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Regarding Tops on Neck-Through Instruments (Question)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by PDX Rich, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
    I've got a couple builds on the (hopefully) near horizon, once I finish the cidery build out (which is taking longer than I had hoped). On at least one of the builds, I am tasked with adding a top to a neck-through build as my friend (and customer) does not prefer seeing the neck lams.

    What I am trying to figure out is the most ideal point in the workflow where this should take place.

    for instance, I glue my wings on after fingerboard installation and neck carving. Once the wings are on, I carve the transitions and yadda yadda....

    At this point, it would seem to me a good spot, but I am trying to wrap my head around what kind of routing jig I'd need to take off X amount of material for a flat surface where I can glue the top. I am thinking now that I will need an additional top template that accounts for the end of the fingerboard, much like what a bolt on body template would look like.

    I've been looking at dozens of build videos and threads and have yet to see a solid way to go about this. Obviously, this is a late in the game step, so any advice or technique would be appreciated!

    (yes, this is me being proactively paranoid). ;)

  2. I've done 3 or 4 through necks with tops - latest one is here. I put the top on after connecting the wings, but before putting the fretboard on. I carved the neck after this, but it could be done before. The key is, of course, getting the wings lined up perfectly with the body. I didn't do a good job of documenting this, but I laid it down on the workbench (with the fretboard bump overhanging) when gluing it up. I don't remember exactly, but I probably hit it with a scraper to remove the glue. I have manually flattened out a body before putting a top on in the past using a scraper and/or orbital sander depending on what was needed. I've never had an issue with gaps between the body and top.

    I'm sure there is a better way to do this, and I am interested to see what others say, but that's the way I've done it.
  3. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
    I suppose I would just need to make the neck lams a bit more proud than last time to accommodate the top as well as the 1/8" or so I like to have between the body and the bottom of the fingerboard. I could just be overthinking this since it will be a new addition to my build workflow. In the name of efficiency!
  4. Yes, you need to adjust the height of the fretboard drop to accommodate the top.
  5. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
  6. Reward me with the 8-string build thread when your cider room's done :D
    PDX Rich likes this.
  7. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Mesa, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    Not that I'm an "authority " on the whole subject. ...but...
    This was a post from my Alembic build...since I had the top in question on hand, I knew how much extra I had to route out of the neck blank.
    I did this obviously very early on in the scheme of things involving the neck.

    Then to glue on the wings to flush to the drop, I just used two pcs of MDF wrapped with wax paper clamped across the top to keep it all level.
    They are on the opposite side of the view in this pic. ...sorry.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016

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