OK, here’s a further instalment.
As I’m trying to keep the instrument as light as possible I’ve decided to make the neck from mahogany with a couple of walnut laminations and carbon fibre stiffening bars. I bought two mahogany billets 4” x 4” x 39” a few years ago and one of them was a lot lighter in weight (and colour) than the other, so I’m using some of the lighter one. The walnut was reclaimed and must be about 70 to 80 years old. Here’s the neck blank all sliced up and stuck together again.
I do a sort of scarf joint but not in the usual way. Instead of cutting the piece off for the head and reversing it, I cut it off and then glue it on again at the back, like this.
1. Bandsaw the piece off.
2. Move it round to the back.
3. glue it back on. The holes, by the way, are for brass dowel rods to keep it aligned when gluing and are outside the finished headstock area.
Here it is, glued. It’s the equivalent of a neck and headstock cut out of one piece of wood, although probably stronger because of the glued joint, but without wasting a lot of precious wood. A lot of people don’t like one piece neck/heads, especially when the truss-rod adjustment is at the head, and quote the number of Gibsons that have been broken. Should you build an instrument to withstand being dropped on its head? (They didn’t break on their own).
Anyway, this one will have a volute, which should strengthen it up, and the carbon fibre reinforcement bars in the neck will run up through the neck/head junction so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
I then trimmed the surplus off the front of the headstock the old-fashioned way. I know that not everyone has hand-tool skills but, honestly, with a little practice and a well-sharpened blade it’s not that difficult, and it’s a hell of a lot quicker than setting up router jigs, etc.
There’s something really satisfying about producing shavings with hand tools.
All cleaned up.