Jump to content

I've Started, But I'm In A Small Pickle

Recommended Posts


I've been lurking around here a lot for the past few years, and i've learned a lot from all of you. I just want to say thank you for all the help!

A few months ago, i bought a nice piece of South American Mahogany, and i've been working with it. The plan is to build a fretless neckthrough 5 string bass with 2 humbucker routings and sideways knobs. I've got my shape cut out, i've got my neck, i've got all my hardware, and i'm ready to glue it together. Here's my delemma:

You know how the body wings are supposed to be perfectly flat and flush before you glue them to the neck? Well, i don't know what kind of tool i should use to make those contact points perfectly flat. They're definately level. I can hold them up to each other and up against the neck, and there's no space along the edges. However, the edges are sort of rounded, so even though you're looking at the front of the guitar and it looks flush, the back has a gap between the body and the neck that runs the entire length evenly. How do i get rid of this without a jointer or one of those giant long belt sanders?

Thank you!

P.S. I'm working on getting pictures up so i can share my progress. I'll probably be able to show you all my problem easeir with pictures too.

Edited by Narcissism
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a few ways you can do this, by far the easiest is running the edges over a planer which most of us don't have. You could however try finding a local joiners / wood yard and ask them to do it for you. or

You could try using a Shooting Board Make sure the wood is clamped, and take off as little as possible until you are able to take off a shaving which is the whole length of the timber. Repeat this with all edge

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most Mexican style luthiers will tell you to use a hand plane and do the by hand. However, with a low cost jointer and a precision square you can get perfect joints.

I run my boards through the planer to get my top and back parallel and then I use the face of the board against my fence and square up my edges with the jointer. I do this with the neck blank and both wing boards.

For standard bodies a 6” jointer should be fine. I purchased mine from Harbor Freight and it’s a floor model. With a little fine tuning you should be able to achieve a high level of success with a lower cost jointer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shooting board is the way to go if you don't have a jointer. Actually, I have two jointers and I still use a shooting board to make sure there are no glitches(jointers can leave a little glitch here or there). If you do not have a well tuned plane, you can use sandpaper attached to a perfectly square block(sand in only one direction, with even pressure). If you sand blow it down with air or brush and dry wipe it well, then a quick wipe with naptha or alcohol to get a nice clean surface. Don't forget to give the board a quick wipe with a moist(water) towel before you apply your wood glue(I am ussuming your using Titebond). Solvents tend to draw out moisture, and a dry surface is not going to help your wood glue bond and cure evenly.

Good luck,


Link to comment
Share on other sites


I fought with hand-planing for quite some time. (I've now got it figured out - it took a lot of work to get my piece of junk plane into a usable condition, as well as a bit of practice to figure it all out. Of course, the fact that my plane body is not square makes jointing with it an interesting task)

Anyway… upon getting fed up with making things continually worse with a handplane, I switched to a sanding stick method - I went to the local metal scrapyard, and managed to find a long piece of aluminum channel that was both square and level. I think it cost me a few bucks there, but my last trip to the scrapyard for sheet aluminum has made me realize the price of scrap has gone up considerably. (Which also means the yard keeps less stuff laying around before the sell it off)

I attached a bunch of sandpaper to this beam, either using the self-adhesive variety or contact adhesive and cut strips from regular paper, and then clamped the beam to a worktable, making sure to keep it perfectly square to the surface of the table. Either lifting the workpiece off the table with a sheet of MDF, or making a groove in the table gives the sawdust somewhere to go. (Also helps avoid any problems because the corners of the beam are slightly rounded.) Then I run the piece against the sanding beam. (You can also clamp the piece down and run the sanding beam against the piece, I suppose.) Since my beam is so long (three or four feet) it made quick work of the edges, especially when I'm dealing with wood that's almost trued up.

Jointing with a hand plane is probably better, and it's usually quicker if the edge isn't close to being perfect, (and it's how I do it now) but if you're still learning your way around a handplane, or don't have one (a good one can cost a bit, a cheap one can take a while to tune) this method works well enough.

(Edit: just read Rich's post in more detail - basically this is me taking three paragraphs to say what Rich said in a few words)

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.

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.

  • Create New...