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Question About Neck Levelling....


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Hi all,

Just a quick question regarding the very first neck I'm making.

Here are the details:

It's a 3-ply laminate of maple/bubinga/maple, with an ebony fingerboard, and it's coming along nicely.

It has 24 frets, it's for a 7-string solid body electric guitar, and it has quite a flat radius (>16"??), and a one-way truss rod.

After attaching the fingerboard I successfully levelled the 'board. (The 'board was bought pre-slotted and pre-radiused.)

However, after shaping the underside of the neck I find the neck now has some undesirable backbow!

It's not very much, less than 1mm, but it was not there before the neck shaping - I measured and measured so many times!!

I seem to think this could be due to the removal of wood??

I have yet to fret the neck, so my question is:

Do I need to "re-level" the neck again before attempting to install frets?

(And I'm thinking "Yes, I do, of course, cos the fret levelling won't be able to make up for that much")

And if this is necessary, do I do that by sanding the fingerboard flat again? Like, sand out the "centre-bulge"??

I'm assuming I can't "bend" the neck straight again????

I mean, I can't straighten it using the truss rod either, cos it will pull the neck into an even more severe backbow, won't it?

I realise that when strung, there will be some pull from the strings in the direction which would help my situation, but I can't imagine it's clever to even attempt fret-levelling with the neck not entirely flat????

I can post photos if anyone feels it would help!

Appreciate anything useful.

Thanks,

DJ

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When I make a neck, I attempt to get a fingerboard that is as flat as possible; but that's just me.

I would try:

1) Dampen the neck with a damp rag (damp, not wet) and clamp the neck into ever so slight relief. Wait 24 hours.

2) Unclamp the neck and check it for straigthness.

3) If Backbow remains, remove it with a radiused sanding block, checking regularly that you don't remove too much.

YMMV

Because you neck is laminated maple/bubinga, it will be fairly stiff so the clamping fro 24hrs might not affect the backbow that much, but its worth a try.

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Hm... from my little experience, it's best to carve the neck before attaching the fingerboard. Twice a neck has back-bowed on me after carving. Without a fingerboard attached, you can easily plane or sand the top of the neck level again and then glue on the fingerboard.

In your case I would probably plane the fingerboard level again. I would use a plane rather than a sanding block. Of course, if the board is already radiused, that may not work very well and a radiused sanding block, as suggested by guitar2005, would be better.

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Funny how different people are.

I use titebond to glue on the fretboard,then after waiting a couple of weeks I carve the neck...but I use multi-lam necks and my wood sits in dry storage for usually well over a year before I use it.I never have had a problem and all of my necks are much straighter than any of my factory guitars.

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Thanks for your comments fellas!

Funny how different people are.

I use titebond to glue on the fretboard,then after waiting a couple of weeks I carve the neck...but I use multi-lam necks and my wood sits in dry storage for usually well over a year before I use it.I never have had a problem and all of my necks are much straighter than any of my factory guitars.

Quick question: I'm in the UK-is titebond a water-based glue? I'm thinking it isn't....

This is my first attempt!

To attach the fingerboard I used Evo Stick wood glue, which I believe to be a water-based PVA adhesive. Maybe next time I'll use epoxy?!

I also don't fancy waiting over a year before doing anything more with the neck I'm making.

(I'm only doing one guitar at a time. I can see why that's do-able if you're in small production runs!)

So, lessons learned here so far:

1. carve neck shape before attaching fingerboard!

2. attach fingerboard with epoxy glue

3. consider dry storage period after attaching fingerboard

How does that sound?

Now in terms of what to do next - is sanding the fingerboard flat again THE way forward for this neck now?

Thank you all,

DJ

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Wes: I used to do it your way (glue, then carve), and my neck wood is still at least 3 years old (as in: bought dry, and in my posession for at least 3 years) when I actually get around to using it. Then Rick Turner mentioned wood movement post-carve, tried it out on three guitar, and, well, they all moved. Stable, quartered, laminated mahogany, unlaminated quartered mahogany, multi-ply walnut/maple/wenge laminates, they all ended up being a tiny bit less flat (fingerboard gluing surface). So I flattened again, then glued the board, and then finished carving away the last 2mm all around/fine-tuning. I'll still have to re-level the fingerboards before fretting, but levelling neck gluing surfaces is a whole lot more pleasant than levelling ebony.

Titebond can (doesn't have to, but can) introduct a little bit of cupping, requiring a little bit of extra levelling. Is that serious? Not really. Not necessarily. But Epoxy is cheap, releases with heat, and doesn't introduce any moisutre to the joint at all, reasons enough for me to decide to switch.

Question at hand: yes, level sand the fretboard.

