Wire Nails / Brads?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by joeviau, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island

    I'm in the process of building a neck-through bass. In order to attach the fingerboard to the neck, I was going to use #50 or so wire nails through two positions on the fingerboard, say, fret 1 and fret 16. I would use two per fret, drilling through with a #50 or so drill bit.

    My question is that I've searched both LMI and StewMac, and neither of them seem to sell wire nails / brads. I've also Googled, etc. looking for these critters. I have also checked several hardware / hobby stores in the area, and none carry anything like a #50 or #55 wire brad / nail.

    Can someone either suggest a source for these, or does someone have a better method of clamping the fingerboard so that it doesn't move? I'm planning on using Titebond (not TiteBond II) to glue, so my set up time will be around five minutes. Is that a good glue to use?

    I have already cut the neck profile just outside the pencilled line. Do you guys cut the neck profile before gluing the fingerboard, or after?

    Hoping that I'm not a pest with all these questions and TIA,

  2. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    You shouldn't need to drive brads through the fb, just use clipped off brads to keep it from sliding around. Once you're ready to attach the fb, drive four or more brads into the neck, then clip them off with a pair of wire cutters, leaving about 1/16th" sticking out. The clipping will leave the remaining end pointy enough to push into a piece of wood. Put the fb on, and press down or tap with a mallet. That'll create holes in the back of the fb. Apply glue, and put the fb back on so the holes align with the brads. They'll keep the fb from slipping around while you're clamping it.

    The brads I use are just generic 1" brads, which cost about 90 cents for FIVE BILLION of them (I know there are that many in the box, because I've spilled it several times and had to pick them up. Someday, I'll buy a rare earth magnet...)

    As for what glue to use, well, that's a topic for many, many discussions. Try the search feature both here and at MIMF.
  3. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    I do the same thing, except I use a staple gun. Just shoot 'em in so a little is still sticking out, and clip 'em off to make points. One at each end of the neck is plenty to keep it from slipping. Whether you use brads or staples, don't put them too close to the edge of the neck or you risk cracking the wood (voice of experience :( ).
  4. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I've used clipped staples before and it works pretty good, but you still have to pay close attention to things as you tighten the clamps.

    Nowadays I make the neck and fingerboard wider and longer than I need and use a couple countersunk drywall screws outside the bounds of the neck taper. That way I get NO slip when I start clamping. I usually put two near the nut and one at the other end, although sometimes the fingerboard's not long enough for this third screw. It works great!
  5. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
    Thanks for all of the great responses. I guess that there are better mousetraps!

    So, Carey, you're saying that you cut the neck / fingerboard taper at the same time? The fastening through waste sections of the FB is good, the same technique of course applies to multi-laminate necks so that they won't shift all over the place.

    That's an interesting idea, I had always seen it done as rough-cutting the neck, cutting the fingerboard taper then gluing the FB onto the neck. I would imagine that you use a pattern-cutting router bit to ride the fingerboard to clean up? Or not....
  6. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    That's close. I had a friend make me a plexi neck taper template on his CNC machine and I just double stick tape it to the fingerboard and run it on a pattern bit in my router table. I take 1/8" cut at a time and when I'm done the neck is almost ready to fit right into the body. A little block sanding and it's a perfect fit, because I had the same gut make my neck pocket templates too.
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I use a combination of the techniques shown here ;)

    I use clipped nail under the board but also glue the board to the neck still square and cut the taper in both at the same time with a MDF template.

    Nails are located otside the neck outline at the nut end but if I'm building a 6 strings, I usually have no more room at the en dof the fongerboard blank to place the nail anywhere under the neck outline without risking to get it in my saw blade or router bit!

    After using a MDF template for the neck pocket too, I'm now back to using MDF blocks that I align with the acual finished neck onto the body. This gets me a tighter fit even if I did sand the neck a bit more than usual for exemple.

  8. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I use a small drill bit to drill through the FB inside of a fretslot and instead of wire brads I use posts from the headers used for ribbon cables. Basically its just a small square post. Works great.