Sawing and regluing a headstock: necessary?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, May 14, 2005.

  1. Basschair

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

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I'm wondering the following: I've seen and read that some folks will create a laminate neck with the correct length, and will then saw off near the end with an angle they desire their headstock to be, and will then reglue the sawed-off piece below, creating the headstock. My question is, is this necessary? I've got plenty of wood for my neck to where I can cut out the neck blank and shape the headstock from it without creating the joint.

    One of my books (Waring and Raymond) lists both as options, but doesn't specify whether one is prefferable over the other.

    Thanks in advance for your input!

  2. Tim__x


    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    While I can't tell you which is better, I can give you a search term. That type of joint you describe is called a scarf joint.
  3. If you've got enough wood it's certainly not necessary, but recommended. The reasoning behind this is that, you chose straightgrained wood for your neck, but sawing an angle at the headstock you will create what is called 'short grain', this will lead to a potentially weaker headstock (which can be somewhat minimized a bit by adding head plate veneers) that could break easier than the scarf jointed headstock.

    If you are building basses you should really get one of the books on the subject. This is discussed in all the books.
  4. Basschair

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

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Ah. It figures that I've heard the term, but didn't realize what it referred to at the time.

    I actually have the books by Hiscock, Waring & Raymond (mentioned in the first post), and Koch. I just found the spot in Hiscock where it mentions that this "spliced" headstock is stronger, as the grain will always be running perpendicular to the face, pp. 81-83. I do appreciate the advice, though! I was just having a hard time finding the reasoning behind the method, and found that spot a few minutes ago.