Build Diary #4: Building guitar neck, part 1

As I said previously, I didn’t have any wood for the neck of my diy guitar. Finally it arrived so I started working on the neck. The first attempt went surprisingly well.

I ordered two solid blocks of maple. They arrived pretty fast and turned out to be in much better condition than I expected. One block is over a meter long and quite thick so I already made some plans, measured it and marked so I could cut out two solid necks from it. This is for later though – the next build or just in case anything went wrong with this one.

The second block was a little over 70 centimeters long, around 75 milimeters wide and 30 milimeteDIY electric guitar build: carving the neckrs thick. The length and thickness are just perfect so no cutting here necessary and one of the surfaces is perfectly even (another surprise) so I don’t even need to plane it (this side will be the fretboard side).

So, I took some measurements from one of my guitars and put it on the wood. Double checked, triple checked, put a truss rod, a nut (Stratocaster style) and tunning pegs on it to see if they all align well and started cutting.

Maple is a dense wood so it may be a bit troublesome to work with but I like it personally. The trick here is that if you are using a jigsaw (instead of a bandsaw or a router), like I did, you need to use a medium-to-high density cutting edge and keep the tool on a relatively slow speed. My jigsaw has also the “orbital movement” option which is really great for some use but not in this case. It’s better to keep it switched off then.

Following these rules made cutting really easy. A laser helps to keep cuts “in line” but it’s not really necessary. If you have a good eye, a firm hand and have used a jigsaw before, you can do without it.

You can see the end result on the right. It surely doesn’t look like the neck yet but that’s fine. It still needs some work and the headstock has to be cut out as well.

Next step is to work a bit with a raps file to achieve following goals:

  • make sure that both sides/edges (left and rigth) of the neck are perfectly straight, even and symmetric
  • plane the headstock part a bit to make the surface “angled” at roughly 3 degrees
  • cut out the neck shape

After that I’ll be routing a channel for the truss rod and then proceed with the fretboard.

fotos: own work/all rights reserved