Neck Reshape: adding some taper to a 1.0"-1.0" neck.

RockStarNick

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,633
So I've got a really great looking guitar neck for a Tele project. Nice piece of quartersawn maple, beautiful figuring. It's 1.00" all the way. I'd love to reshape make it a nice gradual taper from 0.90" to 1.00"

(Now, before you go saying "sell the neck, don't do it!" I've reshaped a bunch of necks before, with great success.)

In the past, I've started with a sanding block w/ rough grit paper. Taken the center down (checking with a straightedge), and once I got it where I wanted it (measuring with calipers), I used a piece of sandpaper in a "shoe shine" fashion. (See picture below).

Before I go and do this method again, does anyone else have any suggestions on better methods? Spokeshaves perhaps? I've stayed away from rasps, for fear of removing wood too fast.

Or, if my method ain't broke, don't fix it?


 

Shane Sanders

Member
Messages
1,578
A good Auriou rasp, maybe a #14 or #15, will take off less material than you might think and you can work with the grain--just let the tool do the work. This little device is useful, too.

This guy is using a Liogier rasp, which is very similar to the Auriou rasps in terms of quality and their method of manufacture. He's using less fine ones, too, in this video, and you can see how much control is available:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_PDwWtQQM

also:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqTWzGRA-xI
 
Last edited:

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
Might sound crazy, but i've shaved dozens of necks with a sharp pair of scissors. Leaves it very rough but then i sand with gradually finer paper with a block to keep it straight and in the end when smooth you take a damp cloth and wipe it down. That will make the loose grains stand up and the neck will feel furry and you then cut that down with very fine paper like 600 wet and dry. Do that a couple times and it'll be like glass. Perfect if you're just going to oil it. If you'll be spraying it no need to go to that length tho. Anyways, i did a lot of necks with scissors. I think maybe a "draw knife" is the actual tool used for this, but i used what i had. You can take it down 20 times faster than sanding, so it save a lot of time and elbow grease.
 

B. Howard

Member
Messages
1,211
I typically use a spokeshave for the most of it. Files and rasps for the transitions at the head and heel. And then sanding blocks and finally sandpaper wrapped around a 1/4" thick piece of cork.
 

RockStarNick

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,633
I typically use a spokeshave for the most of it. Files and rasps for the transitions at the head and heel. And then sanding blocks and finally sandpaper wrapped around a 1/4" thick piece of cork.
Brian - can you explain the spokeshave method to me?

From what I understand, with a spokeshave, you can set the blade so that there's a "maximum depth" it will cut. Correct? If I wanted to taper a neck, would I just gently increase pressure as I dragged the blade in order to add some taper?
 

B. Howard

Member
Messages
1,211
Yes, you set the blades cut by adjustment on a spoke shave just like a hand plane. But in use you can control the depth of cut slightly by rolling the shave in your hands. To taper a piece you need to work in sections up the piece toward you. Depending on how much taper you need will determine how many sections to divide into.

So for example let's say you need a taper about 3 times the cut, divide the piece in thirds by length. Start at the end away from you and make the first cut form the end to the first third mark. Do this the whole way around creating small facets.Now start at the same end and make a new series of cuts out to the next third division. And then finally repeat over the whole length. You will likely want to take an extra pass over the whole length to smooth out the transitions at the ends of the previous cuts and true the shape. There is a good bit of technique and feel involved so I would recommend practice on scrap before attempting a neck. And with any edged tool, keeping it surgically sharp while working is key to obtaining good results.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,853
How much danger is there of coming too close to the truss rod cavity if removing about an eighth of an inch of wood from the back of a chunky neck?
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
How much danger is there of coming too close to the truss rod cavity if removing about an eighth of an inch of wood from the back of a chunky neck?
Depends on the neck. Some have to rod further from the fingerboard than others and so closer to the back. So it can vary a lot. A really fat neck may not have enough wood between the rod and back to shave it to even a medium thick profile without going thru. I went thru once and too close for comfort once, yet i did NOT shave them as thin as some others which showed no trace of coming close. You can be safe by stopping and checking by pushing on the center with your thumb to feel for give. If you feel any you wanna stop obviously. I figured that out the hard way.
 

B. Howard

Member
Messages
1,211
How much danger is there of coming too close to the truss rod cavity if removing about an eighth of an inch of wood from the back of a chunky neck?

I spend a fair bit of time taking measurements before I even start to shave a neck. If I cannot leave .100" of wood under the rod I will not do it.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,853
I spend a fair bit of time taking measurements before I even start to shave a neck. If I cannot leave .100" of wood under the rod I will not do it.
How do you know where the rod is in relation to the back of the neck?
 

B. Howard

Member
Messages
1,211
I measure from the crown of the fretboard surface to the bottom of the rod at the adjustment access. Sometimes this requires a bit of knowledge about how different truss rods are constructed. In some cases the measurement must be figured from a hex key in the adjustment screw as the rod or nut are not visible like some of the newer Fender stuff. The truss rod and any anti rattle tubing that is on it will be the same diameter as the width of the slot it is in generally speaking. This can than be compared to the overall thickness of the neck including the FB and the difference is how much is there.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,853
I measure from the crown of the fretboard surface to the bottom of the rod at the adjustment access. Sometimes this requires a bit of knowledge about how different truss rods are constructed. In some cases the measurement must be figured from a hex key in the adjustment screw as the rod or nut are not visible like some of the newer Fender stuff. The truss rod and any anti rattle tubing that is on it will be the same diameter as the width of the slot it is in generally speaking. This can than be compared to the overall thickness of the neck including the FB and the difference is how much is there.
Thanks for the detailed info Brian!
Don't many truss rods dip toward the back of the neck in their middle section? How do you figure for that?
Like in this article: http://drkevguitar.com/2014/08/19/truth-about-truss-rods-1/
 

B. Howard

Member
Messages
1,211
Thanks for the detailed info Brian!
Don't many truss rods dip toward the back of the neck in their middle section? How do you figure for that?
Like in this article: http://drkevguitar.com/2014/08/19/truth-about-truss-rods-1/

Some do, most don't. That diagram is typical of a Fender one way rod. In this article by Frank Ford he shows a cutaway of a Gibson rod which is straight.
http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/TrussRods/TrussRodAdj/tradj.html
All two way rods are also straight. So one needs a bit of knowledge of different types of rods and different manufacturers processes.
 

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
You want some wood gone? Done!

Actually, the Shinto brings a startling amount of wood-removal power and yet is totally controllable. When building a neck I still start with a drawknife...



...but as soon as all the corners are knocked off I go to the Shinto. For reshaping a neck that is already round I'd have no hesitation going straight to it.

I use lesser rasps/files as I get closer, not to mention scrapers. I own a spokeshave, but it almost never gets used as it seems to lack a certain...gusto, I guess. The drawknife/Shinto combination is very satisfying.

Good luck,

Rob
 






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