The Neck

It all starts with a shallow cut with a band saw across the neck blank to create the head. Typically this is a 10 degree cut, but 8-12 degrees is customary.

The headpiece is then glued on backwards to make the angled head.

The upper surface of the neck (where the fretboard will later be glued on) is then milled flat at the appropriate thickness.

This needs to be a precise operation as the neck thickness is tapered.

The Head

To make the head the next step is to glue to the top side of the head 2 or 3 pieces of thin black and white veneer and a thicker piece of hardwood to stiffen the head and give it an appearance to match the other wood choices of the the guitar.

The next step is to drill the holes for the tuning machine. For this I use a drilling fixture which - once positioned correctly - allows the holes to be drilled precisely.

Then a head template is glued to the top side with double-stick tape and 4 guide holes are drilled for the two slots.

A pattern router bit is used to shape the inside and the outside of the head to match the template.

Shaping the Neck

Shaping the neck is really a sculpting task. It is very important that the shape is "friendly" to the fingers that will play the guitar and should be what the player expects. This shape has evolved over the history of the instrument and needs to be closely recreated for each new instrument. It would be easy to obtain a correct and consistent shape using computer-controlled machinery, but for a hand-crafted guitar it is the judgment and skill of the builder that counts. Fortunately human eyes and fingertips are quite amazing at determining when the shape is right.

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