In Part 1 of the build, I left off after just having completed the truss rod slot and fretboard preparation.
As luck would have it, the truss rods I have have are meant for 24.75" or 25.5" necks, so on this project it just barely fits given the shorter scale length. I would normally make Fender style necks with heel access to the truss rod, but in this case the adjustment end would have stuck out about an inch towards the body! (first pic)
If I switch to adjustment at the headstock end, I would have to do a really deep "bowl" in order to be able to adjust the rod. The green line (second pic) is the final headstock thickness, and the red line is the depth required to reach the truss rod adjuster. I'm not a fan of that bowl access route.
I decided to
scrap the neck make a design alteration and go with an angled 3+3 style headstock. I had a few retro-ish 3+3 headstock designs I had been tinkering with anyway.
I Meant To Do That. Really.
Fortunately (don't you love it when there's a 'fortunately' part) I have a few angled headstock neck blanks already scarfed** and the truss rod slot cut. I make them up in batches because once the machines/jigs are set up it doesn't take much more time to make 5 than it does one.
** Future Mike here- I used to do a lot of scarfed headstocks for some reason. Now I don't. Don't ask me why.
Even though it already had a slot cut, I popped the new neck into the truss rod slot jig, which has another use; it also allows me to route a really clean access slot in angled headstocks.
Some builders like to just route the truss rod slot right out the end of the headstock. I prefer the look of a nice rounded slot that leaves some wood all the way across under the nut. It means I have to route the access and then drill the rest of the way through, but I think it's worth the effort.
After test fitting the truss rod, I trimmed the fretboard to the correct length. Since I've switched to an angled headstock, you can see I cut off the Fender style nut slot.
Preparing For Fretboard Glue Up
After applying glue, fretboards like to squirm around when you try to clamp them in place. To avoid that problem I use locating pins. First I clamp the fretboard in place, aligning the center line of the fretboard with the center line of the neck.
Next, I drill through two of the fret slots using a 1/6" drill bit. I can then use the drill bits (or small finishing nails) as pins while gluing.
Trimming the Fretboard
With the pins still in place, I flip the neck over and mark where the fretboard needs to be tapered. I zip off the excess on the bandsaw**.
** Future Mike: I don't do this anymore. Now I cut the fretboard to exactly the correct size before gluing.
Following a pencil line on this dark wood is not easy. I often snitch a white coloured pencil from my daughter, but I had to lay low today because I think she's on to me***. I'll keep these scraps to make switch tips (nothing goes to waste).
*** She was definitely on to me. I'm still laying low, but she's 15 now so I may be safe.
What's Next ...
In the next installment I'll lay out and drill tuner holes and thin the headstock. Then it's on to radiusing the fretboard.