Thursday, April 17, 2008

The neck joint

This was the bit I had been most worried about. The neck joint. You see, if you get this bit wrong, even by a couple of mm, then the guitar will be unplayable. Of course you can always fix mistakes, but it's much better to do it right in the first place.

So here was the challenge. I had hardly any tools and had to rout out the joint. I could do it the same way as the rest of the routing, but that would leave me with a pretty uneven surface. It really had to be dead on.

So I did it in two stages. First I did the same as the rest of the routing, then I finished it off with a small straight routing bit attached to the drill. The drill was attached to a drill stand (or drill press), and I set the limiter so that it would stop at just the right height for the surface of the neck joint.

There was a bit of a problem though. I only have two hands. The drill stand's lever was spring loaded, so I had to keep one hand on that, leaving just one to somehow move the guitar around. In the end I had to hold the lever down with my right hand, then use my right elbow and my left hand to move the guitar in and out. The guitar was resting on a shiny magazine so that it could be moved around with little effort.

I realise this technique sounds totally ridiculous, but given the tools I had, it was the best I could do. And in fact the end result was completely acceptable.


scomargo said...

You're my hero, Stu!

By the way, just how much heavier is this type of ash than the swamp ash that you said is preferred?

50% heavier?


stu said...

Yeah, it's significantly heavier. So much so, in fact, that I'm thinking of re-routing the whole thing at some stage, so as to remove a significant chunk of wood under the scratchplate.

I think it would be fair to say that the difference in weight is somewhere between 30% to 50% more. If I get a chance, I'll weigh it and let you know.

stu said...

Sorry for the delay, but I've tried many times to reply to these comments and keep getting errors for some reason. Let's see if it works this time. I weighed my DIY Strat and it comes in at 10 pounds (4.5 kg). A standard Strat should be more like 8 pounds, and the difference in weight is almost definitely caused almost completely by the body.

Time to route out a bit more, I reckon.