Build Diary - Redwood / Spalted Maple Part 3 / by Tom Sands

Box closed. Bound. Time for a neck.

The line-up.

The line-up.

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Cutting the neck tenon.

Cutting the neck tenon.

Truing the fingerboard edges.

Truing the fingerboard edges.

For the fingerboard, it was initially a decision between Rocklite Ebano and Macassar Ebony. If I was to stay fully faithful to the ‘earth tones’ the Macassar Ebony would perhaps be more fitting, but it was whether the eye would be overwhelmed by the patinated green copper rosette and the Macassar grain colouring in such close juxtaposition.

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I put sample of the patinated green copper on top of a Macassar Ebony head plate and left it on the side in the workshop while I worked on the neck. Leaving it nearby to glance at and meditate upon is a good way to decide what will work aesthetically and what won’t.

My experience says that if materials are given free reign to speak for themselves, it is very rare that two natural materials will look ‘wrong’ next to each other. After seeing the copper and Macassar ebony on the bench together for a while, it was clear the Macassar Ebony was contributing to the guitar’s colour palette and texture in a positive way. I settled on not only a Macassar ebony fingerboard, but also on a Macassar ebony head plate and bridge to tie the elements together.

Once this was decided, it was time to complete the neck.

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Sometimes fitting a neck can take 2 days, sometimes you can get it in less than one hour. This one was nearly perfect first time round.

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Nonetheless, carving this antique Brazillian Mahogany made up for the ease of the neck set. Perfect for a strong, stable neck.

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Shaping the volute with a Japanese carving rasp.

Shaping the volute with a Japanese carving rasp.

Shaping the headstock with a template and router.

Shaping the headstock with a template and router.

Cutting the neck heel to receive the heel cap.

Cutting the neck heel to receive the heel cap.

Next up, the final sand, finish, a bridge and fretwork.