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They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:04 pm
by Steve Sawyer
Well, to be fair, StewMac said that it "wasn't recommended", but it seems to work just fine.

I purchased one of the low-profile two-way truss rods from StewMac, plus the stupid-expensive tool for counter-boring the cylindrical nut housing. The instructions for the tool only showed it being used to place the nut at the heel of a bolt-on neck, and I was building a set-neck with an angled headstock.

Because this is my first neck of this type, I used some mahogany scrap to practice making the scarf joint and to see if this tool could be used for this application. As you can see, it works just fine. The counterbore will even fit under the truss rod cover I bought. The second pic is to document how deep to bore for this rod when I go to make the "real" neck. All measurements are taken from the break angle between the headstock and the shaft of the neck. Note that I had to do a bit of carving to clear the top of the truss rod where it is welded, as it is slightly wider than the nominal 1/4" of the truss rod itself. Also, you don't really need the 1/4" bit that StewMac sells to install this rod, but I did have to try three different "1/4 inch" router bits until I found one that was actually 1/4". The rod measures just a scrunch short of 1/4" (.242" if I recall correctly) and the counterboring tool measures exactly 1/4" (.250"), so the router bit can NOT be undersized at all.

Truss Rod Counterbore1.JPG


Truss Rod Counterbore2.JPG

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:58 pm
by Randolph Rhett
Yep, I use the tool the same way. Actually made my own tool using a counterbore bit and a 1:4” aluminum rod. Much deeper cut than you would expect, but if you go slowly it works fine.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:01 am
by Brian Evans
I don't quite get what y'all are talking about. I cut my truss rod groove on my table saw with a dado bladeand then relieve the ends for weld clearance with a 1/4" chisel. What are you guys doing?

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:51 am
by Steve Sawyer
Randolph Rhett wrote:Actually made my own tool using a counterbore bit and a 1:4” aluminum rod. Much deeper cut than you would expect, but if you go slowly it works fine.


Excellent. You should write that up and post it Randolph. Might save someone $50

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:35 pm
by Steve Sawyer
Brian Evans wrote:I don't quite get what y'all are talking about. I cut my truss rod groove on my table saw with a dado bladeand then relieve the ends for weld clearance with a 1/4" chisel. What are you guys doing?


Using a counterboring tool. I've heard of some using a Forstner bit for the same task, but the problem is keeping it centered on the truss-rod channel. No reason whatsoever that this can't be done with chisels and gouges.

Truss Rod Counterbore3.JPG

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:49 pm
by Christ Kacoyannakis
Brian. I was confused too. I did a bit of research on StewMac, and realized that this is a low profile two way truss rod. So, it is narrower than a regular Allen head truss rod, where the adjustment nut is the same width as the rod assembly. On these low profile rods, the rod assembly is narrower than the nut, so you either chisel out an area or route a section that is bigger. Hope that I am interpreting this correctly and that is what you guys are talking about. If not, please correct me.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:56 pm
by Steve Sawyer
Christ - I think you have this right. I've only used the StewMac 2-way truss rods, first a "hot rod" then this low-profile model. It looks like they are now making the hot-rod "low profile" so I'm not familiar with other options, so I can't offer any comparison, but I am boring clearance for the nut.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:03 am
by Brian Evans
The truss rods I buy the "nut" (bit with the allen key hole) is the same diameter as the truss rod slot, 1/4", so I don't need to counterbore anything. I just dress the width a tiny bit where the flat strip is welded to the threaded piece that the threaded rod goes through, the welds stick out a micro-inch or two. Regardless, the counterbore looks cool.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:42 am
by Steve Sawyer
Brian Evans wrote:The truss rods I buy the "nut" (bit with the allen key hole) is the same diameter as the truss rod slot, 1/4", so I don't need to counterbore anything. I just dress the width a tiny bit where the flat strip is welded to the threaded piece that the threaded rod goes through, the welds stick out a micro-inch or two. Regardless, the counterbore looks cool.


Whose truss rods do you use, Brian?

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:24 pm
by Brian Evans
This one. https://www.woodtoworks.com/Double-Acti ... _6760.html
I have been buying a few at a time when I place an order, free shipping in Canada over $200, which is remarkably easy to get to. I find their prices on pickups, tuners, etc, very good and in $CDN. I buy my specialty wood here, too.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:00 pm
by Barry Daniels
I have recently used rods made by Mark Blanchard. Dual action and extra fine adjustment thread. Pricey but very well made.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:46 pm
by John Clifford
I've been using those low-profile rods too. I like them so far. I use round-nosed router bits - a 1/4" for most of the channel, and a 3/8" for the end part with the weld and allen wrench socket. I may be losing a few millimeters of wood vs. the counterbore technique, but it sure is easy.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:14 pm
by Steve Sawyer
John Clifford wrote:I've been using those low-profile rods too. I like them so far. I use round-nosed router bits - a 1/4" for most of the channel, and a 3/8" for the end part with the weld and allen wrench socket. I may be losing a few millimeters of wood vs. the counterbore technique, but it sure is easy.


Ooh. Sweet. You could also use the 3/8 bit just for the nut-and-weld relief.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:26 am
by David King
Where these counterbores are really indispensable is on single rod installations where the nut bears directly on the wood end grain and the nut is located under the end of the fingerboard. Hopefully Stewmac makes an interchangeable 3/16" pilot or a 3/16 piloted version. These sorts of cutters are quite easy to make with a milling machine but they are also a commonly available tool at MRO distributors like Travers Tool and MSC.

Re: They said it couldn't be done (truss rod tool)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:42 am
by Steve Sawyer
Unfortunately, David, the tool StewMac makes is a solid rod - no provision for changing the size of the pilot. Appears to be specific to their low-profile truss rods.