Les Paul Build – Part 9 – Neck and Fretboard

At this point there are several things going on at the same time, so rather than try to make every post follow the exact chronological order of the build, I’ve grouped some related items together.  In this installment, we’re looking at work on the neck and fretboard.

We started with trimming the neck to finished width, and trimming the final shape of the headstock using our MDF templates.  This was our first time using the new router setup with the large pattern bit, set up like a shaper in one of the work benches.  I have to say, this big, spinning blade that sticks up through the workbench is now the scariest thing in my shop.  The went really smoothly, with no mishaps, and we ended up with a great looking neck and PRS-style headstock.  We still need to surface the back of the headstock to get it to the right thickness, and of course we’ll shape the neck profile on the back after we have the fretboard installed.

    

With the neck width set, we moved on to the fretboard.  First, we cut it to rough width, and planed the edges down to final, smooth width.  We measured the width to take into account the fretboard binding we would be adding later.  Using the slotting and sanding jig, we first measured and cut shallow fret slots, then using the radiused sanding block, we sanded a 12″ radius into the fretboard.

            

We then recut the fret slots to final depth across the radius, and put a slight chamfer on the slots for greater ease in fretting.

    

In the next post, we’ll look at the binding and inlay/dot installation.

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