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Cracked Neck Pocket


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SO I just finished routing out the neck pocket, and it fits snug, but there is also a crack that formed on the top right hand side of the neck pocket. Is it anything to worry about, and what would you recommend I do to avoid it from breacking. It is a bolt in neck.

pics are here:http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2011-8/1368737/0

In the final picture, I had the idea to just cut away the area with the crack and move that screw. Is this a terrible idea? Any suggestions would be welcome! Thanks

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I don’t mean to sound patronizing, but…

The crack isn’t your only problem. The bottom is uneven. So are the sides. There seem to be some patchwork in the bottom of the pocket. On top of that the joint in the body (might be the pic) looks suspicious (visible glue line, putty etc). My strong recommendation is this:

Ditch that body! Practice on scrap! Start over!

If my assumptions above are correct you will never get a good neck fit in that pocket. So even if you think you will waist good wood by scrapping that body there is no way you will get a good end result with the neck pocket as it looks now. You might be able to salvage it by gluing more patches and rerouting everything but that way you will start wasting time on top of wasting wood.

Sorry, but it had to be said…

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First of all, yes the body is biscuit ed together, and I am practicing with scrap ( a fellow guitar builder gave me a free piece of birch to practice on). I was planning on still keeping the guitar, and have bought very nice parts for it though. I would like to be able to still use the body...

You can see why I would want to save the guitar (its a fireman) here:

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2011-8/1368737/2161051

They are just pics, but I have spent a LOT of time getting to this point.

Edited by silasklug
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I don't think there's anything wrong with the biscuits. My dad was a cabinetmaker and uses them all the time. They might not be necessary to build a guitar but I don't think they hurt anything. It's hard to tell if the neck pocket is salvageable in those pics, but at worst you could slice the middle out and save it for wings of a neck through build. The shape is nice, and the body looks good otherwise.

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I fully appreciate that you have put in a lot of work on the body already and that you want to salvage the body and so on. I have full respect for that. But if you carry on with this without paying attention to a couple of really serious flaws you will just put in more work on a project that will disappoint you in the end. To be frank I will list the flaws:

-uneven and jagged bottom of the neck pocket

-uneven and jagged sides of the neck pocket

-cracked wood in the bottom of the neck pocket

All of these are on their own serious structural errors that would make me either do a major repair of simply scrap that piece of wood. Now combine these three different errors (and the body joint that obvious already have been "improved" with putty at some stage)... do the math.

I look at the pics over and over again (believe me, I'm not a troll, check my history, I just think you need this tough love man) and try to come up with a solution for you. You need to glue the crack up. Then you need to rout the bottom of the pocket dead flat (don't even think about using putty here...). If needed, due to bridge height issues you might need to glue a wooden fillet/spacer in the bottom after that. Then you need to get the walls of the pocket dead straight and even. And you will probably need to glue veneers on the sides to make up for the wood you remove when cleaning up the sides. That is what you *need* to do to get a good and solid neck pocket. Now compare that to the job you need to do to start over. It's your call. But I know I would have scrapped that body and started over fresh again.

If you start over or for your next build or whatever I have two honest advices for you:

- Don’t carve the body (easy part) before you have a good and solid neck pocket (hard part)

- Secondly, (or maybe firstly) don’t cut out the body if the shape doesn't allow you to have enough wood to rest the router on in the pocket area. Start with the pocket when there is plenty of wood to rest the router on and then cut out the body.

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I would use any type of quality hard wood I have around. First choise would be maple simply because I like to work with it and I have plenty of thin maple veneer. Glue everything in so that you don't have to bother with a couple of small parts sliping around and getting lost next time the neck is of the body. I always at least tack glue a neck shim for that reason. I have lost one shim to many over the years.

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Took me a while to understand how this all happened but I suppose the cut was done by routing freehand? First thing to do is to get a template bit, make a template and clean up the route. Then glue in fillets and re-route if necessary. Or forget the router and use use a chisel. Just make sure the the walls are dead flat before gluing the fillets in.

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Being a bolt-on, you are not investing an entire neck into the body as you would with a set-in neck. In that respect, learn something from trying to make it work and seeing why it doesn't if it doesn't. You might get lucky and end up with a usable workpiece, however I think you need to take from this what you can for future projects. First, try and fix the pocket and see if the neck fits satisfactorily and securely. Do a test fit and string up of the hardware to see if it holds up under tension. If it doesn't, then you know that the problem is more than likely to be insurmountable. If it does hold up, then you can make the decision to continue investing more time and money into a project with underlying imperfections which may re-manifest in the future.

I wrote off a lot of projects whilst I was learning various key ideas in instrument making. Highly wasteful, however the cutoff point was always known. I had a bass where the neck angle was far too slight, and I had to make the decision to write off a LOT of expensive wood instead of continuing to throw money at it in the form of hardware, pickups and time. There are a fair few number of improvements in build steps you can take from this, so make sure you take it all! Your next workpiece will appreciate it, and you'll feel your time invested better. :D

Hope this helps somehow. I think I forgot where I was going with this post.

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  • 1 month later...

Its a mess that will never be a usable guitar. I support Swedish Luthier when I say it was a good learning experience now move on.

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Yes it is BAD. The pocket just plain and simple sucks. I agree with SL and Spoke on this.

Now, Do you really want to salvage this?

(1)(this is very very important) What is the thickness at the pocket that is left and is it going to be painted not stained?

(2) Do you understand the process of making a router template? If not, would you be interested in shipping it to have it repaired back to a useable body?

(3) If the thickness is more than 1/4" then there may be a way to salvage this.

If you are still here and want to know more, then let me know.

Mike

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So I have gotten it so that the edges are all complely flat. I also then glued multiple veneers on the sides an bottom, and then sanded them so they were perfectly straight. I do now have a very tight fitting neck pocket that I am pleased with and am now starting to place out the hardware on it.

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Veneers will not solve the underlying structural issues, only hide them. I feel that you're perhaps reading only what you want to read from the advice given. Ultimately, what are you wanting to achieve with this instrument? Are you considering building anything subsequent to this one?

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