I heard someone say once that: "Guitar building is like hot dogs.
They look and taste good but did you ever see how they make them?!"
Here is the square block that I am going to make the neck out of.
It is approximately 25" X 3 1/2" X 2". As you can see I glued a
little piece on the end where the head is to ensure that the slanted
head will be long enough. I drew with a thin felt marker where I am
going to make some rough cuts. You can't see it but I drew the same
pattern on the other side of the board. It never hurts to plan a wee
bit bigger to allow for any inaccuracies.
At this point it is almost practical to insert the truss rod and
glue on the fret board and then later shape the neck. I like to wait
until I at least rough shape the neck. My reasoning for this is that
when you cut up wood sometimes after it's cut, it bends or warps
slightly to a certain extent. Did you ever buy a perfectly straight
2" X 4" at the lumber yard but when you take it home and ripped it
down the middle, all of a sudden you have 2 warped bananas? Good
mahogany is a very stable wood but I still watch out for things like
that. After I rough shape the neck, I'm going to re check the
surface where the fret board will go just to make sure it's still
good and flat.
Now we have the making hot dogs part. Here is the very rough cut
neck. It might encourage you to know that I have very little tools
and so far this project has cost me nothing to make except for the
truss rod that I made which cost about $2. The wood was from junk
funiture and the exotic hard wood top of the body is from Peruvian
I didn't have the use of a band saw so I used a hand saw and a
circular saw and hacked and cut away for about an hour to get the
rough shape. (Kind of like doing brain surgery with a chain saw.) I
say this so people won't think that they need the perfect set up,
but of coarse good tools are a real help. A band saw would have made
things a lot easier. I once sliced a piece of Bird's Eye Maple right
down the middle with only a hand saw to make 2 book matched pieces
for the top of an electric guitar. A little crazy and a lot of hard
work but it worked.
It's good to not be afraid leave everything a little big. You can
always shape things down pretty easily later but you will be real
sorry if you take too much off by accident.
An important note: If you plan to put binding around the fret
board it is a good idea to leave the neck stock a little wider then
the fret board and then shave it down to size after the binding is