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Neck too tight for pocket?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by T-Mac, Apr 30, 2009.


  1. T-Mac

    T-Mac

    Feb 2, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hi folks,

    Well, my long awaited project body showed up today. Unfortunately, the neck I had intended to use does not fit (at least not easily).

    The battery in my calipers died (what is is w/me today?), so exact measurements will have to wait until tomorrow. However, the neck appear to be less than 1/16" bigger than the pocket.

    Is this a big deal? Are there any tricks for mating necks onto bodies? Should I refrigerate (contraction) the neck, while warming (expansion) the body?

    Thanks for help you can provide!

    Mac
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I wouldn't do a heat shrink fit. Once the temperatures equalize, the built-in stress that you were trying to avoid by not "just pushing it in" will be there in full force.

    I've seen two Warwicks with bodies cracked at the neck pocket, and you can probably assume that the had a proper fit when manufactured, but developed stresses due to uneven response to humidity changes later on. So, to start out with a high level of stress due to mechanical mismatch in dimension is probably a pretty bad idea.
     
  3. Underworld

    Underworld

    Apr 25, 2009
    Santa Cruz
    1/16" is too much of a press fit and will cause problems. A couple thousandths interference fit would be best. It is preferable that the neck isn't so loose that it just falls into the pocket. On the other hand, it should only be tight enough that light pressure is enough to slide it into place.
     
  4. You need to measure the neck and the body. Find out which one is a non standard size. Modify the one that is not correct.
     
  5. T-Mac

    T-Mac

    Feb 2, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Ok...the calipers are back in business.

    The neck measures 2.508" and the neck pocket measures 2.477". That is a difference of 0.031 (which is almost exactly 1/32) of an inch.

    Am I screwed? Can I sand down the pocket and/or neck?

    Thanks for the info!

    Mac.
     
  6. You could, but if you ever want to try another neck, your back where you started. I would do the pocket. I like a very tight fit, I think it transfers tone better but not so tight as to crack the thin areas of the sides of the pocket. Do you have a Dremel tool with a drum sander? It would be better control and faster than sandpaper.
     
  7. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA
    Be very wary of orbital or hand-sanding the neck to fit the pocket. I tried that once and ended up throwing the neck away because when sanding it was so easy to round over the edges and so on.

    However, if you have access to a quality, large edge sander, then that would work well.

    Lacking an edge sander, if you have a quality hand plane that is set up properly, that would be my recommendation. Plane whichever side of the neck you feel works best (I tend to make such adjustments on the treble side.
     
  8. and I would also advise against using dremels to sand the neck, it is too small and unless you have a super steady arm, you will create dips in the wood during sanding. I use a flat block with 300-400 grit paper glued to it, works great.
     
  9. T-Mac

    T-Mac

    Feb 2, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Thanks everyone! The input is very helpful!
     

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