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More Necking

This weekend’s work on the Les Paul focused on the neck, and played out in three main accomplishments.

  1. Convert the pencil drawings to computer drawings
  2. Select a board and glue up the blank
  3. Make router templates


Reproducing the pencil drawings in the computer was important because I want to be able to use these layouts again, and if I had just cut out and used my hand drawings, they would have degrade pretty quickly. Besides that, I can easily edit the drawings in the computer to vary things like scale length, headstock design, width at the nut, etc. In this case, the drawings are good to go, and if you look closely, you can see that we have indeed switched the headstock from a traditional Gibson design to more of a PRS look.

Neck Blank

Next, the drawings went onto the mahogany in different spots and at different angles to select the best part of the board from which to extract a good, stable neck. We did this with a follow up instrument in mind, and selected a piece that we could reasonably get two good necks from and cut out a blank. The board isn’t quite thick enough to manage the angle of the headstock, so we also glued up a block at the head end, and then set that aside to dry and settle for a couple days.

Router Templates

We had considered the possibility of just making the neck without the templates, but decided that the likelihood of a follow-up instrument is high enough that it would be worth the time to have the templates for the future. So the drawings went onto the MDF and a nice top and side template resulted. The side one will be pretty versatile, but the top template has the PRS headstock on it, so if we decide to do something different with the next one we’ll either have to lop off it’s head, or make another with a different head. But that’s a decision for another day.

I rough cut the templates on the (new!) band saw, then finished all the straight lines with a known-straight edge and router, and all the curved lines on the spindle sander. The results are very satisfactory.

Which leaves me at the end of the day with just a little mess to clean up. Where’s my shop assistant?

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