Planning a Neck Around a Scarf Joint (Headstock Direction)

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by JimF, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Hi all,
    I'm currently about to undertake a very mediocre build (Blackmachine copy). Nothing out of the ordinary as it will be my first foray into guitar building.
    I have MDF templates on their way to me featuring a reversed BM style headstock (reversed compared to say a Jackson headstock i.e. tuners on the bottom, but in BM terms its presumably a standard headstock).
    My plans were to route the neck to the correct dimensions but not carve it, then apply the fretboard.
    After that, I was to cut through the neck at 11degrees or so, then invert that piece, clamp and glue, job done.
    However if I do this, then the headstock will have been flipped vertically so to speak.
    Would it make more sense to route the neck with the headstock in 'reverse' position (i.e. tuners on the top), using the neck router template upside down, then when it is scarfed it will be in the correct orientation? Or is there another way I'm missing?

    These are the templates I have on order by the way:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    You lost me at the beginning :nuts: :lol:
     
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  3. Silence2-38554

    Silence2-38554 SS.org Regular

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    The very first thing I would do when you get that MDF set is very carefully cut off the headstock template along the line that designates the top of the nut. Having it all connected like that will do you no good with a tilt-back headstock design. I just completed my second Blackmachine clone build. If you're going to do a scarf joint, here's a couple things to keep in mind-

    BM's use a very shallow headstock angle. Mine ended up being about 7.5º and it seems to be just right.
    I would glue the scarf first, out of whatever wood you plan to use for the neck & headstock. Make sure there is plenty of excess wood to play with, extending beyond the templates for both the neck and headstock.
    Build order:

    glue scarf
    Decide on neck center, route truss rod channel
    Measure, trace & rough cut headstock shape
    Measure, trace & rough cut neck shape
    flush trim neck & headstock to templates & drill tuning machine holes
    trace fretboard template, cut fret slots & top & bottom of board
    align & glue fretboard to neck
    flush trim fretboard to neck

    Good luck!!
     
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  4. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Fantastic thank you!
    The shallow angle makes sense. From searching I found it very difficult to see the angle, in some instances it looked almost flat, which the 7.5 degree angle explains.
    Also, the order to work with has cleared up my other questions! I appreciate the help.
    I’ll atart a thread with plenty of pics when all the gear arrives!
     
  5. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Another point. If I may struggle for room out of my neck blank, would it be advisable to use another type of wood for the scarf joint? Padauk neck and say a rosewood headstock scarfed on?
    Or do I just do a straight headstock and string trees? I don’t want to do that, but I’m starting to overthink and stress!
     
  6. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    i frequently use different woods for the scarf joint.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Ooooooh that looks great. I think I might do that to avoid any wood shortages!
     
  8. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Remembered to actually double check the size of my neck blank - 30"! So presumably thats more than enough. Just.
     
  9. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    30" should be plenty for the neck. but maybe not enough for a neck and scarf jointed headstock. you may need another piece for the headstock.

    my blanks are 24" then i cut a 12 degree angle on one end and glue on a piece for the headstock
     
  10. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Ooh good tip thank you. I actually have a 6x8x2” piece of ash I may use. At least I think it’s ash. I may just buy a small piece of known wood to avoid any mishaps!
     
  11. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    build one out of pine first if you're not sure you're gonna do it right. My usual strategy, anyway.
     
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  12. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    post a pic of it, we may be able to confirm if its ash.

    also i do what LiveOVErdrive does and i build a prototype out of 2x4 when trying something new
     
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  13. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    When you get the timber draw around the side profile onto paper or a piece of pine, mark the scarf and cut it, reverse the head cut and match it to see if it is OK. I have a side template I use all the time for this.
     
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  14. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Brilliant thanks! I’ll definitely going to practice.
    I think I’m going to buy another piece of padauk to scarf in just to avoid any complications of trying to work with/finish two different wood types on one neck in my first build
     
  15. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    Where do you get your timber ?
     
  16. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Currently I’ve got a body blank on the way from eBay, a neck blank from Exotic Hardwoods and after that no idea! I’ll probably get a padauk bowl turning blank from eBay. 8”x8”x2” should give me enough to play with.
    Do you have any better suggestions?
     
  17. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    My original supplier John Boddy went under last year and its a struggle to find suppliers that have small lengths of timber. Duffield Timber have most exotic species and some incredible tops but the general lumber is in long unplained lengths. Shire Timber in Leeds have some general exotic wood but neither of these companies deliver.
    I visited Exotic Hardwoods earlier this year and was amazed at the amount of goodies he had in such a small place and he was great to deal with, I forgot I'd left Mrs Pond in the cold van outside for 2 hours :flowers: :lol:

    If you get stuck I will have a short piece of Padauk somewhere in my off cuts, just give me a shout.
     
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  18. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Thanks! I’ll be sure to take you up on that offer if I get stuck.
    I’ve found a similar issue to you, other than high price (understandable for the quality of woods) it’s often the sheer sizes of the pieces that can hold you back.
    I haven’t received my neck blank yet but I’m sure it’ll be nice. But Exotic Hardwoods only have small sample pics on the website so it’s hard to know what you’re actually getting grain wise. I know they can’t photograph every piece of wood but a pic to demonstrate the level of figuring would be good.
    Do you have much experience with David Dyke? Judging from the guitar I have that was built with woods supplied by him I believe his old-school website may be keeping him a well kept secret, at least to the uninformed.
     
  19. JimF

    JimF SS.org Regular

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    Also, while I’m jabbering in, in your experience would adding a 2-3mm ebony veneer in between the two pieces of the scarf cause any issues? Just to make it a little more interesting looking.
     
  20. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    Never used Dyke, I cant be arsed with his web site. An Ebony veneer would be fine but I wouldn't do it on your first scarf. Padauk can be a pain to glue so fiddling around with a veneer for the first time may cause problems. Make sure you rough the surfaces of the joints to be glued with 80 grit and don't hang around.Drill a couple of small holes on the outer edges of the scarf joints then tap some small brad nails in to keep the joint from slipping. Drill the holes before you glue up.
     
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