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neck shaping question


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I understand a lot of neck shaping is done w/ spokeshaves & sanders, etc. I was wondering how you double check your work, or know that it's precise & exact? I guess I'm thinking about the radiii and stuff like that. I mean I know there are radiused blocks you can check the neck w/ and stuff, but how if one doesn't fit right, I can't figure out how you'd indicate that or know how much to sand off? Is it a lot of eyeballing?

I guess I should pick up a book on how to make a neck.

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ok well it seems like you're refering to 2 different aspects of shaping the neck.

1. the fretboard radius is almost always done with radius blocks by most people now, it can be ruffed using planes and stuff but most people use a block to finish it off with sand paper. Eyeballing it is one way to check it, another is to use a marker or pencil and mark the wood and see where you're actually taking off the wood.

2. The back of the neck, as far as i know i'm the only one that uses radius guages to make necks by checking against a guage. This is where most people use a surfoam, rasp, or spokeshave, and lots of sandpaper to get that finished "perfect" feel. So alot of people may just carve until it feels right, then just use a short straight edge with some sandpaper on it to make sure the back is straight. I prefer to sand with the grain of the neck, going up and down it, some poeple sand perpendicualar to the grain siding a belt across the neck.

FYI, when i use guages i check one side, then check the other, then there's usualy a gap between them, which i then use a thrid guage to check with (usualy bigger) to flatten out the back of the neck.

hope that helps, although there will probably alot of people posting how necks are made so you'll have lots of reading :D

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FYI, when i use guages i check one side, then check the other, then there's usualy a gap between them, which i then use a thrid guage to check with (usualy bigger) to flatten out the back of the neck.

Thanks, it does help a little. I think I understand the fingerboard radiusing just fine, I'm just confused on the back of the neck. They all look so perfect and symmetrical, even on all the hand carved ones I've seen, and I'm wondering what the trick is. I supposed a radiused sanding block could do that as well, but it just seems trickier than the fingerboard.

What do you mean when you say you check one side then the other? I assume you're talking about both sides to the back of the neck (left then right). But I can't picture what kind of guage you'd use? A feeler guage, or something radiused you made yourself (or bought)?

I'm also a little confused on why some necks are angled when they meet the body. I've heard some talk about this and don't understand the benefits of flat vs. angled and such.

Thanks!!!

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I've seen at hardware stores contour gauges that are made up of tiny rods or pins lined up flat, then held together tightly in a strip. You press them into your contour and they hold the shape. One good use for these would be to take the "imprint" of the neck shape at any given place, then rotate it 180 degrees to check for symmetry. That being said, I always shape by feel and I can tell when I've achieved symmetry. I carve a lot of assymetrical necks, though. Where the treble side is a little slimmer with more slope and less roundness.

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for the neck i am building now, i actually just held it with both hands, one on head stock, other on the joint and just run it down against a fixed belt sander on a bit of an angle, then i did that, both sides, and middle, and the rest i took a peice of 80 grit sand paper, cupped my hand the shape i felt was great and just ran it up and down, it took it off little by little, but it worked great!!!! i dont know if anyone else would recomend it, but i found it worked great, only one little indent that shouldnt be there, but its comin out with good old sand paper :D

Hope that helps

Curtis

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i actually made 1/4 circle gauges i drew on paper and cut out very slowly i have a range that goes from 5/8" up to 1 1/4" radius

by sides, i mean well still on the back of the neck, but the treb and bass side which are more curved then the center where it's generaly a bit more flatter..

but again, you can do the whole thing by feel..

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Thank you all very much for your help! I also ran to the local bookstore and flipped to the neck shaping section in "guitarmaking" or whatever by Compiano (sp?) and that helped. He pretty much does it by feel and eyeballing, etc.

and duh!! I have a feeler gauge but haven't used it yet and didn't think of turning it around to check symmetry if I felt that was necessary. Sometimes I think about things too much and skip the obvious.

Basically I've been wanting to make my own bass(es) for a little while now and am getting inspired from this site to probably attempt it soon. The most I've done to date is just pull the frets out of my old Peavey 4 string Fury and fill them in to make it fretless. I also plan on tossing some better pickups and stuff in there too.

I'm gonna go for a 5 string neck through and get all ambitious. I've done a lot of woodworking duplicating my houses ancient molding, so I have some of the tools and some experience.

THANKS AGAIN!!!!

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