Beginnings of life - the neck blank glue up
The blank is cleaned up and and initial machining completed
The headstock angle is cut and planed true.
Two fingerboards have been cut and I have selected the prettiest one for this neck.
Slot cutting template is positioned ready to machine the truss rod slot.
The truss rod is in the slot with fillets of mahogany and maple glued in to isolate it from the fingerboard glue up. Dont want wood glue dripping down into the truss rod threads.

Preliminary work is now complete and the top surface is machined flat ready to accept the fingerboard. CAD cutting files have been sent off and the templates should be here in a few days.

Meanwhile the fret markers can be done and mahogany selected for the body blank. Further work is required to finalise the body drawings so the final set of templates can be ordered. It has been decided the fingerboard will be the full two octaves.
Chosen a piece of premium light mahogany that has been drying now for 10 years in the workshop and a few years before I bought it. Cut here in two.
Machined both up nice and square with a good edge to glue and went ahead and glued them together. Meanwhile I have completed the drafting and a full set of templates plus the head stock plate will be hitting the workshop later this week and the fun can really get started.
First shot at surf green which to me was a complete failure. I bought a tin of Surf Green by a reputable fender colour outfit and to me it is a decent faded Seafoam green but way to blue for Surf Green. Bloody pricey as well. Went on nice as but if the colour's not right it it's not a goer. All's not lost as this tele will be nicely reliced and sold off as Seafoam. The chip sitting in the control rout is what I'm after and I am pretty sure my mate down at Millsoms Auto paints will be able to brew me up a pretty good likeness to that chip.
blank join
A shot of the join in the two boards. I cant pick where it is.
the template set
At last the template set arrives including the ebony head stock plate. As usual my cutter has done a superb job. Small problem with the two body templates which won't slow me down. They are already being recut and should be in early next week. Now that I have these work can begin on cutting and shaping the neck immediately.
Template is fixed to the neck
Bandsawn roughly to the line
A little while later it is all done and dusted
Made this jig from a few bits of left over walnut to take the triton router which is way more accurate than the old machine I used to use. Unfortunately the jig for the old router doesnt work for the triton hence the new jig. I use it for the job of machining the back of the headstock and the neck heel. The neck is clamped to the jig and both surfaces are in turn machined flat and to correct depth.
cut the body shap out on the bandsaw
Attach the template
Buzz off the rough edges on the table router
Body meets neck for the first time :)
Back to the neck and it's time to finalise cutting the haedstock. The template is carefully lined uo and attached. Not shown here but the assembly is attached to a block using double sided carpet tape. This raises the back of the headstock up so the neck clears the table. The I can go to various machines to prep before routing.
First is the band saw followed by the spindle sander to carefully rough out the shape so that just a little bite is left for the router.
A few minutes later and the router has trimmed it perfectly to shape.

The tuner holes are punched through and at this point the head stock is almost complete. The face needs glueing down and an inset cut into the back for the tuner plates. I see so many broken headstocks in the workshop for repair here I always do my best to engineer the weak point at the truss rod adjuster slot is as strong as possible. This hopefully avoids any of mine suffering decapitation.

The neck headstock angle of 11deg is shallower than the big G and I have two veneer plates on the rear plus the ebony plate on top. These plates make it very tough at its weakest point the truss rod adjuster slot. I also use a volute to strengthen things up even more. Not suggesting it cant break but it will need a much stronger whack than any gibson or epiphone before it will fail.

I've seen a headstock break from the case falling from standing on its edge to flat on the floor. The way Gibson designed it is about as weak as it can be and I guess they reckon to sell more guitars that way.

The headstock is a little thicker than the tuner shanks and a shallow inset will be cut for the tuner plates. This will allow the the headtsock to retain its thickness and its inherent strength. The three on a plate tuners were designed originally for guitars and lap steels with little or no neck angle [Snakeheads]. This type of headstock seen on fender La Cabronitas are inherently much stronger than an angled headstock design without any stiffening laminations.
Top plate glued to headstock. I thinned this out quite a bit as 3mm was way too thick. Down pretty close to correct thckness for the tuners.
Cleaning up the rough edges on the newly installed fret markers.
Polished up to around 1200 grit it's ready to go on the neck.

The glue up and the build phase of this neck is almost complete. Next job is to taper the fingerboard and add the side markers. Then comes installing the frets and it is ready to be installed into the body.

A few calculations and measurements need to done to obtain the correct angle of the mortise in the body and once thats done I can cut it and glue the neck in place.

This blog acts both as a log for the owner of the guitar but also a record of methods of construction which I refer to. There are blokes out on the internet looking for these types of resources and mine are freely available to any one.

