with the actual neck you're going to use. I've done both methods, the rail technique and making a template. I like both for their own reasons.

The template is definitely a better option if your necks are all going to be the same size (i.e., they're all built from the same template). It's much faster and there's less risk of things getting out of line .

I use the rail technique to make the template. I prefer a good-sized piece of a thick stable (dry) hardwood, rather than mdf, which I find too soft (or I'm too brutal). The template has to be wide enough to be able to clamp it to the guitar (I use double-sided tape too) without interfering with the router.

I make a center line on the wood, then drill 'spy holes' along the way. In this way I'm able to match the template's line with the center line on the guitar.

I also undersize the neck pocket by a fraction by wrapping a small piece of tape around the bearing bit.

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+1 on the oversized bearing or wrapping tape around it!

The other alternative if using a thick template is to pop a line of tape on the inside of the edge the bearing rides on which allows you to undersize the edges of the pocket, and if you don't put tape on the back, cut it to spec.

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I just line the neck up and draw a line around it.Then I use painters tape and outline it as a guide.I cut just inside the line and finish it by hand.Snug as a bug.

Dean, I've seen your other threads about your builds. You seriously need to consider getting a router and working with templates. And make sure your templates have smooth lines (i.e., not bumpy wiggly lines) and that things are symmetrical. Even though I can understand the appeal of working with hand tools and all.

As for the neck pocket thing: I think it definitely helps to work with the actual neck you're going to use. I've done both methods, the rail technique and making a template. I like both for their own reasons.

The template is definitely a better option if your necks are all going to be the same size (i.e., they're all built from the same template). It's much faster and there's less risk of things getting out of line .

I use the rail technique to make the template. I prefer a good-sized piece of a thick stable (dry) hardwood, rather than mdf, which I find too soft (or I'm too brutal). The template has to be wide enough to be able to clamp it to the guitar (I use double-sided tape too) without interfering with the router.

I make a center line on the wood, then drill 'spy holes' along the way. In this way I'm able to match the template's line with the center line on the guitar.

I also undersize the neck pocket by a fraction by wrapping a small piece of tape around the bearing bit.

I hear you ,but I mainly do this as a hobby and as you can see I don't do standard builds.I do own a router ,just like doing it the way I am.If I was going to do this for money I would make templates.Another problem I have is ,I have a concept in mind ,but it can change as I am working.There is just something about shaping a piece of wood by hand.Well anyway the tape thing is how I do it ,so I thought I would throw it out there.Thanks for your input tho ,it is the better way to go.Now back to your regular station. :D

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I hear you ,but I mainly do this as a hobby and as you can see I don't do standard builds.

We're all hobbyists here, just ask Zachary guitars. :D

But I meant making your own templates--nothing wrong with an unusual build. I just think that with all the work that goes into building these things, you might as well take the extra time to properly prepare. But sure, it's your build, your guitars, and if you're happy with your work, that's part's fine with me.

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I hear you ,but I mainly do this as a hobby and as you can see I don't do standard builds.

We're all hobbyists here, just ask Zachary guitars. :D

But I meant making your own templates--nothing wrong with an unusual build. I just think that with all the work that goes into building these things, you might as well take the extra time to properly prepare. But sure, it's your build, your guitars, and if you're happy with your work, that's part's fine with me.

LOL I think old Zachary is out doing old Ed Roman.....two of the best in the known world.So humble and helpful in the guitar world.If I could only get some one on one time with either of them,my life would be complete. :D

Really tho I do respect your helpful info.I like the good and bad input on anything I do.Thanks Dean

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For what it's worth, I create templates for every single thing I make even if I have to make the templates by hand! Templates cause less tears when the router goes all cookie monster and chews into your workpiece :-D

Except I use two bearings on my templating bits, but that's another story!

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For what it's worth, I create templates for every single thing I make even if I have to make the templates by hand! Templates cause less tears when the router goes all cookie monster and chews into your workpiece :-D

Except I use two bearings on my templating bits, but that's another story!

right on man!

i hear people say they dont bother making templates for single time builds because its like doing the same thing twice! that makes me sick;

instead they do a sh!t job and make excuses for the rest of theyre life saying its 'hand built'

i call it hack jobs;

just because your routes are clean and straight dosent mean you cheated or wasted your time;

i bet you could cut out and sand a neck templte out of mdf and route your wood faster than doing it all freehand following a piece of tape

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Yeah, I'm one of the people who makes a template for everything, heck I'll make a template for a template, haha just kidding. Hopefully in the future I'll do it more efficiently where I have many templates in one, instead of one for chambers, one for shape, one for neck pocket, one for cavity, one for cavity lip(little bigger than norm, uses magnets), one for cavity cover, one for neck/fretboard, instead combine many of those into a couple pieces. The headstock I didn't do a template for as I have been tweaking it little bits at a time, but I never needed to route it anyways. From the first time I tried routing I had no desire to work without a template or straight edged guide. I've have done so in cleaning something up and it worked alright, just not worth it to me because things can go wrong in a hurry, hell I've had a dremel catch and route a good quarter inch into some wood while cleaning up an edge once had it been far along in a project or expensive wood, I would have been pissed. I also like the two bearing idea, its something that I keep meaning to start doing. J

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heck I'll make a template for a template, haha just kidding.

