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Shaping The Neck


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How does everyone here shape their necks? I usually use a combination of microplane rasps, orbital disk sander, spokeshave and rough sandpaper. I have trouble keeping the back straight, some of my necks are really good some not so much and I redo them. I found a jig to rough shape it with a router and that should solve the problem but it seems kind of confusing to make and I'd rather do it by hand. Any suggestions or anything?

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A spokeshave, Stew-Mac Dragon rasps, and sandpaper.

I like to cut a belt from my belt sander in two or three pieces, put a little duct tape on each end for a "handle" and use it to to smooth the neck after some work with the rasps and spokeshave. Belt sander belts have a much thicker substrate than sheets of sandpaper, and last a lot longer when you use them like this.

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How does everyone here shape their necks? I usually use a combination of microplane rasps, orbital disk sander, spokeshave and rough sandpaper. I have trouble keeping the back straight, some of my necks are really good some not so much and I redo them. I found a jig to rough shape it with a router and that should solve the problem but it seems kind of confusing to make and I'd rather do it by hand. Any suggestions or anything?

I start by drawing a centreline down the back.

Then I draw 2 lines 11mm from each edge following the taper (i.e. parallel with the edge, not the centreline), then 2 more lines 11 mm down each side from each edge. These 4 lines define 2 chamfers, one on each side of the back of the neck. I then remove the corner wood to create the chamfers (I use rasps and spokeshaves).

I then draw a centreline down the face of each chamfer, then work on the 4 new corners (at each edge of the chamfer), using the spokeshave. By watching the distance from the neck centreline I drew at the start, and the new centrelines on the chamfer faces, I create a 4 new smaller chamfers, one on each edge. I start to let the chamfers meet in the middle of the back of the neck, and so the original centre line starts to disappear from the nut end first (because the neck is narrower there. The chamfers on the side, I let approach the fingerboard evenly.

By the time I have this done, I start measuring the neck thickness to get it down to what I like, and removing material straight down the centreline of the back of the neck. When the desired thickness is reached, of course, there is a flat spot right down the back. So, using a combo of spokeshave and a strip of coarse sandpaper (used in a similar manner to polishing shoes working side to side and moving slowly up and down the neck) I round out the neck to it's final shape.

Doing it this way keeps it symmetrical at all times and the resulting neck turns out great.

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Spokeshave, microplane, sandpaper.

I also use a sanding block for a lot of it. It helps to keep the whole thing straight when shaping.

I check it a lot with calipers, especially when it gets close to it's final shape. My first neck ended up too thin and my second one was too narrow. I'm real careful now.

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How does everyone here shape their necks? I usually use a combination of microplane rasps, orbital disk sander, spokeshave and rough sandpaper. I have trouble keeping the back straight, some of my necks are really good some not so much and I redo them. I found a jig to rough shape it with a router and that should solve the problem but it seems kind of confusing to make and I'd rather do it by hand. Any suggestions or anything?

Mostly a round rasp for bulk removal, followed by a spokeshave for general smoothing, followed by sandpaper.

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I use spokeshaves and sandpaper in a shoe shining movement (I guess pretty much like Rick500 describes)

But I intend to try out a neat thing I saw over at the MIMF. Glue or screw a piece of light aluminium or thick plastic, roughly 20-25 cm (up to 10") to a cheap sander (not a random orbital) and attach the sandpaper using double stick tape. That way you can work a long part of the neck and always get a straight line. My idea was to cut a piece from a thick PVC tube with a 11 cm diameter (slightly less than 10") and use the inner surface for sanding. That way I can work a much birre surface at the same time (kompared to a flat sanding surface).

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