Sunday, 23 June 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 3 - The neck and fretting

The neck

The neck is laminated from quartersawn sapele
and 5mm thick rock maple.
 It is roughly cut to shape in side profile with a 10 degree headstock. I glued some sapele blocks to get the full width. The truss rod channel was routed out, two way truss rod installed and the fretboard glued on. The picture above shows the fretboard prior to the inlays being glued in.
Some luthiers scarf joint the headstock to minimise on stock use but I normally use 8/4 stock (2" thick) quarter-sawn boards and am able to get two necks out of one board with a 10 degree headstock.

Sapele blocks glued on headstock
The headstock shape is traced on in pencil

The TMC logo is cut from mother of pearl

Logo positioned on headstock
prior to routing

CA glue is used to bond the pearl in place

I think there is quite a bit of squeeze out on this one!

The neck is then bandsawn to shape carefully following the fretboard. I covered the truss rod adjustment slot with a little blue tape to prevent any dust ingress

Neck rough sawn

Once the neck was rough sawn I used some self adhesive sandpaper on a precision ground steel beam to finish the edges. I find this easier to use than a block plane or finish plane as you can get right to the headstock radius and it is dead straight/flat.Neck clamped in the vice. Note the use of the aluminium radius beam again.
Truly a multi purpose tool.


Bending the fret wire
The fretwire normally comes coiled but is not the correct radius for the fretboard. This particular fretboard is 12" radius. You need to bend the wire at a slightly tighter radius I opt for around 6 1/2" to ensure that the fret end sit tightly down on the fretboard.
To do that I use the Stewmac fret bending machine. You adjust one of the adjustable wheels to whatever radius you want (a bit of trial and error) and you are all set. Simply insert the fret wire and wind the handle. In a few seconds you end up with a perfectly curved radius to your parameters

Fret wire bent to 6 1/2" radius
Next you cut the frets to length with a fret wire cutter and insert them into the fretboard
StewMac Fret insertion Caul
I use a drill press with a StewMac fret insertion caul of the correct radius to push the barbed frets into the board.

Frets overhand each side of the board about 1/4"

All frets inserted
After all the frets are inserted it is a simple matter of snipping the ends off.

Snipping the fret ends

Using a file in a wooden block to file the rough ends down

Bevelling the ends with a file embedded in
a PTFE block

The fret ends need a lot of work
with a fine fret file to remove all the scratches and
rough edges. Each finished fret end will look like this.
I had to do it 48 times for this neck 

Shaping the back of the neck

Roughing out with a flat bottomed spokeshave
Here you can see the plastic gauge in the bottom LH of the picture.
In the top RH of the picture you can see the shaped caul
that has self adhesive sandpaper attached
This is used to shape the neck to a consistent radius.

A final rubdown with some 220grit and
the neck is done for now.
There is a little more work to be done but that is in a future post.

Next time I tackle the body slab

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