I’ve been working more on my guitar build. Now I’m focusing on the neck. Recently I finished up shaping the neck, slotting the fretboard and gluing it to the neck. Here’s the build video on the process.
I started by working on the fretboard. I milled a piece of walnut to 1/4″ thick and cut it to an oversized rectangle. From there I used the measurements provided on my plans to mark out where the slots needed to be cut for each fret. I used an adjustable square and a clamp as a guide and cut the slots with my flush cut saw as the kerf was just the right size for the job.
With all the slots cut I could then mark out and drill the holes for the maple fret markers that I would inlay into the neck. With all of that finished up I trimmed the fretboard to its rough shape at the bandsaw and used a pattern routing bit on my router table to get it down to its final size.
To make the maple inlays I made a 1/4″ dowel from a strip of maple. To make the dowel I drilled a 1/4″ hole in an old table saw blade and drove the strip through the hole. The result was a perfectly sized dowel. I then cut the dowel into small sections the glued them into the fretboard. A little flush cutting and sanding later they were flush with the fretboard.
With the inlays in the fretboard I could next glue it to the neck. This is a pretty precise glue up because everything has to be in line. So I lined up the center line of the fretboard with the center lines of the headstock and the body of the guitar and clamped it down. When the glue dried I again used a pattern routing bit to flush the neck up with the fretboard as the neck was still a little oversized. Next I put a 12″ radius on the fretboard. To do this I used a radius block that I purchased from Stewart McDonald. Since this is the last time I’ll be able to work on the fretboard prior to installing the frets I sanded it up to 800 grit. With the fretboard on I had to dry fit the neck to the body just to see what it was starting to look like.
Next up it was time to shape the neck. I started this process with a spokeshave to make the neck generally round. Then I used a rasp to refine the shape, then a file. Finally I could start sanding the neck. I began with 120 grit and went up to 220 grit for now. Since I still have some work to do on the neck there’s no point in sanding any further than 220 grit. I do still have to install all the frets, drill holes for the tuners and to the inlay on the headstock. But for now, it’s starting to look like the guitar!