Shaping the Neck

I begin by cutting the fingerboard to its final shape (the fingerboard comes rectangular). The fingerboard is already pre-slotted and radiused. It will have a nut width of 1-11/16" and will be 2-1/8" at the 12th fret. I make those measurements, scribe the two lines for the tapered shape, then plane close to the lines with the fingerboard in a vise. I then use my shooting board and a 24" level with sandpaper on its edges, to sand right up to the lines. This way I am assured the edges will be perpendicular to the gluing face.

Then I trace the fingerboard's outline on the neckshaft and draw the outline of the peghead.


Next, I draw the heel profile on the heelblock and cut it about 1/16" from the line, using my bandsaw.

This is the outline of the heelcap. The two lines at the outer edges of the heelcap are guide lines for when I begin shaping the heel. (I am following William Cumpiano's step-by-step method of shaping the heel.) The outermost lines signify the width of the neck.


This is the second stage of the heel-shaping. I have first carved the "primary facet," which involves carving from the fingerboard edge down to the heelcap limit guide lines. The second step is to carve the curved contour of the heel into that facet. Further steps involve carving a "secondary facet" that starts to angle towards the heelcap point, and then refining all the curves with more carving, scraper, and sandpaper.

Here's the final carved heel.

To the left are some views of the peghead, after  I have cut and sanded it to its final shape. I have also drilled the holes for the tuners.

Next will come the peghead inlay (the horse design I used on the Size 5 I made last summer), the ebony heelcap, and the final shaping of the neckshaft (after the fingerboard is glued on) and the heel .


Go To...
  1. Beginning the Neck
  2. Making the Rosette
  3. Bracing the Top
  4. Bracing the Back
  5. The Sides
  6. Making the Soundbox
  7. Binding
  8. Shaping the Neck
  9. What's Left To Do?
  10. The Fingerboard
  11. The Peghead Inlay
  12. Finishing the Neck
  13. Finishing

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