Fitting the Neck!!!


Friday, August 1st, 2008:

An eventful day today....I spent over four hours working on the heel, to get the neck centered on the body and the neck angle right!!!

First, I sanded the heel to the heel lines. I bolted my neck to the soundbox and, with this plexiglass centerfinder, checked to see if my neck was centered.







It wasn't (of course). The centerline, as you can see below, was off on the bass side of the top, by about 1/4". fix that, I needed to sand the bass side of the heel, until it shifted over to the centerline.









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  1. A Little Detour....A Tour of My Workroom!!!
  2. Joining the Top
  3. Starting to Bend
  4. Bending, Day 2
  5. Bending, Day 3
  6. Neck Block, Center Strip, Cutaway!
  7. Bracing the Back, Gluing in the Blocks
  8. Shape Back Braces, Glue Neck Block, Make Spreaders
  9. Spreader, Rim, Kerfing
  10. Rim-Sanding, Brace-Shaping, Go-Bar Modification, & Obon!!!
  11. Side Strips & Rosette
  12. Beginning the Top Bracing
  13. Bracing, Continued...
  14. Gluing the Back
  15. Gluing the Top
  16. Trimming the Overhang
  17. Routing for Binding : Day 1
  18. Routing for Binding : Day 2
  19. Fitting & Gluing the Bindings
  20. The Soundbox is Done!!!
  21. Truss Rod Slot, Peghead Veneer
  22. Peghead, Start Heel
  23. Threaded Inserts, Neck Trimmed
  24. Fitting the Neck!!!
  25. Truss Rod Cavity, Heel Cap, Fingerboard Trimmed
  26. Finishing and Gluing the Fingerboard / Peghead Inlay
  27. Carving the Neck
  28. I Feel Good....The Basic Building is Done!!! (Now on to the Finishing....)
  29. Pore-Filling
  30. Sealing
  31. Finish Coats
  32. Finishing the Finish!!!
  33. Gluing the Bridge
  34. It's All Done!!!


Here's how I did it. I put self-stick sandpaper (100 grit) onto the bass side of the soundbox, firmly grabbed the heel, and moved it back and forth over the sandpaper. I kept checking and sanding, checking and sanding, until it finally did become centered.






It's centered now!!!
















Now it was time to check the neck angle. I once again bolted the neck to the body, placed the unfretted fingerboard on top of the neck, and placed the bridge in its approximate position on the top. Placing a straightedge on the fingerboard, I could see that it was too low; the straightedge was quite a bit below the top of the bridge. What you want is for the straightedge to just "kiss" the top of the bridge.

So...I would have to sand more off the lower part of the heel, to be able to angle the neck back (and thus raise the end of the fingerboard). The first thing I did (I forgot to take a photo of this) was to place self-stick sandpaper over the entire area the heel would contact on the soundbox. I then firmly grabbed the heel and sanded it, but put more pressure on the lower part of the heel. Again, more checking, sanding, re-checking.

When I was getting close, I switched to the "flossing" technique. I loosely bolted the neck onto the box and slipped a 100-grit sandpaper strip underneath one side of the heel, like this:





I pressed the heel firmly against the body and slowly pulled the sandpaper strip, until I reached the end of the strip:

I did this, on this side of the heel, say, five times, and then switched to the other side of the heel, five times also.

What happens here is, when you pull the strip, the top of the heel gets sanded less than the bottom, because the sandpaper leaves the top right away, but it is continuing to sand the bottom. That way, you are able to get that back angle on the heel. Doing it the same number of times on both sides helps you keep that centered neck you worked so hard previously to get — or, at least, it doesn't get thrown off by too much — you do have to keep checking to see if it's still centered, and do more sanding of one side if it gets off-center. (But it's not that hard to do, as it doesn't go off-center by too much.)

Okay.......SUCCESS....after a while of sanding, checking, sanding, checking....










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