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Your thoughts on a laminated neck with integral Truss Rod

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Snort, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Hi TB Builders, my head is racing with ideas on my next build, but I need some thoughts on whether my ideas might work.

    I wish the neck to be a laminated design, with no fretboard stuck onto it, i.e. the neck is the fretboard so you can see the various woods and not hide them with a fretboard.

    With regards to the truss rod I thought of rear routing and then a skunk stripe, but then got to thinking, instead of routing in a channel in the neck after lamination, would it be possible to install the truss rod (truss rod access on rear of neck) whilst laminating the neck together i.e. taking the middle laminate piece 1/4 inch wide, and cutting out the truss rod recess and glueing the whole lot together as one (possibly with tooth picks to ensure the layers stay aligned.

    The neck through design will be for a 4 or 5 string fretless, with an epoxy finish, so another question regarding the epoxy. Once the neck is squared and before carving in the shape, if I radius the "Fretboard" (is it still called this if it doesnt have frets and is not a board:meh:) and then apply the epoxy. can I then machine the epoxy as a part of the carving and shaping or will it shatter, crack, not be generally workable?

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    Everything should work just fine, the only problem is the neck would be unrepairable if you ever have truss rod problems. Also make sure you use a double acting truss rod with a plastic heat shrink cover to make sure the glue doesn't ruin the rod.
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Yes, this is how Music Man necks are done. Also the Peavy Unity basses were done this way.
  4. I would only be worried about glue getting in the rod, but as Hopkins said a quick wrapping would fix that problem pretty quickly. Have you considered making it able to slide in and out (difficultly of course) so that if you wreck it you can replace it?
  5. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood Banned

    Feb 20, 2012
    Associate to Scomel Basses
    Seems overly complicated to me. I'd probably just make the neck blank extra thick and slice a piece off to make the fingerboard. This way you'd still have the look of the one piece with the ease of the traditional truss rod installation.
  6. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    That's how I would do it too, just to have less risk of getting glue on the truss rod.

    I don't know a ton about epoxy, but some of them tell on the bottle or in the descriptions online if they are sandable, etc. I used System 3 Mirror Coat and T-88 epoxies on my current build and when I had excess epoxy I needed to clean up, I was able to use a scraper on it very easily and sanding and routing worked fine too. I think it probably depends on which epoxy you use though.

    And, I think they call fretless boards fingerboards instead of fretboards. :)
  7. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Seeing your approach reminded me of the Hagstrom solution.

    With this method, you could route the trussrod channel in each half of the neck blank before gluing them together. The only way I could see this being repairable later on is if you could slide the whole trussrod in and out from one end.
  8. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    If you are using titebond or another yellow wood glue there's not much worry of the glue sticking the truss rod unless you use way too much. A quick turn of the rod will crack whatever glue has gotten in the truss rod slot and it will turn fine. Wood glue wont bond to metal in that way. I've never sweat over glue in the slot and have never had it be a problem. On the other hand, if you are using epoxy or similar adhesive then sticking the rod is a real possibility and care would be advised when gluing.

    As far as the neck construction, I would do as others have said and cut a fingerboard from your laminated neck blank. This is just because I think that would be easier with less chance of misalignment. That being said, your plan of building the slot into the neck would work fine as long as it's executed properly.
  9. TonH


    Jan 26, 2011
    The Netherlands
    The Peavey T40 had a neck made out of 2 pieces with the trussrod installed before glueing the 2 pieces together.

    So yes, it can be done.

    Just google for pictures of the neck of a T40.
  10. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    Have you considered the effects of differential expansion? I would think that the different woods will wreak havoc on the fret alignment over time.
  11. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    While slicing a piece from a multilam neck to use as a fingerboard seems like a safe option, I wouldn't do that. The reason is that if you do realise that you need to replace the rod, heat given to a multilam fingerboard will probably separate the multilams before the fingerboard separates from the neck.

    You should go ahead with your idea, and as long as you keep some alignment pins you should be fine. I would also make the TR slideable from one end so that if you do need to replace it, it can be done easily.

    The best way I can think of going about it is to first glue all the lams on on half of the neck with the center 1/4" lam, then route the center lam as the thin piece is now supported being glued to other pieces, and then wax the TR, insert, glue the other side of the lams.
  12. Hi.

    As far as I know, that's the standard way how "one piece" Peavey necks are made.

    IIRC they had a patent for that as well.

  13. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood Banned

    Feb 20, 2012
    Associate to Scomel Basses
    If you to make the truss rod removable by letting it be slid out from one end you might as well build it with the separate fingerboard lam. This way you have the ease of construction and it's easy to repair.
  14. Thanks for your replies, feeling a little more confident now.
    With regards removable truss rods how is this done ? I thought they had to be fixed at both ends?
  15. If you had a broken truss rod in a neck with a skunk stripe, would you route out the stripe for access to the Rod?

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