If I take one thing from this build it is to learn about the finer details of ‘sequencing’. Not the musical, beat-box variety, but the project management variety. While I put great thought into how I would proceed with this project, researched endlessly on the web regarding the order of cuts and elements in the job, I managed to make a grave error that nearly derailed the whole thing. On the plus side, the ebony for the fret board is looking gorgeous.
As you can see from the pictures at the bottom, I have made good progress on the neck, with the fret board glued in place and the initial fret markings etched. I did, have to hire a really large circular saw however, because I had made the mistake of laminating the neck pieces together at full width, without considering the difficulty in rip cutting hardwood. I was so pleased with myself that I had made a good job of routing the channel for the truss rod, (see left), and then cutting a really elegant, though I say so myself, access hole on the guitar nut for neck adjustment, (see Below),
I completely neglected to think of how I would cut the neck to the right thickness after gluing on the fret board. That block of laminated wood was 8 cm thick, (3 1/2 inches). Most standard circular saws have a max cut of 6cm. I don’t own a band saw, which would do the job, and which is what all the builders I had seen using this technique, do own. I had hoped to keep to my completely hand built, no machines rule, but I just didn’t think how hard it would be to rip cut that length of hardwood. Also, regarding the truss rod channel, I went for a deeper channel, with a wood cover. You can just cut to a depth that leaves the truss rod flush with the top of the channel, and effectively braced against the underside of the fret board, or you can cover over the truss rod with a thin piece of wood to stop glue going into the channel around the truss rod and give it a more snug housing; I went for the latter. It was fun challenging myself to plane a piece of wood 6mm wide and 2mm thick….which I succeeded at. (see below)
For the next build I will cut the separate lamination pieces to the rough shape of the neck, before I stick them together. Yes, I have made a template for this guitar design now.
The rest of the neck build, since overcoming the rip cutting hurdle, has gone really well. The fret board is looking great and is now cut to shape. While I now wait for the fretting material to arrive, the neck work will have to stop. I want to leave the back square, so that I can do the fret work with a flat base to rest on the work bench. Once the frets are on I can then start contouring the back of the neck. For now, focus will return to the body. I will be hand cutting the neck pocket and the pick up hole and planning the wiring of the electronics……..where will I put the the control knobs.? mmmhhh?