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 Post subject: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:04 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:06 am
Posts: 93
First name: Mark
Last Name: Gammell
State: NE
Country: USA
So, I'm looking to do a couple guitars with a Firebird style neck thru where the body is stair-stepped and the center section is wide enough to hold the metal bits. This (I assume) means that the center part needs to start life 4" wide. I would sure like to keep the board count minimal. I'm not a big fan of the multi-laminate look. Plus, I need enough depth to do a 4 degree neck angle (with a scarf joint).

In a perfect world, I would like 2 mahogany boards 2 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 35". Looking at neck blanks (online), I'm not finding this. I'm new to this and I'm hoping there's something I'm missing. Any advice on where to turn to find this kind of lumber?

Thanks

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"Real guitars are for old people, Mr. Marsh."

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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:24 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1439
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Have you looked at Melvyn Hiscock's book? His third guitar is a neck thru bass, he does laminate the center piece, which opens up lots more options and is going to be structurally superior. For the bass neck he calls out three pieces of 2-1/2 x 3/4 maple 42 inches long. He uses a sawn head with wings - I am a great fan of scarf joined heads.

If you are looking online at the lutherie supply houses (LMII etc) remember that they are cutting wood to sizes that will be useful for most builders without a lot of waste. Any wood supplier can cut things to your specifications - I was in a cabinet shop the other day and the owner pointed to a mahogany board probably 4 x 12 and 5 or 6 feet long. Just have them rip what you need.

Last thought, LMII's standard neck stock is 3 x 7/8 by 35. They tend to be a little bit wider - 3-1/4 or 3-1/2. You could use two boards - one for the neck itself and cut the second one to make pieces for the head and to make the body part thicker. You could also add wings if you need 4 inches width - most of the time my glue joints on mahogany necks are pretty hard to see.


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:06 am
Posts: 93
First name: Mark
Last Name: Gammell
State: NE
Country: USA
I've got Hiscock's book. I got a whole lot out of it. I'll probably go the laminate route. You make a good point about joining mahogany. And I'm definitely doing a scarf joint. In fact, that's the reason I can get away with a 35" blank.

Thanks for your input. It's a big help.

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"Real guitars are for old people, Mr. Marsh."

Eric Cartman


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:03 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:06 am
Posts: 93
First name: Mark
Last Name: Gammell
State: NE
Country: USA
Freeman, you mention lumber from a cabinet maker. I found a nice mahogany board at a Woodcraft store here in town. Would something like that be suitable? What I'm saying is that if I buy a blank from say, a sponsor on this forum, I feel reasonably sure it will have been dried and selected (and cut, of course) to be good wood for building a guitar. If I get it from a hardwood supplier that's used to selling wood for furniture and other construction, will the "standards" be the same?

Also, besides appearance, what are the advantages of quarter-sawn vs. flat-sawn? The board I'm looking at is flat-sawn and it's 2" thick. I can laminate 2 (or more likely 3) pieces and make quarter-sawn for the neck/middle section, but the body wings will be flat-sawn. It seems to me that wouldn't be a problem, but I'd really welcome your opinion.

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"Real guitars are for old people, Mr. Marsh."

Eric Cartman


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:08 pm 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:57 pm
Posts: 581
Location: Austin, Texas
I see no good reason to do a scarf joint if you're laminating the neck. I can't think of any necks that are laminated that also are scarfed, certainly not those with a very decorative center strip layup. Look at it this way: those laminations are of course glued together and said glue is going to add a lot of strength at the transition to the headstock.

Laminating also allows for the purchase of flat sawn wood which when glued up becomes vertical grained for all intensive purposes


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:37 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1439
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Bill Braske wrote:
Freeman, you mention lumber from a cabinet maker. I found a nice mahogany board at a Woodcraft store here in town. Would something like that be suitable? What I'm saying is that if I buy a blank from say, a sponsor on this forum, I feel reasonably sure it will have been dried and selected (and cut, of course) to be good wood for building a guitar. If I get it from a hardwood supplier that's used to selling wood for furniture and other construction, will the "standards" be the same?

Also, besides appearance, what are the advantages of quarter-sawn vs. flat-sawn? The board I'm looking at is flat-sawn and it's 2" thick. I can laminate 2 (or more likely 3) pieces and make quarter-sawn for the neck/middle section, but the body wings will be flat-sawn. It seems to me that wouldn't be a problem, but I'd really welcome your opinion.


