Fit a neck with Terry

Discussion in 'Builder's & Retailer's Forum' started by Terry McInturff, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Hello all,

    Thursday is the day when I try to have the necks ready to fit into the body for glue-up. Like everybody in this business, I have my own little ways of going about things. Here is how I get a neck ready to glue onto one of my guitars.

    Before gluing the neck onto the body, the neck is final carved, fretted, and sanded to a "finish ready" state.

    The next step is to check one last time that the tenon is perfectly square in all directions:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next, the rounded corners at the end of the mortise are squared off with one of my favorite early 1900's Buck Bros chisels, like so:

    [​IMG]

    These are the tools that I'll use to gently "open-up" the mortise in order to generate a great fit:

    [​IMG]

    Next, I will insert the neck into the mortise to get an idea as to how much widening the mortise will require. Since all of the routes and machining are dead-on centered with the centerline of the body, I'll have to be very careful to preserve this as I work.
    At this point, the neck will not yet fit:

    [​IMG]

    Here I am using the sanding paddle to remove equal amounts from both walls of the mortise; I am careful to not only hold this tool correctly while working (not exactly as shown, I had to snap the pic while holding the tool in place!)...but to remove the same amount of material from both walls of the mortise, so as to ensure that my line-up with the centerline does not stray; I will count my strokes as I go.

    [​IMG]

    As I work, I check with a square to be certain that the walls are square with the floor of the mortise:

    [​IMG]

    Slowly but surely, the neck begins to fit into the mortise. It is important that there are no glue-filled gaps; the correct fit takes practice.
    If too tight, it may "seize" during the glue-up and not seat correctly;
    if too loose, a big loss of vibrational transfer occurs!

    The correct fit allows the guitar to be lifted by the neck and jiggled around with no clamps or glue holding the two parts together:

    [​IMG]

    Once I like the fit, it is time to check the neck angle. I use a slotted clamp block that allows a straight-edge to slip under it:

    [​IMG]

    Neck neck is clamped in place with the slotted block; the straight-edge is slipped underneath it, dead center along the middle of the fretboard; the height of the straightedge above the bridge position is checked; this one is correct. If it werent, the angle on the bottom of the tenon would be adjusted by hand:

    [​IMG]

    Once the angle has been checked, it is time to sand the top on either side of the fretboard, so that the top meets the neck/fretboard glue joint:

    [​IMG]

    Once that has been accomplished, a "dry fit" with the clamps and padded blocks is in order:

    [​IMG]

    The neck is now ready to be glued onto the body...and that is the moment that it becomes a real guitar! :)
     
  2. imissmj

    imissmj Member

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    Fascinating. thanks for sharing!
     
  3. Shane S

    Shane S Member

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    Thank you for sharing Terry. That is very interesting information.
     
  4. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Awesome and interesting stuff for us layman.
     
  5. drezdin

    drezdin Member

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    Damn!
    That is skill right there.

    Amazing work Mr T
     
  6. mojocaster.com

    mojocaster.com Member

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    Great work as always. No wonder your guitars are such superb pieces of art!
     
  7. IIIBOOMERIII

    IIIBOOMERIII Member

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    Great idea having a clamp block with slots cut out so there is no
    pressure on the frets. Is that cork on the face of the block?

    Thank you for such an informative post.
     
  8. DWB1960

    DWB1960 Senior Member

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    Great insight! Thanks.
     
  9. dwes

    dwes Member

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    Fun read. Great pics. Very kind to share with TGP!
    Dave
     
  10. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for sharing, Terry!

    Awesome craftmanship!
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    I have absolutely nothing to add to that. Everything Terry mentioned is what I would have said. :agree
     
  12. martyncrew

    martyncrew Gold Supporting Member

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    Amazing craftsmanship and marketing!
     
  13. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Awesome bit of craftsmanship and tutorial there Terry thanks!
     
  14. Johnny Raz

    Johnny Raz Member

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    I love my McInturff guitar!

    Thanks Terry for sharing your love for your craft (and your super secret method for gluing necks!)
     
  15. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    Very Cool! Thanks for putting that up for those of us who are fascinated with guitar building but have no idea how you all do it!
     
  16. Neil Morgan

    Neil Morgan Member

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    I use a similar method except I've mostly exchanged the use of the sanding block for these;

    http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?cat=542

    I find the crank handled face float perfect for the job and it leaves a better surface for the glue up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
  17. HHB

    HHB Member

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    wow, cool post Terry!
     
  18. Drunkagain

    Drunkagain Member

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    Awesome post. Thanks a million for sharing.
     
  19. DucRyder

    DucRyder Member

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  20. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    Cool as heck. Fun journey!
     

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