Carving Necks

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Mark Swanson »

Thanks, you're all set now. One of us has fixed it for you- enjoy the MIMForum!
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Greg Robinson
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Greg Robinson »

Sorry Benjamin, you had posted again and Mark had seen your second post before I had gotten around to updating your registration. He didn't know that you'd already contacted me. Everything's fine, sorry for the confusion.
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John Sonksen
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by John Sonksen »

I've used a sure-form to rough carve my necks, it's very aggressive but makes quick work of it. Follow that with rasps or course files then finally sandpaper. When you are carving curly, or flame maple you are dealing with a part of the tree that had wood that was essentially changing grain direction multiple times. It's what gives the wood the beautiful look, but it makes any kind of shaping a chore as there is no way to run the tooling constantly with the grain to achieve the smoothest finish. Moving a rasp or file across the grain rather than with it can lead to less tearout, but use a light touch. If you could imagine the neck face down, I would hold a two handed sure-form rasp at a 45 degree angle and feel out if moving up or down the neck will work better. From there it's basic shaping and sanding protocol. Move from course to fine, leaving enough wood that you can take it down to final size and guarantee removing any gouges in the wood.

Dave Tays
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Dave Tays »

I am new to guitar building but i just finished carving my first neck. I agree with everyone else, rasp, file, scrapper, sandpaper. On the rasp though i bought a japanese rasp with the two handles. Love it works really well and feels very comfortable in your hands.

Nick Middleton
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Nick Middleton »

I've come to like using micro-planes. They are like shure-forms, but they have much-finer cutters. I have no problem using them on curly-maple. I switch to spokeshaves, and then scrapers after finish the roughing with the micro-planes.

John Sonksen
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by John Sonksen »

Nick Middleton wrote:I've come to like using micro-planes. They are like shure-forms, but they have much-finer cutters. I have no problem using them on curly-maple. I switch to spokeshaves, and then scrapers after finish the roughing with the micro-planes.
I was spying these at the wood shop the other day, I bet they do a great job. I've only ever used them for Parmesan cheese lol, gotta love a dual purpose tool!

Terry Mashek
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Terry Mashek »

I love microplanes as well, but they seem to wear out rather quickly. I've got a round one that is still going strong after a lot of years, but all my flat blades went dull inside a guitar or two and just slide across the wood rather than shaving it.

So up to this point I've mostly used a Surform. It leaves deep scratches so I have to sand a lot, but it gets the job done.

My wife just bought me a dragon rasp for my birthday. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing how that compares.

Mark Wybierala
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Mark Wybierala »

I guess that I'm in a minority. I use a belt sander exclusively for shaping my necks. Its one of those $99 to $120 4X36 belt sanders that you see in Lowes or Home Depot and I believe that I'm on my fourth one. A 40 or 50 grit belt yields me a fairly well shaped neck in about 20 minutes and I swap the belt over to 150 to clean it up and refine the heel and headstock transitions. This is just the way that I learned how to do it and I fully understand that this is not the preferred process for most people -- it just works really well for me. I have a strategic process and a manner of using the top roller and executing uniform and controlled passes along the length of the neck. I like to do three or four necks in a session and I get into a zen-like place doing it.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Carving Necks

Post by Mark Swanson »

Terry, sanding out the big scratches is the long way around. Use a file to knock the scratches down a bit and then finish up with a scraper. The scraper will take away those scratches a lot faster than sanding them and it's quite fun.
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