Evo Pro Build Diary – Part 10
After a short break from workshop life it’s time to get back to it. In the last episode of the Evo build diary I concentrated my efforts on the neck. In this article I’ll tackle the jobs that will see the neck completed.
The first job is to carve the volute. This is the blend between the headstock and the neck shaft. I use a rasp, files and coarse cloth backed sandpaper to create the blend. Before I start the carving the headstock is trimmed to thickness on the bandsaw, the extra thickness being removed from the back face.
Using a rasp to remove the bulk of unwanted material.
Many guitar makers blend this area in a straightforward fashion. I like to use a volute, a term derived from the Latin ‘voluta’ meaning scroll and used to describe the spiral type scroll found on many ancient Greek columns and other historical architecture and furniture. The form I use is very much simplified but in luthiery it is still referred to as a volute. I choose to use it as I like the aesthetics but it also increases the strength and stiffness at the weakest point of the neck.
Final shaping and blending of the volute with coarse cloth backed abrasive.
The side markers are now fitted, in much the same way as the position markers on the front of the fingerboard, just the scale is smaller. The dots are 2mm Mother of Pearl and are inlayed into holes drilled at the relevant positions in the side of the fingerboard. The dots are glued with cyanoacrylate and tapped in with a light weight hammer.
Inlaying and gluing the pearl side markers.
Now I am back in inlaying mode I prepare and inlay the logo for the headstock. In this instance I am using Mother of Pearl for the logo. I used to cut all my inlays by hand but now they are machine cut, I still cut some by hand as it can be very rewarding but ultimately time consuming! As my logo consists of unconnected letters I can cut the letters economically from a small piece of material by fitting letters in and around each other.
Using a 0.5mm cutter to cut out the Mother of Pearl headstock logo.
Once the pearl has been cut I need to route the pockets in the headstock face for the lettering to be inlayed into. This is done with the same 0.5mm cutter I used to cut the pearl.
Routing the pockets for the pearl logo lettering.
After a little clean up the logo can be inlayed into the headstock. Again I use cyanoacrylate to fix the pearl, more often than not to my fingers!
Inlaying and gluing the headstock logo.
Once the inlay is installed, glued and dried, I sand it flush to the headstock and finish off with a scraper. Any gaps that may need attention are corrected now.
Finishing off the logo with a cabinet scraper.
The holes for the machineheads are next, this guitar will have Sperzel locking tuners which (like most) require a 10mm hole. The holes are marked out using a pair of dividers and drilled using the pillar drill. I drill the holes slightly oversize to avoid having to clean lacquer out after spraying.
Drilling the machinehead holes, the support block prevents tear out.
There is now really only one job left to do, and that is to prepare the headstock to take the nut. I fit guitar nuts after I have sprayed the neck, I find it neater and quicker. Lacquer doesn’t adhere well (if at all) to graphite and many other composites (including bone) and if I make a mistake cutting the nut it’s easily replaced without damaging the finish in any way. I prepare the nut blank to width and then scribe along its back face. I then trim the headveneer with a fine tooth saw and sharp chisel, leaving me with a recess to fit the nut into.
Using a fine tooth saw to trim the head veneer for the nut.
The neck is now sanded ready for finishing. In this case the headstock face will be lacquered to match the body and, the rest of the neck will be sealed using a new technique I am developing and then oiled. For an oil type finish I need to sand down to 320 grit as oil can be unforgiving of any scratches and tool marks left behind.
More on that next time….
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