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Warwick Neck Blues

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Free Tibet, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. Free Tibet

    Free Tibet Guest

    Sep 20, 2005
    I purchased a '98 Fotress One 5-String secondhand off eBay, and it had a terrible wolf/buzz around the 9th fret that I couldn't stand, but for the price I decided to work around it. No amount of action tweaking seemed to rectify the situation, and since I always wanted a fretless, I decided to take a soldering iron to the buggers and adjust the truss rod once defretted.
    When I loosened the already worn screws and removed the neck it began snowing wenge. The nut also fell off, icing!
    Aggrevated, I proceded to remove all of the frets, and in sanding took off a nice chunk of the fingerboard on the G side ~12th fret (Nothing enough boat epoxy can't fix).
    When I was putting the next back on, I noticed one of the screws was spinning. Removed the neck, drilled out the one thread 1/4", filled it with dowel, sanded it down, and it looked pretty nice. I tightened all the screws, everything seemed fine, until I put strings back on and began tensioning it.
    You all know the sound.

    So at this point I am pretty fed up. I know all I should have to do it pull it off again, drill out the other three holes, plug 'em, and adjust the truss rod; but the more I look at the fretboard the uglier it gets. Is what I'd really like to do is get a nice replacement neck, but after searching I found that isn't an option. A new fretboard and a new nut is about all I can really do. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get this project started?
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Use two small drops of superglue to put the nut back on.

    Could you describe how the neck is now? What are the problem spots?
  3. Free Tibet

    Free Tibet Guest

    Sep 20, 2005
    Where it bolts on the the threads are gone. I replaced one with a peice of 1/4" dowel, but they all need replacement.

    I would really like to replace the fingerboard with a custom one because the stock one is chipped on the G side around the 12th fret, and maybe get a different nut.

    Thanks for the reply!
  4. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    What sound? Have you epoxied the board? What about sending the neck to a repair guy to do a proper job of repairing it?
  5. Maybe... just maybe, you could use
    these threaded inserts. You'd have to drill some BIG holes in the neck, put these in, and then use matching machine-thread screws to attach the neck. It'd hold better than dowels, and will never wear out the way your old ones did.

    Since you already drilled one 1/4" hole, these won't be much bigger.
  6. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I'm going to offer another idea. Wenge wouldn't have been my first choice to use wood screws on initially for a joint that typically sees pretty some fairly large pressure. Also, wood screws aren't a great idea for an applications where you might be assembling and disassembling. What type of dowels are you using Free Tibet?

    What I would use is put some maple dowels in and make threaded holes in them for some machine screws. I know of a few people doing it this way and it works well and from what I've been told the pull out force is about the same as for the threaded inserts (discounting T-nuts of course).
  7. If you go that route, you might think about using the maple cross-grain rather than endgrain. What I mean is, cut pieces of maple so the grain aligns with the existing neck grain, instead of using a dowel. The pull out resistance should be greater that way.
  8. Free Tibet

    Free Tibet Guest

    Sep 20, 2005
    I totally agree, thanks Warwick! :hyper:

    I know a guy who plays contrabass in my town's symphony who has been a "luthier" for about 15 years. He does tons of repairs and adjustments out of his garage, mostly for high schools and friends from various universities, for anything from cellos to viol da gambas; and he suggested the dowel idea. I was going to pay him to do it, but he was way too busy, and decided to tell me how to do it step by step instead. I got the dowel from ACE Hardware like he suggested, but they couldn't tell me the wood type; needless to say it's too soft.

    I like the inserts as a permanent fix, but I am worried that if their offset ever so slightly it won't match up and I'll be screwed (Although the first plug I made was dead center).

    How do those inserts get driven in?
  9. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I believe they have slots so you can turn them in with a large flat screwdriver, but it's not a good idea. A better way is to use a short screw with the same type of thread or a longer screw with a nut. Tighten the screw in until it seats against the insert (or tighten the nut down on the screw until it seats against the insert) and then use the screw or a wrench on the nut to turn the insert into the wood. This way you don't run the risk of deforming your insert (since brass is a fairly soft metal).

    At least, I think that's one of the more clever ways to do it. If you're really on the ball you can pick your screws / nuts such that you can turn it in with a ratchet and socket, a very nice way to do things.

  10. One end is slotted, you use a flat-blade screwdriver. You should be able to find them in any hardware store. The outside has big wood threads and the inside has machine threads.

    edit: beat me to it. I did break one of the "ears" off one once, so there's some validity to that warning.
  11. Free Tibet

    Free Tibet Guest

    Sep 20, 2005
    Ok, I think I'm going to go the brass route instead of wood inserts. It might not be the most condusive for tonality, but I won't have to hear that cracking sound while tightening the strings ever again.

    Now onto the next issue: Where can I find exotic woods for fingerboard replacement?

    edit: I see a few threads on replacement so I'll peruse them.
  12. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    The brass inserts I have say right on the package not to use a screwdriver on them except in softwood. It says that the ears will break off and that has been my experience.