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Guidance for a first time neck build?

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I am going to be working with White Limba for the neck and Honduran Rosewood for the fingerboard. This is my first time ever doing this and I need some guidance. I know I need some essential tools like a saw rasp for taking off material on the neck and a spokeshave for making the neck shape. I need to get a truss rod and I don't have a table saw that I can route a cavity out, but I can either rout it out with a chisel or something similar. I am going to list off questions of my concerns for this project:

  1. The fingerboard is most likely already planed, but the neck blank feels very coarse, should I plane that?
  2. I assume the wood (since it was already cut into sizeable blanks for my project) that it was dried, do I need to dry it any more or am I fine for now?
  3. What are the ESSENTIAL tools I need? I am going to order today radius blocks, gauges that range from 7.25 to a 20 inch radius and I am going to get the saw rasp and spokeshave from either a hardware store (home depot or lowes) or order it. What else is necessary for this project?
  4. Are there any guides or videos I can watch or read to guide me on this project?
  5. Any templates anyone can provide for building a neck?
  6. What would help me along in this process?

I hope this all goes very well! I am letting the wood acclimate right now and I have them stacked and divided on top of each other with dividers in between.


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  1. You should plane or otherwise make sure that the surfaces you're going to glue together match as good as possible.
  2. You'd better let the wood acclimatize i.e. lay stapled on and between slats for a few weeks. Remember the wood drying image?
  3. A radius block is the easiest tool for radiusing the fretboard. Radius gauges can be printed. A saw rasp is good but a plane rasp is as effective and can be easier to find. A spokeshave is nice but it requires some skill not to make an hour glass shaped neck.
  4. There's tons of them. I suggest you to carve your first neck using the facet method, here's one example of that: https://youtu.be/b0ycwy7XMIg
  5. You don't need templates for actually carving a neck. A long straightedge to draw the centerline and the sides is sufficient. There's drawings available and you can use them to make templates or just attach a drawing on the neck blank and cut along the lines. They're handy in finding the location for tuners and getting the measures right as well. When using drawings check that the measures on the drawings match those given as numbers!
  6. Keep asking questions! Study videos, study guitars by measuring them at every end. Imagine the process before attempting to do anything. Cardboard can be your best friend when mocking up things...
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Watch as many YT videos as you can find, within reason, There are so many techniques out there it can be confusing on which is "right" or "the best way" to do every step...*spoiler* there isn't any one way to do any of this!

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