The workflow and methods are constantly being refined whith each build as new and easier [hopefully] methods are added into practice. Sometimes ideas don't work but they often do. Here I'll post up the current fingerboard glue up routine which is a crtical process and one I have in the past experiemced a problem or two with. This time new procedures were successfully used and I'll note them here.

ensure neck top glue area freshly sanded and level
lightly sand glue surface fingerboard
drill pin holes 3 locations 1st 9th and 3rd back from end [use a 1" brad as a drill and pin]
line up center lines
clamp fingerboard in positionwith using long caul in center
tap steel pins well in either end 1st and 3rd back from fingerboard end
clamp both ends short cauls and remove long caul
tap in center pin [9th]
Remove cauls
remove finger board with pins still in
ensure pins are into neck far enough
do a test test fit ensure you can locate holes and everything lines up center
apply glue
fit fingerboard on and tap all pins home
cut off center pin flush and drive just below fingerboard surface
long caul clamped down with 3 clamps
pull both pins either end [I did it this way so only one pin to deal with afterwards
if your chicken cut and tap in both end pins just below surface
clamp down end cauls clean up ends squeeze out
Check for center - easier to pull it off now than after the glue goes off
add extra clamps final clean up

cleaning up fingerboard edge
cleaning up fingerboard edge view two
After clamps come off the edge is rough cut on the bandsaw and trued up to the edge of the neck with the block plane. This gives me the live edge of the fingerboard which will be slighly rolled to take off the sharp edge.
final fingerboard leveling
final fingerboard leveling view two
Leveling and getting the fingerboard perfect here is king. The next chance will be quite a few years down the track when the worn out frets are pulled out and replaced.
neck is now ready for installation of frets
Everything is now ready for the frets to installed.
Installing frets #43
The last fret is pressed home
Frets ready for detailing #43
Now for the task of trimming them all back with a pair of cutters. The rough ends are milled level to side of the fingerboard then bevelled at 25deg. They wont be touched again until after the neck is carved. I am thinking that I may diverge from my usual pactice on set necks to carve after the neck is glued into the body and do the carve first. The level and crown job will get done prior to shooting the finish.

The body is already cut and needs a little work before glue up. It doesnt take much time to cut the various holes into the body and round over the edges. The main job from here is to cut the the all important neck mortise. It will be cut according to initial calculations at 1 deg below level as the Resomax bridge has a very low profile. A set neck wrapover or tune o matic type guitar can run as steep as 3 deg.
New fret for #43 tidied up ready for level and crown

Frets trimmed, filed flush and bevelled. Edges of the finger board have been lightly rolled. I am thinking ill do the level, crown, polish and detail after the carve and before its glued into the body. Hate having to mess with frets after the finish is done. Last build everything was done including setup and nut etc before I applied finish. Once the finishing was done I just clicked everything together and after a few tweaks it was ready to roar.

I've decided to carve before glueing in thiis time and its just a matter of building a long overdue carving jig which will take an hour or two and that will make things go a lot easier than carving it in the body or for that matter clamped to the bench with frets in like I usually do with bolt on style necks.

Each build the workflow goes a little differently and it is a constant search for the easiest method which I find is usually the most successfull method.

Lining things up #42
Lining things up with the laser to locate the exact heel position on the neck.
The ne neck carving jig with the danny neck
The new carving jig which looks a bit "dad's shed" but works very well. It gets clamped to the bench and can be moved around easily to work on either side or with it on edge which is a distinct advantage. It feels very solid and a way better solution than clamping the neck itself to the bech.
Quartering the neck on #42
Inside this block is a neck and using various cunning methods I'll locate it. The process begins with quartering [dividing] the facets. Lines are drawn down the center, halfway between the top edges and the center line and again hafway between the bottom edge of the fingerboard and the top edge. Mechanical energy is applied with spokeshave, rasp and sandpaper to take out the sections. The the resulting 5 segments are divided in half once more and I'll have the profile mapped. It is just a matter of rounding the edges of the facets, trueing up the profile and getting correct thickness until all the wood that isn't the neck is removed.
neck carving
neck carve 2

Pretty much time to pull this out of the jig and move on. I'll go over it with finer paper and refine the curves a little more but at this point the main job is done and its time to move on.

The build is almost done and it wont be very long and I'll have that neck glued in and doing a dry run with set up before I get into prepping for the finishing phase of the job.

neck finished 1
neck finished 2
neck finished 3

Out of the jig and a couple of hours refining things and it is pretty much ready for the next phase. It is finished at this point although there will be the odd lump and bump spotted over the next week which will be fine tuned as I go.

The biggest part of the job is in the neck and it soaks up at least 80% of a solid body build I reckon. Had a mishap with the truss rod on this job and the fingerboard had to come off which lost me some time. Luckily I was able to obtain one of Mark Blanchards excellent truss rods locally in a big hurry to replace the broken one. First time I've used one of his and it will not be the last. A most excellent piece of work.

tuner rebate

Finally the solution to a problem that has been bugging me from the start of the neck build. The chosen tuners have short shafts and designed for a different style of headstock. Tried some Grover keystones which had a longer shaft but they looked crap. I devised the idea of a tight 2mm rebate that drops the tuner plate just enough to give me the the right height on the face and puts the plate flush with the back of the headstock. Took a deal of fiddling getting the cutting file right and a lot longer than the actual job itself.

Looks neat.

tuner rebate 2
That is definitely the end of the neck build and this page. go to page 2