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Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

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Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

Postby Steve Sawyer » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:12 pm

I was a little nervous about this. Despite having been a woodworker for more years than I'll admit, I've never done much that required hand-shaping, and I could see this as easily going south on me at some point.

Despite my concerns, it went very well, and I had a blast doing it. For years I've coveted one of those Auriou hand-struck rasps, but because I hadn't previously done work needing them, it was hard to justify spending close to $100 for a stinkin' rasp. However, I picked up one of the hand-struck Dragon rasps from StewMac (the large, fine model), and it lived up to all my expectations (and less than half the price of a similar Auriou). What a pleasure to use!! A combination of a router plane, a couple of spoke shaves, some Japanese milled-tooth files from Lee Valley (another hand-tool that you'd have to pry from my cold, dead hands), the Dragon rasp and a couple of hours, and I was good to go.

After this pic was taken I un-clamped the neck and examined it more closely. There are a couple of very minor irregularities that I'll need to correct before sanding (which will probably reveal a few more glitches), but holding it in my hand I knew it was going to be good because I wanted to play it!! :mrgreen:

By the way, I came up with a good way of making profile "cards" to guide my work - I'll post that in a separate thread, as it worked like a charm.

Tele Neck ShapingS.jpg
Last edited by Jim McConkey on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Linked to the neck profile jig discussion
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Re: Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:46 pm

Looks good! :D
Your hand will feel the irregularities before your eyes see them.
Once you get close, put the rasps away and just use sandpaper in ever decreasing grits.
Depending on how you want to finish the neck, you can go right up to 400 or 600 grit. Some may go even finer, again depending on what kind of finish you are going to use.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

Postby Jim McConkey » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:58 pm

I had the same experience on my first neck, far easier and more enjoyable than expected. Glad it worked out well and you got to experience the same feeling!
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Re: Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

Postby Andy Bounsall » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:16 am

Shaping the neck has always been one of my favourite jobs in building a guitar. For me it's the point where it changes from being a piece of wood into part of a musical instrument.
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Re: Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

Postby Steve Sawyer » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:41 pm

Gordon Bellerose wrote:Your hand will feel the irregularities before your eyes see them.


True, dat...

In fact, my eye didn't notice that the back is a tad "flat", making it more "D" shaped than "C" shaped, but the fingers spotted that right away. I'm going to go at it again today with some coarse sandpaper to get that corrected, and the two little bumps that my fingers also found.
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Re: Wow - that was FUN! (shaping first neck)

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:27 pm

I use a long board with coarse sandpaper glued to it to level the back of the neck. It's used in a rocking motion, sanding cross grain. It prevents the dips and bumps you get when free-handing it. I got the idea from Benedetto's book. It works so well that I made a motorized version by bolting an aluminum sanding beam to an orbital sander.
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