Bill, I am far from an expert at this - first I have never built a neck thru guitar and I have only done one laminated neck (vertical laminations like Hiscock does). It was an acoustic, I did saw the headstock rather than make it separate. It got a headplate to match the body (koa) and was bound

Image

I think doing a scarf joint with vertical laminations would be a nightmare.

Most of my necks use wood from LMII - like you I trust them, they are convenient and I'm usually ordering lots of other woods stuff so throwing in a couple of 3 x 7/8 x 35 boards just makes sense. I only build a couple of guitars each year, I know I could save a lot of money shopping at my local lumber mill or cabinet shops but I haven't really gotten to that point. One nice thing about someone like LMII is that I get CITES certification with anything that needs it - I bought some coco the other day and it had a little bar code that said "pre CITES".

Almost all of my necks have scarf joined heads and stacked heels. I was thinking that if the 35 inch board is long enough and wide enough all you need to do is stack another one on the bottom to get the thickness you need and make your head from another board. I'm able to get all these pieces out of one 35 inch board and there will be glue lines but they are not very noticeable. The scarfed head is so much stronger and can get even more so if you add headplate and even a backstrap.


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:33 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:06 am
Posts: 93
First name: Mark
Last Name: Gammell
State: NE
Country: USA
I may still do the scarf joint. I'll probably paint this guitar. I'm doing the neck-thru for the construction aspect, and because it will be a Firebird style guitar, except a different shape. I've never been a fan of the "Look at my neck thru construction!" kind of guitars, at least not since my Ibanez MC300 got stolen way back when. That said, Freeman, that's a really cool looking neck. I like the use of curly Maple as an accent, and I've always been a sucker for slotted headstocks.

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"Real guitars are for old people, Mr. Marsh."

Eric Cartman


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:48 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1439
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks Bill, I'll take this as a chance to show off. That particular guitar was a rather showy piece of koa that was completely bound in the curly maple. The laminated neck just seemed to make sense but ordinarily I wouldn't go thru all that effort

Image


Everything I do now has a scarf joined headstock - not only does it save a lot of wood waste I think it is much stronger at that otherwise very weak area - especially if you put your truss rod adjuster in the head (I do on electrics, don't on acoustics). Here are the pieces for a typical acoustic neck all cut from one 35 inch piece.

Image

The head is simply cut off at 16 degrees, thinned with a Safety Planer, flipped over and glued back on. I've even made a little volute on this one - both for the added strength and because I happen to like volutes. Believe it or not it blends right into the neck and you can't tell its a separate piece.

My thought for you would be to just extend the neck and the heel blocks all the way thru your body. If the neck is to be angled you can saw or plane it like Hiscock does. I think this would be the hardest part of a neck thru design - getting the geometry just right. With a set neck you can futz around with it as you are setting the neck, of course with a screw on you can do almost anything


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:34 am 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 1175
Location: Andersonville
State: Tennessee
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Bill Braske wrote:
So, I'm looking to do a couple guitars with a Firebird style neck thru where the body is stair-stepped and the center section is wide enough to hold the metal bits. This (I assume) means that the center part needs to start life 4" wide. I would sure like to keep the board count minimal. I'm not a big fan of the multi-laminate look. Plus, I need enough depth to do a 4 degree neck angle (with a scarf joint).

In a perfect world, I would like 2 mahogany boards 2 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 35". Looking at neck blanks (online), I'm not finding this. I'm new to this and I'm hoping there's something I'm missing. Any advice on where to turn to find this kind of lumber?

Thanks



Forum sponsor Hibdon has the best mahogany I've seen lately, 3"X4" & 4"X4" billets lengths to 36" https://www.hibdonhardwood.com/collecti ... id-grade-1


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 Post subject: Re: Neck thru blanks
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:44 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:06 am
Posts: 93
First name: Mark
Last Name: Gammell
State: NE
Country: USA
I've been talking to Hibdon, and they got me hooked up. I'm getting neck blanks big & long enough that I could make the neck one piece if I wanted to (3"x3"x38") with wings added to complete the 4" center section. I'm wondering if I should rip it into thirds and reverse the middle section for stability. If I do this, is it better to flip the center piece on its axis, or switch it end for end? Or both? Any thoughts?

They also made me a deal on some 2-piece body blanks.

This is the second time I've dealt with Hibdon (a sponsor here, as Clinchriver mentioned) and they've been very helpful getting me what I need.

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"Real guitars are for old people, Mr. Marsh."

Eric Cartman


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