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Routing neck pocket before building neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Techmonkey, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Is this suicide? My Design & Technology (is that 'shop' over in the USA?) teacher is insisting that I get the body all done before the summer so that I can take it home with some files to get the contours all cut out by hand over the summer break, ready to start on the neck after summer.

    I think I'm gonna keep the heel at the same depth the Wenge is at already, so I know about how deep I should cut the pocket. It's just a case of cutting the taper... :meh: I marked out my template alright, but I'm just wondering if that'll be accurate enough. I mean, what if something happens and the neck is too small for the pocket? Is this a risk that I should just grit my teeth and live with??

    Sorry for the newbie questions!
  2. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I've done it, and it works. For me, it was very important to get it done first, and done right, because if it ended up being bigger than my design template (hence, bigger than the neck heel), I'd be out of luck if the neck were already done.

    Usually, I work on both the body and the neck at the same time. It's easier for me to route out the pocket before cutting out the body shape (this ensures that there is ample material under the router to support it). Later on, after cutting out the neck, shaping, etc., I go back and shape the heel, checking it's fit periodically. It takes a while, but I'm not selling basses, so I'm not pressed for time.
  3. A neck pocket is basically a stopped rabbit joint. You can cut the mortise first or the tenon. For some, cutting the mortise first works better, for others the tenon. Neither is best as long as you know what precautions to take to prevent the obvious issues. The Koch book has a good example of cutting the neck pocket after the neck.

    If you're worried about cutting the mortise to proud, since you haven't made the neck yet, then you can always cut clear inside the line and clean it up when you need to.

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