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Funny how different people are.

I use titebond to glue on the fretboard,then after waiting a couple of weeks I carve the neck...but I use multi-lam necks and my wood sits in dry storage for usually well over a year before I use it.I never have had a problem and all of my necks are much straighter than any of my factory guitars.

I don't wait a couple of weeks. One week is enough for me.

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I use the titebond(alphetic resin glue-to answer the question) out of preference,and because epoxy glues are strongest when you have a small gap for the epoxy to sit in.for fretboards I find that less than ideal,so I personally would never use epoxy there...titebond(as with all alphetic resins) is strongest with no visible gap...hence why I prefer it for fretboards.

I use epoxy for neck joints,again because of the reccomended gap...it allows me to make minor(very minor,don't think I advocate sloppy tolerances)adjustments to neck angle and bridge lineup while clamping if I have that tiny space.

I also use a two way truss rod in everything,but I have never had to use it (yet) to fix a problem.

I wait about two weeks usually because I don't have alot of time.I am sure one week is enough.Other than that,I don't know why your wood would move....

Mattia...I know you know all of this about the glues and such,I mean this explanation more for others.I just think my way is the best way for me,and my guitars always play like butter(wierd expression,right?),so I will continue.

Not necessarily. But Epoxy is cheap, releases with heat,

Funny unrelated story.I was in starbucks this morning,and I noticed a recall on some cups they sold last year with a ceramic main cup and plastic handles...apparently they used epoxy to glue the handles on,but when hot coffee was poured in,the handles were sometimes coming off,resulting in potential burn victims.

I found it amusing anyway.

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I use the titebond(alphetic resin glue-to answer the question) out of preference,and because epoxy glues are strongest when you have a small gap for the epoxy to sit in.for fretboards I find that less than ideal,so I personally would never use epoxy there...titebond(as with all alphetic resins) is strongest with no visible gap...hence why I prefer it for fretboards.

I also use a two way truss rod in everything.

+1

but on my tele neck I had to use the truss rod going the other way.

the neck was way too stiff, so I removed more wood from the back of the neck and used the 2way rod to correct the backbow.

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I use the titebond(alphetic resin glue-to answer the question) out of preference,and because epoxy glues are strongest when you have a small gap for the epoxy to sit in.for fretboards I find that less than ideal,so I personally would never use epoxy there...titebond(as with all alphetic resins) is strongest with no visible gap...hence why I prefer it for fretboards.

I also use a two way truss rod in everything.

+1

but on my tele neck I had to use the truss rod going the other way.

the neck was way too stiff, so I removed more wood from the back of the neck and used the 2way rod to correct the backbow.

+2

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Hi all,

Just a quick question regarding the very first neck I'm making.

Here are the details:

It's a 3-ply laminate of maple/bubinga/maple, with an ebony fingerboard, and it's coming along nicely.

It has 24 frets, it's for a 7-string solid body electric guitar, and it has quite a flat radius (>16"??), and a one-way truss rod.

After attaching the fingerboard I successfully levelled the 'board. (The 'board was bought pre-slotted and pre-radiused.)

However, after shaping the underside of the neck I find the neck now has some undesirable backbow!

It's not very much, less than 1mm, but it was not there before the neck shaping - I measured and measured so many times!!

I seem to think this could be due to the removal of wood??

I have yet to fret the neck, so my question is:

Do I need to "re-level" the neck again before attempting to install frets?

(And I'm thinking "Yes, I do, of course, cos the fret levelling won't be able to make up for that much")

And if this is necessary, do I do that by sanding the fingerboard flat again? Like, sand out the "centre-bulge"??

I'm assuming I can't "bend" the neck straight again????

I mean, I can't straighten it using the truss rod either, cos it will pull the neck into an even more severe backbow, won't it?

I realise that when strung, there will be some pull from the strings in the direction which would help my situation, but I can't imagine it's clever to even attempt fret-levelling with the neck not entirely flat????

I can post photos if anyone feels it would help!

Appreciate anything useful.

Thanks,

DJ

A two way truss rod would have helped the situation. Make sure there is no twist to the neck as well, If there is start from scratch. You could add frets install strings and hopes it all straightens out under tension, or heat up the fingerboard and clamp the neck back into a forward bow since you do have a truss rod. It sounds like you did something wrong with wood orientation or clamping up these pieces without roper drying time. or using the wrong glue, A basic yellow glue is always recommended.

I think some measurements would help so we can visualize the size of the gap on each end.

By sanding the center of the board you are just making the board narrow in the middle and it will look pretty strange.

Make sure you did not tighten the truss rod nut by mistake?????

Edited by Woodenspoke
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