Neck Build: Carbon Fiber Rods

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by VikingAxe, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    Im building a batch of necks right now, two 7 strings, and 2 six strings. They are five piece necks, Walnut with maple stringers. So I am probably going to reinforce the 7s with carbon rods (would anyone suggest doing so to the 6s?)...
    I see that Stewmac has the 18" rods prefabbed, but has anyone here bought any elsewhere? I am looking at Outwater and McMaster for the material...the former having either aluminum or acrylic rods, and the latter having long pieces, about 48" of carbon fiber. I figure it would be more cost effective to buy that and cut it down, but I hear its a real pain to cut the stuff. What have you done for this process?
    Also, has anyone here have experience with an extended neck pocket? If so, what is your standard depth for that? Im considering a 1 1/4 pocket...too deep?
     
  2. JuliusJahn

    JuliusJahn Luthier

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    Couldn't tell you about cutting it, but based off of my archery experience you should be able to score it and snap? You'd have some material to experiment on anyways.

    Do you mean deep as in thickness, or deep into the body?
     
  3. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    I don't think you'd need to reinforce the 6 string necks, especially if they're multipiece laminates. If done properly they'll be kicking for decades. Think of all the single piece, flat sawn maple necks built in the 70's and 80's that are still perfectly playable today, with just a one way truss rod. Then add the fact that you'e doing 5 piece laminates... If I were you I'd say forget about it!!!

    I've bought a few carbon rods from stewmac in the past for a 7 string neck, they can be cut pretty easily with a hack saw, or other fine toothed blade. I highly recommend hand cutting only, and if you must use power tools, use abrasive cutting disks only!!! If one of those rods binds up on a power saw blade while its running, they are very brittle and that could shoot stuff all around the room and hurt you bad. ABRASIVES ONLY IF CUTTING CARBON RODS WITH POWER TOOLS!!! And wear a dust mask.

    About the neck pocket... is it set neck or bolt on? I wouldn't go that deep if its bolt on...
     
  4. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    @Julius...1 1/4 into the body, extending the neck joint underneath the neck pickup.

    @Distinguished...If I can get away without the rods , it will make life much easier. The blanks are about 1 3/4 for now, and they seem really solid. Im not planning on making them too thin; they should have some girth to them. The 6s are probably going to have a profile like an RR1. The 7s...definitely thicker than an Ibanez. Im just concerned about them twisting. This is the first design that ive worked with a five piece laminate.

    Next...a good place to get fretboard blanks...?
     
  5. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    multi-lam is usually more stable than a single piece of wood, especially if your grain is all really long and straight with no twist, if its aligned in a quarter sawn pattern and if the lams are cut from the same plank and then glued up in opposite orientation to each other, so that if that plank were prone to bend in one direction, it would have another piece of equal stress countering perfectly against it... if all that makes any sense.
     
  6. ElysianGuitars

    ElysianGuitars SS.org Regular

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    You shouldn't HAVE to reinforce either 6 or 7 string necks, but if you want to, go for it. It's all personal preference, but a 5 piece neck is going to be plenty strong enough.

    I don't like using the StewMac rods. I use the LMII pultruded carbon rods. They're .254" diameter, so you only have to route .254" depth with a 1/4" roundnose bit. You do have to take two passes with the roundnose bit though to get the proper width of channel.

    Pultruded Carbon Rods
     
  7. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    NICE. I havn't seen those yet, glad you posted it because they're also a butt load cheaper than stewmac rods. If I ever need carbon rods again this is where I'll look.
     
  8. Floppystrings

    Floppystrings No like the floppy

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  9. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    Wow, thanks for the tip!

    So right now, there are many options.

    LMI seems to be the place. Has anyone here gotten their fretboards from them?


    So this batch of necks will be:
    Walnut with maple stringers
    Carbon reinforced

    I went with a 6 degree break angle. Has anyone went beyond that?
     
  10. ElysianGuitars

    ElysianGuitars SS.org Regular

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    I get fretboard blanks from LMII from time to time, they're good. 6 degree for the headstock? I used to do 7 but found it wasn't deep enough, I do 10 now.
     
  11. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    Ive already milled the angle for 6...how drastic of a difference is four more degrees for tension?
     
  12. ElysianGuitars

    ElysianGuitars SS.org Regular

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    It's probably not a huge issue, if you need more tension on the nut a string retainer should do. If you're doing a trem with a locking nut though you'll have some trouble.
     
  13. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    Yea, these are going to have strin through bodies and locking tuners. I just went with 6 degrees because some builders dont use break angles, some go all the way up to 12 to 15...so I went in the middle.
     
  14. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    Btw Elysian, gave you a like on FB. Your builds are excellent!
     
  15. jtm45

    jtm45 SS.org Regular

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    What's the general consensus over using rods rather than rectangular bars ?
    Side by side a similarly sized rod will flex a LOT more than a rectangular bar sat on its edge which I would have thought would have been a negative.

    What's your guys opinions or personal experience with using one over the other ?
     
  16. VikingAxe

    VikingAxe Active Member

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    JTM...ill find that out eventually

    So listen...I learned that some builders who dont cut corners tend to drill their truss cavities a bit deeper and put a cap on the truss rod, which they plane down before applying a fingerboard. Do they sell the premade wooden inserts/caps anywhere? Thats a strange piece to mill.
     
  17. ElysianGuitars

    ElysianGuitars SS.org Regular

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    Rod gives more freedom when it comes to neck carve, the same sized square bar would be much easier to hit than a rod with that diameter.
     
  18. foreright

    foreright SS.org Regular

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    The square / rectangular bar will fill a rectangular route properly - of course if you cut a round bottomed channel then the round bar will also...

    Rectangular rod has a greater gluing area and is also stiffer than round. Note that the modulus of the rod increases with the 3rd power of its thickness (IIRC?). Ie. if you double the thickness you get 8 times the stiffness.

    So for a guitar neck where the main forces are bending the neck forward, the optimum shape is a rectangle where the depth is greater than the width (which is relatively unimportant) :)
     
  19. sehnomatic

    sehnomatic SS.org Regular

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    That's only really necessary with single action rods because the channels are curved. It also prevents rattling.

    I doubt anyone would risk even using a 1/16" strip even with the shallowest 3/8" double action rods, especially with today's popular neck profiles.

    When cutting carbon fiber, spray some water on the cutting area, or better yet, cut it submerged in a little bucket. Carbon can carry some nasty stuff into your system.
     
    Solodini and Durero like this.
  20. vansinn

    vansinn SS.org Regular

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    I fail to understand why you'd bother with the work of installing carbons in six and seven necks., especially given your choice of woods, which will be ample strong enough.

    It's not at all that I disapprove on carbons, just that I find them a bit hyped-up as magic..
     

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