72 Custom T Neck
The 72 Custom T is near completion, the body is currently in the spray booth and will be well and truly black by the end of this week! The neck was roughly machined before the body was sprayed and has progressed to near completion. The neck will not be sprayed, it will be treated and impregnated with a polymer finish. This will seal the maple and produce a feel much like an oiled neck but less prone to discolouration.
Final leveling of the fingerboard and the position markers.
You may notice that the fret slots are not seen on the edge of the fingerboard. The board has been bound in birdseye maple, this gives a smoother feel and cleaner look to the edge of the board, no fret tang to be seen. The dots are simple black plastic and are trimmed flush with the board as part of the final sanding/cambering process.
The sweep down from the fingerboard to the headstock face is initially rough cut on the bandsaw. The majority of the carving is done using rasps and files. A guide hole for the truss rod adjustment has already been drilled, I do this with the fingerboard dry jointed and held with clamps. When the carving is near completion I drill the hole to its final size.
Rough carving the headstock face to fingerboard transition.
With the rough carving done I then drill out the truss rod adjustment hole, following the smaller guide hole drilled earlier. Like all my guitars, this Custom T has a bi-directional truss rod and setup is considerably easier if adjustment can be made at the headstock end.
Drilling the truss rod adjustment hole out to its final diameter.
With the hole drilled, the transition is then finished off with a goose neck cabinet scraper and sandpaper. If you haven’t noticed cabinet scrapers are a favourite tool!
Final scraping and shaping of the headstock face to fingerboard transition.
Other than logo inlaying and fretting, the face side of the Custom T neck is now complete. The back has previously been rough carved, along with drilling of the machinehead holes etc and is ready to be scraped to a more appealing profile.
Scraping the profile of the Custom T neck.
With most of my commissioned guitars, if the customer hasn’t provided specific neck shapes, profiles favourite necks to copy etc then, I will normally start with a fairly generous fat C profile. With the scraping taking me most of the way to my initial goal I then switch to coarse, cloth backed abrasive. This is rolled back and forth and up and down the neck at the same time to help even out the profile and give a good ‘finished’ guide.
Rolling abrasive around the neck to smooth the profile.
I use a similar method to blend the profile up to the back of the headstock, initially its carved with a file and then finished with a narrow strip of abrasive in much the same manner as the profile smoothing.
Blending the neck profile to the back of the headstock with a narrow abrasive strip.
The neck is then in a state of limbo where, if possible and agreed, the customer can check how the neck feels to them, remembering that it has been made initially ‘fat’. In this case the customer didn’t want a skinny neck but did request a more slender feel to the upper register.
The neck has now been final carved and will be finished prior to fretting, a method which I have only recently started using but certainly has significant benefits.