Here is a cool project that I recently completed. A friend was building her first acoustic guitar and ran into some problems after she had completed the box and carved the neck. Too much material was removed from the heel of neck and the dovetail joint was not fitting together as planned. I agreed to take on the project to finish the rest of the guitar for her. Here is what I encountered:
|Gap between neck heel and body, so what's the problem?|
As you can see the fit is pretty rough here. Way too much material has been removed from the neck heel. This is a tricky situation deciding where to shim things to end up with a tight fitting dovetail and the correct neck angle to project properly to the bridge, which in this case is a floating arch-top style bridge. I take some time to ruminate on the variables presented to me and work on other more straight-forward aspects of this project. I begin with the location and drilling of the post holes for the tuners.
|Planning for the placement of the tuners|
|Drilling the post holes|
|Abalone dots floating on ebony dust and superglue liquid before cleanup|
|Inlay cleanup and board planing in one step|
OK now it's time to tackle that dovetail joint, I can't really stall anymore. I begin by shimming the dovetail joint with thin mahogany pieces. I periodically test the fit of the neck as I plane the shims thinner and thinner in my thickness sander.
|Mahogany shim planed to about 1/32"|
|Placing the shims|
|Gluing the shims into the dovetail|
|No need to shim the entire face of the neck heel so I just shim a thin layer on each side with mahogany strips.|
|Trimming the edges of the new shims with a razor blade|
|Final sanding and fit of neck heel|
|Installing frets on the fingerboard tongue before joining the neck to the body|
|Gluing the dovetail joint|
|Filing the fret edges after installing|
|I mask off the body of the guitar with thin steel sheets to prevent an unfortunate slip of my file from gouging the guitar during fretting|
|I fashion a simple truss rod cover out of spare Camatillo rosewood|
|She came out looking and sounding very nice!|
All in all, I would say my expectations were exceeded on this project. I'm going to deliver it to her in San Francisco next week, I hope she likes it.
Thanks for reading everyone,
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Thanks again, see you soon!