That's what I end up doing, actually. It's easier to work with a thinner piece of material, then transfer that to a thicker 'permanent' piece. Even if I'm not necessarily going to build a body shape again (how many longhorns do you need, right?), I'll usually have pickup or control cavity routes on there that can be re-used.

Or I've used it to prepare a couple of boards that contain all of the routes for a particular build.

But really, in Dean's case, the work actually starts with Autocad --I use that to make sure my lines are smooth, that things are symmetrical and everything follows the center line.

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For what it's worth, I create templates for every single thing I make even if I have to make the templates by hand! Templates cause less tears when the router goes all cookie monster and chews into your workpiece :-D

Except I use two bearings on my templating bits, but that's another story!

right on man!

i hear people say they dont bother making templates for single time builds because its like doing the same thing twice! that makes me sick;

instead they do a sh!t job and make excuses for the rest of theyre life saying its 'hand built'

i call it hack jobs;

just because your routes are clean and straight dosent mean you cheated or wasted your time;

i bet you could cut out and sand a neck templte out of mdf and route your wood faster than doing it all freehand following a piece of tape

If your going to be so pickie,in reality tape is a template.just not the way you think of one.And as to hand made guitars (ie. no motorized tools, old school ) I know people that do it that way and their guitars are not cheap or **** jobs.In my case it has nothing to do with doing something twice.When you work with hand tools you learn more about the way wood reacts.This helps you understand wood and the reason you cut oneway instead of another.Soft and hard spots,how to get thru a knot cleanly etc..Also using a template does not guarantee a perfect job either.I have already stated it was the better way to go,but not the only way.At this time it is just a preference for me,and if it turns out to be junk ,then its junk.Everything in life is a choice, it's just another way of doing something.IMO :D

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heck I'll make a template for a template, haha just kidding.

That's what I end up doing, actually. It's easier to work with a thinner piece of material, then transfer that to a thicker 'permanent' piece. Even if I'm not necessarily going to build a body shape again (how many longhorns do you need, right?), I'll usually have pickup or control cavity routes on there that can be re-used.

I do pretty much the same thing. I didn't do it on a build that I eventually scrapped and i took a look at where i could have used templates and realized that while they take time to make properly, they're almost guaranteed to save you time in the long run of your build - less mistakes, smoother transitions..... I just find that templates make your work cleaner and more efficient.

That being said, for neck pockets - i'm a fan of the rail method, but I whipped up the neck pocket jig from the tutorial section. (good way to contradict myself!)

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heck I'll make a template for a template, haha just kidding.

That's what I end up doing, actually. It's easier to work with a thinner piece of material, then transfer that to a thicker 'permanent' piece. Even if I'm not necessarily going to build a body shape again (how many longhorns do you need, right?), I'll usually have pickup or control cavity routes on there that can be re-used.

Or I've used it to prepare a couple of boards that contain all of the routes for a particular build.

But really, in Dean's case, the work actually starts with Autocad --I use that to make sure my lines are smooth, that things are symmetrical and everything follows the center line.

Good point! I also have tranferred templates, didn't even realize my joke was true, lol. On my current project I might actually tranfer all the templates again to some nice hardwood or something and seal it up for long term usage because I like the design and may use it as my personal design like some people do, for example Russ uses his design for many of his builds, of course I will be doing many other guitar designs in time, next probably a single or double cut(LP/PRS style influence).

As for doing the neck pocket in other ways, if you can pull off a hand cut pocket that is straight as a board and tight and snug I think that is awesome. I know with hand tools once you get good with them things tend to move along just fine, but still it wouldn't be easy. I do think templates and a router is the most reasonable and most recommended method, but to each his own I suppose. As long as the person knows what the most efficient methods are and acknowledges them as such, who cares how they go about their work, ya know. Personally, I will never give up my router, lol, I wanna be buried with it. I get more done with that damn thing than any other tool I own and I still don't have a router table yet, which will open up even more opportunities for me. Hmm, maybe I'll make a thread later on recommended routing tables.

Anyway, if someone skips the template out of laziness then it almost always shows in how the routes turn out, which serves them right. Aside from doing templates, I often do tests, with everything, such as finishes, glues, new bits and so on. I can't even begin to say how much all these things have saved me in materials and time, like many of the guys here, I find it vital to have lots of patience and to take your time. Anyhow, best of luck. J

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