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How to finish a set-neck instrument.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Meddle, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Meddle

    Meddle

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    Hello all

    I've been thinking about building a Steinberger/Hohner style bass from a kit as sold on Ebay.

    The one I've found is set neck in construction! Do you glue the neck in first, then finish, or finish the body and neck then glue the neck in?

    Having sanded and refinished a set-neck bass before (Dearmond Jet Star) I found it really tricky to get an even sanding around the neck-body join.

    If I could finish the body seperately I would be able to work on the 'shoulders' around the neck pocket easier. However as it isn't a bolt-on instrument there is no bolt hole to hang the body off for painting. How then does one finish a body like this? If all surfaces (barring the fingerboard and pickup cavities) are being painted there is nowhere left to suspend this instrument from! No tuner holes as this is a headless instrument.


    If I were to finish the body and neck seperately I would have to find something that would expand on a screw (like vicegrips or similar) that could be used to open up into, and grip the sides of, the neck pocket.
  2. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

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    I feel like I'd finish the whole thing at once personally, but why not use the strap button holes to hang up the body if you want to do it separately?
  3. Meddle

    Meddle

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    I forgot about those. :D
  4. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

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    [​IMG]

    This is how I finished my bass. It's probably not the greatest setup, but it worked fine. I actually put one of the strap buttons about half way in (so I'd have room to finish underneath it), but it'd probably work better with just a screw or hook sticking out of each one.
  5. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

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    Also, the reason I was saying I'd do it all at once is because if you get glue squeeze out when you glue the neck in after it's finished, you might have a hard time cleaning that up without refinishing that area.
  6. Meddle

    Meddle

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    Would it be possible to mask for the glue? I want this bass to have a white body and a natural gloss neck, so I don't want the hassle of masking the fingerboard and neck joint...



    lbridenstine, photos are blocked here in my place of work but I will check it out later. I guess I would either have to use the strap button screw, as you say, or hope I find a brass screw-in hook that doesn't overly widen the screw hole.
  7. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

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    I've never tried masking for glue, maybe someone else can answer that for you.

    I'd think you'd want a hook with a smaller screw than the button screw.
  8. Meddle

    Meddle

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    I checked your photo on my phone just now. I see you rigged it off of a tuning peg hole... which my headless bass wouldn't have. Neat idea though.

    In theory PVA glue (Titebond Original) cleans up with water right?
  9. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

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    When it's still wet, yes.
  10. TundraMan

    TundraMan

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    In my opinion, trying to figure out some method of finishing your pieces separately then gluing them together without any glue line or ridge is far more hassle than the original issue you seem to be attempting to avoid.

    I would mask off your neck, spray the body with color, then unmask the neck and spray clear. Make sure you add extra clear around the mask line, then you can level sand the transition smooth. Really not that big of a deal.
  11. Meddle

    Meddle

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    Ok! ;)

    The other advantage is I can string it up in a glued but non-finished state to see if anything needs work prior to any spraying.
  12. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine

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    Yeah, I think masking is a lot less hassle than trying to glue up already finished pieces and achieve an equal result.
  13. Big B.

    Big B.

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    ;[Here's a pic of the stands I use for finishing neck thru instruments. Also works great for bodies too. Tightening the screws holds the instrument just enough to hold it in place as I move the instrument.

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

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